55. On giving thanks

We all have a lot to be grateful for I’m sure.  I know I do. And in the main, I’m pretty good at counting my blessings.

But being in this Buddhist country, the opportunities to pause a while are many. Little temples with serene Buddhas rest on every corner, and rarely is someone not taking a moment to pray at the Buddha’s feet.

I am crazy about temples, and find myself drawn to them often. I can stand in a magnificent Dutch church as I did yesterday at Galle, and feel awe at the architecture, but it is in the small flower festooned temples, with burning incense and love in the air, that I feel my heart expanding with peace and gratefulness.

It’s early and my boy is still asleep. His scores were running high yesterday which gave him a short fuse and a slow response rate. He was so inspiring, injecting himself four maybe five times throughout the day to try and get his body back under control. No complaining. It’s the way he keeps himself alive. I am praying he wakes at a healthy score this morning. He so deserves it.

There is still a part of me that grieves for the healthy boy I lost when he was diagnosed at five. But there is a bigger part of me that is excited for Cody now, and for me too. His challenges are growing him into such a big hearted, wise, optimistic young man. Every day is important to him; every human connection is important to him. He is quick to laugh and the slowest to judge I know.

For that, and so many other things in my life, I give thanks.

54. Accommodating me.

This place smells. We’re staying at a place called Elephant Reach, or should that be Retch?  It’s not an unbearable smell, just kind of an eu de two star that permeates the sweet  jungle air.   I think it’s a combination of cheap motel soap (smells the same all over the world that I can tell) , cleaning products (I know, I know, I should be quietly grateful for this ingredient) and a thousand shedding bodies that have slept in this room before us.

I made a little promise to myself that we would mix up the accommodation this trip, and give Cody a broad overview of how that all works. What a stupid idea. To be honest, he’s coping with it better than me; there’s a pool Mum!

I have had my share of cheap gaffs, more than my share if I look back. And while there are many outstanding memories than remain from those travelling days, these days I’m more than happy to stash the cash pre departure and fund an extra star or two.

Cheap wine and a three day growth?  Don’t mind if I do. Cheap room? Not so much.

52. Does my bum look big on this?

Today we did what you do in Sri Lanka.   We went to an elephant orphanage, we rode on the back of one through the jungle and down a river bed, and we dodged the men hawking t shirts with an elephant’s bum on the front.   Does someone actually buy  these  tshirt? I guess they must.

I have a lot of time for an elephant. They’re so exceptionally big and they seem so, I don’t know,  so zen.

Still haven’t ridden a horse, but I’ve clamped my strong Southern thighs quite firmly onto the back on more than one elephant, a couple of camels, a donkey… oh god, I’d better stop there.

Giddy up cowboy.

49. Lesson on patience.

Today we mostly learned about patience; a good buddhist learning this one.

We had spent the evening at Nuwara Eliya at a larged rumpled dusty hotel that smelled of wood polish and disinfectant called St Andrews. We are in the heart of tea plantation country and the evidence of British settlement is everywhere. It’s odd, I feel  slightly resentful for the Sri Lankan people which is wrong as they seem pretty thrilled with all the tudor shit.

I wanted the boy to have an Asian train experience and the one from Nanu Oya to Ella is famous for the beauty and variety of landscape so that was the plan for the day.

The first thing he learned was that the trains run to their own programme and it doesn’t have much to do with the timetable. So the 1230 departure became 230 became 345. So there we were, on a train station platform in the bush waiting for a train.

These are the moments you go look where the fuck I am with my kid for gods sake! Then you go, jesus do we have enough food for him to not go into a low if this thing never comes??  Memories of Indian trains from twenty years ago don’t fill me with confidence.

The second thing he learned (that’s not entirely true, I think he was born knowing this) is that there is always someone new to play with if you approach it right. For Cody, a cute pair of Chinese lovebirds. For me, a handsome Israeli student. He’s going to come and visit us in New Zealand apparently.

Time passed.