not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year.

The beginning of a new year...

 I've never been too big on making resolutions for the upcoming year, but I always take time to reflect on the one passed. At first I felt like I didn't want to look back on this year, I just wanted to be done with it and move on. My first instinct is to say that 2012 was a shit year, my worst year, a year I'd like to forget....

Well I woke up this morning, this New Years Eve day, rolling right out of bed and right onto my mat. I did an hour or so of kundalini breath-work, some Yin, and then a nice long meditation. All of the breathing exercises got any stagnant energy in my body moving, so my meditation was a bit emotional as things came up that I have been subconsciously pushing away. Though the ultimate bliss of meditation is when you find that pure stillness and silence, sometimes it's okay to just observe your thoughts- so that's what I did. And after that meditation and time of reflection, I realized that this year has been the worst, most heart-breaking and challenging of my life, but it has truly been the greatest year of my life simultaneously. It's through the hard times that we learn our strength. It's through the challenges that we find how resourceful we are. It's through loss that you realize and appreciate how much you truly have. And it's through hardships that you realize how wonderful the people in your life really are. When Dad moved on this year, I felt like my life was over. But in a way, this year is the year that *my* life has truly begun. He gave me all the tools: the compassion, the love for adventure, the knowledge and enthusiasm to live each day to its fullest. And now I'm taking all of that and running with it, carving out a bit of time and space in this world as my own. There has been such an outpouring of love and support this year from friends, family and strangers...all around the world. I have been nurtured by friends in mountains of colorado, the redwoods of Big Sur, and in the yoga studio back home. I have crossfitted and surfed and laughed and shared meals with some of the finest folks around. I have grown this year from a young girl into a woman. I'm not sure when it happened, but I don't feel like the same person I was just a few months ago. I think that true growth often happens by overcoming pain, by meeting it head on....and coming out the other side. So, now as I lay in my little room in Sri Lanka, under the fan with music playing through my iPod- I'm definitely shedding some tears for my loss, but I'm also grateful for all of the good times--- and there were so very very many. Thank you to everyone who has loved me and filled me up on days when I was empty-- there are so many of you, and I count my blessings. 2012 was an alright year, but 2013 is going to be even better...I can feel it in my bones. 

"The end is the beginning of all things, suppressed and hidden, awaiting to be released through the rhythm of pain and pleasure." -krishnamaturi

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Show Night in Sri Lanka.

Last night I was a part of a Female Vocalist showcase at the Rampart Hotel in Galle. The event was to raise money for United World Schools, and there was four of us who performed: Natasha (a harp playing, jazz singing badass mamacita from Colombo), Talula (a young vocalist who did some great covers), Sophie Barker (the lead singer from the famous band Zero7) and then me. The turn out was ammmmazing, way better than predicted or anticipated, a packed house. Before the show I fueled up with a cappuccino before changing into my "sassy sexy mama" dress and rocking out. Stu came along to support me, and he rallied two new people from our Guest House. All of my friends from Galle came out to support as well, including my karaoke partners in crime Jan and Errol. It felt great to be surrounded by my community on such a great night.

After the party... the after party, at 23 Palms.

So let me give you a bit of background information. All of the rich and beautiful Sri Lankans from Colombo (it's like the NYC to the Hamptons) come to play down the beach here on the weekends. The parties are planned and hosted by people from Colombo...they provide the bartenders, the DJs, the lightshow, etc. "23 Palms" is just a luxury villa that has been rented out for 9 days, and for each of those 9 days they are having a party, each day with its own unique vibe. Last night it was 1,000rs admission and then drinks started @ 500rs and went up. I wasn't drinking, but the rest of my posse was...and then some. The theme for last night was funk and soul, with live music in the beginning of the night, moving onto multiple DJs as the evening progressed. I was ready to dance, and that's what I did. At first it was only Tatiana and myself on the dance floor, her boyfriend joined shortly after-- and within 20 minutes people started to let loose too. We were all It was glorious. I was obviously in my bare feet, and when we got home at half past 3 in the morning I scrubbed them for a good 5min, unable to get rid of all of the dirt embedded in my toes.

There was fireworks, fire dancers, beautiful people, epic music and beautiful lounge areas and twinkle lights adorning all of the palm trees....but all I cared about was dancing. It was a good night.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Breakfast of Champions.

Egg Rotis are satisfying, cheap, delicious and just the right amount of spicy. For 32 cents I get a hot, fresh, delicious and easy eat to start off my day. Grateful.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Full Moon in Midigama.

Stu is great company, so I'm not complaining, but we both miss Peanut. We indulged in a joy ride and some comfort food (ice cream cones) in the neighboring town, Weligama. Despite the rain everyone was out and about, because they were all headed to (Buddhist) Temple. I found out when I got home after doing some research that the full moon (as well as the New Moon) in Sri Lanka are Uposatha days:

"The Uposatha (SanskritUpavasatha) isBuddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha's time (500 BCE), and still being kept today in Buddhist countries.[1][2]The Buddha taught that the Uposatha day is for "the cleansing of the defiled mind," resulting in inner calm and joy.[3] On this day, lay disciples and monks intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity."

When we got back from ice cream, I walked across the street to our neighborhoods humble shrine and placed an offering of three flowers among the other candles, incense and such that was adorning it. A flower for me, my mom and my dad. I said a little prayer expressing gratitude for all of our bounty and blessings, and for continued happiness in this life and the next. I don't think that's how it's supposed to be done, but it felt good to me. 


Our Frenchman, Philippe, who has been lovingly referred to as "Peanut", a nickname that I (accidentally) gave him a few days back, left us today. Our trio has became a duo- with Peanut heading back home to a cold and snowy France. He has been a ray of sunshine since, as Stu put, "we" became "US". A unit, "Team Asanka", a little vagabond family. And this is what I love most about traveling (aside from the obvious languages and food), it's my love of people. I genuinely like people, all sorts of people, from all sorts of places. I love people's stories and backgrounds and passions, and this is what keeps me on the road. So Thank You to Peanut for being another wonderful addition to my life. The moments our trio has shared here will be wonderful memories that I will enjoy for years to come, and I'm sure that we will cross paths again some day soon... Au Revoir Peanut!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waves in Weligama.

I woke up super early and got a few waves before the crowd filled in. When I got back I caught up with my Mom, and my besties Julisa and then Rob via Skype. It was great to finally have a relaxed morning, a good connection and some quality chat time with three of my favorite people. I enjoyed some breakfast with my dear friend stu - and then the three of us paddled out for a quality session of clean, fun waves.

I was exhausted after two sessions and a long morning, but id promised my friend Doel that I would take her friends surfing in Weligama. They picked me up and we set up camp on the beach in town. Though I'd been tired, I snapped right out if it once I was in Doel's presence. She has an elegance and energy about her that draws you in. A true gem. Doel is deathly afraid of the water, but I coaxed and convinced her to have a go at surfing...and don't ya know it, she loved it!!! The waves were uber small, but the company was great and the beers were cold. I was grateful for the beautiful afternoon out of town and out of my regular routine. Doel and her amazing husband Gautam had me super pumped for my upcoming India trip, offering me a place in their home in Delhi when I'm passing through- and educating me about some quality places to visit while in the vast, complex, confusing and brilliant country of India. All in all, the most beautiful day. Feeling content and grateful after an emotional few days.

Christmas Lunch.

Gilly invited me to her friends Jan and Errol's Christmas Day lunch. It was fancy shmancy and beautiful...with bottles of champagne and wine flowing all afternoon. It was a nice change to have a meal without curry, instead having ham and turkey and stuffing!!! Yeeew. I drank too much and ate too much, in true Christmas spirit...

Christmas Lunch.

Christmas Eve.

Here's just a few shots of our Christmas Eve festivities at Asanka Guest House. Ama did a proper BBQ, cooking the fish in banana leaves over a fire. Everything was delicious. We were sipping coconut and arrack with lime as our speciality cocktail and we even had a bit of wine :)

The one random shot is of the centerpieces that I'd made for the table :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning, after a long and perfect session, the three of us sat down to a big breakfast and then exchanged presents. The best was Stu's epic wrap job, having used banana leaves and scotch tape. While we opened presents we sipped on some cold beers, because why not?!

Remember it Always.

Today was Christmas, and it was a bit more emotional than I had thought it'd be. Last night we'd had a seafood BBQ at the guest house with everyone staying here. In town earlier in the day the boys and I had picked up a bottle of Arrack, as well as a bottle each of white and red wine. We were excited about our Christmas Eve festivities, and I was looking forward to a fun night with friends. Dinner was alright and then moments after we finished I felt a pain in my chest. I hung with the boys for a few minutes and then did an Irish Goodbye and disappeared into my room. I was really missing my Dad, and once the tears began they never really stopped. I cried for about two hours before finally crying myself to sleep...

I woke up early, the pain still in my chest, and decided on a surf. It was my first Christmas morning without Dad, and though in theory I was strong enough to deal with this, in reality it was a bit much. I gave Ama her gift and a card, and then ran towards the beach with tears in my eyes. I cried the whole walk to the beach and the whole paddle out. I'd get my shit together while I was sitting in the lineup, take a wave, and then cry the whole way as i paddled back out into the lineup. Take a wave, cry, take a wave, cry. I just was really missing him and there's not much else to say about that. 

Back at the room, after a four hour session- my body completely defeated, I read a bit of my book, "The Namesake". Oddly enough, in the chapter I opened up to, the main character Gogol had just lost his father. This bit really felt special to me, and id like to share it with you: 

Gogol is reflecting on a time long ago in his youth, when he and his father had gone exploring by the seaside....

"He heard his father cry out - they had left the camera with his mother. 'All this way and no picture', he'd said, shaking his head. 'We will have to remember it then'. They looked around, at the gray and white town that glowed across the harbor. Then they stared back again, for a while not trying to make an extra set of footsteps, inserting their shoes into the ones they had just made. A wind had picked up, so strong that it forced them to stop now and then. 

"Will you remember this day, Gogol?", his father had asked, turning back to look at him, his hands pressed like earmuffs to either side of his head. 

"How long do I have to remember it?"

Over the rise and fall of the wind, he could hear his fathers laughter. He was standing there, waiting for Gogol to catch up, putting out a hand as Gogol drew near. 

"Try to remember it always", he said once Gogol had reached him. "Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go."

I guess that's all I really have now. The memory of the journey that we made together, the places that we went, and what we had. I will try to remember it, always. Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy those that you love here and now, and remember those that you've lost.