BootsnAll Travel Network



Glitter the World: South Asia

In response to some requests from family and friends to keep a travel blog, I present to you Glitter The World: South Asia! I am currently on a 5 month journey through Sri Lanka and Southern India. I will be in Sri Lanka for One month, teaching yoga to "holiday-ers" at the luxorius spa resort Amanwella located in Tangalle Southern Sri Lanka. I will then be spending my remaining time in India, studying yoga, past life regression, and reiki in Mysore and visiting Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore. Between then, I will stay at various ashrams doing some seva (selfless service) and studying meditation.

~You may view photos by clicking on links within my postings, or view the entire photo album at http://picasaweb.google.com/GlitterTheWorld ~

Om Shanti Shanti

From Palms to Pines

April 15th, 2010

On April 4th, I set out for a journey up North, a 4 day train journey which would take me up to Himalayas (with a brief stop in Kolatta).  And now writing this I can’t say I regret a minute of the 45 hour train ride.  Thankfully I had the time to do it, now if I were only here for a few weeks that may be a different story.  Many fellow travelers and yoga students tried to persuade me into just hopping on a plane and getting up north in a few hours.  But why skip out on such an adventure?  By taking a plane I knew I would pass over so much!  So I spent my time next to the train window witnessing the everyday rural life from South India, to North India, from Palm Trees to Pine Trees.  What my friends had seen as boring, is completely and utterly inspiring to me.      

 

Various colored sarees were washed and spread out on the land to dry, lined up like an earthly rainbow.

Buddhist temples sticking out atop forests, children carrying buckets of water on their heads, families bathing in ponds, herds of sheep waiting at the railroad crossing, games of cricket at 5 am, a sole farmer eating his lunch under the shade of a palm tree, Hindu temples under construction, woman riding motorbikes on the country roadside with their sarees blowing in the wind, umbrellas perched atop tea plants shading plantation workers for an afternoon nap, teenage boys carrying a load of hay 5 times the size of themselves on their bicycle and school children walking along the train tracks in matching uniforms, the girls each with braided pigtails tied in bows.

           

In India I have come to understand that the most incredible experiences are of something beautiful, magic, unique, or rare combined with something that is annoying, frustrating, or seemingly impossible to deal with.  The scenery was fascinating enough that the combination of food/drink/bathroom/outside smells and yelling vendors didn’t bother me for the duration of my trip.  At each stop vendors from the town will get on the train and until the next stop walk up and down the isles selling coffee chai and fea, samosas (vegetable filled pasteries), and other baked goods.  At station stops you can reach your hand out the window to buy a warm cup of Chai; pay, drink up, and return the glass before the train departs.

 

The screaming voices “COFFEE, COFFEE, COFFEE” were just a soundtrack playing with the incredible passing by scenery and the scent of fresh vegetable curries, chai and bathroom smells remind me that yes, I am in India.    

Tags: ,

Only in India

March 5th, 2010

- Small Candies are an acceptable form of currency.  Often times if the person does not have 1 to 10 rupees in change, you will receive candy instead.

- Your tea or coffee automatically comes with sugar and milk… loads of it.

- In Europe they drive on the left side of the road.  In America, they drive on the right side of the road.  In India, they drive on what’s left of the road.

- Honking your horn at EVERY intersection takes the place of stop signs or stop lights. 

- Cattle, goats, and ponies are common pedestrians/road blocks, even in the cities. 

- If you need to see a doctor, you can walk into ANY ayruvedic medical center, see the head doctor (for a general checkup or to consult about an ailment or concern) and receive natural herbal medicines in Under 15 minutes for around $5.00 (includes consultation and herbal medicines).  No waiting, no paperwork, no insurance needed, and no one just trying to take your money.  If you NEED medical assistance, you get it. 

- There is no such thing as NO.  Instead it is “come back in one hour,” “we will have it tomorrow,” “it will be here in 2 days,” “go across the street to so-and-so, they can help you,” “my brother can do that, I will ask him then you come back tonight,” “they have some of those down the road” etc.

- You can eat like a King or Queen for under 2 dollars (including drinks, several main courses, and deserts!)  

- Business hours are as follows: Whenever someone decides to be there.

- Anywhere is an acceptable place for trash.  Even residential areas dispose of their trash over the balcony into their yard. 

- You can get your shoes fixed for 30 rupess (under $1) on the spot

Tags:

“I just want to go home”

March 5th, 2010

“You are home” says Mooji.

” Your ‘home’ is just an idea of yourself.  At ‘home’, there are all of these people that tell you that you are like this and you are like that, and now you are away from them and you do not have anyone to tell you who you are. But  ‘YOU’ are home.  Remove the mental representation of yourself and come home, into consciousness of the whole.”

This was the first question I heard at Satasang with Mooji.  Well it wasn’t exactly a question, but more of a plea for comfort from this teddy bear Rastafarian spiritual teacher, Mooji.  During Satsang, gathering of truth, people can come forward in front of a spiritual teacher and asked questions to the wise one (as opposed to silently listening to someone speak , telling you only what they want you to know).  I listened to a girl not more than 10 years older than me let her tears pour out into the microphone in front of 50 or so like-minded strangers, as I gaze out beyond their scarved, dreaded, shaved, or messy haired heads at the sacred Arunachala mountain. 

It is mid January and I have spent two weeks between small beachside towns, Mamallaporum, and Auroville.  Along the way I picked up a long desired MoonStone ring, a purple scarf, and two fellow travelers:  Isa from London (formally named Lizzy, we determined she needed to adopt a new name since she just began a Round the World trip and starting fresh means also starting with a new name) and Rachel from Australia

After a few weeks of being hypnotized by the sounds of the Bengal sea, I could feel a pull inland.  The mountains were calling my name.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the water, but I worship the mountains.  After spending 23 years of my life either in the mountains or in plain view of them, I go crazy without them.  I had been recommended by a friend at the Ashram in Bangalore to go to Mount Arunachalla in Thiruvanamalai, especially for the full moon.  To honor the full moon, every month thousands of barefoot devotees gather from all over to walk 16 km’s around the sacred Arunachala Mountain.  Considering my love for full moons and mountains, I followed the calling.  However, I soon learned that the calling was from a voice, the voice of Mooji. 

 Mooji, a Jamaican Native now living in London, has been sharing spiritual knowledge in the form of satsang (gathering of truth) for over 10 years.   Mooji beams with love and compassion, but “unsparing is his scrutiny and uncompromising stance, that the ‘I’ concept is inescapably exposed as a mental construction, when viewed from the formless awareness we are.” 

I met two sweet American musicians (also known as Loveful Heights) in Auroville who had a place in Thiruvanamalai with one of their boyfriend’s, Nataraj, who worked for Mooji.  Our first night in Tiro, Isa exclaimed to Nataraj, “It’s amazing how we just ended up here.  It isn’t anything like I planned.”  Nataraj replied, “That Is something that India teaches you.  No matter how much you plan, you always end up where you need to be.”  And I needed to be with Mooji.

I went to Satsang with Mooji every morning that I was in Tiro.  The following are some notes I took from his talks:

Question:  Mooji, I have experienced so much failure in my life and it never seems to escape me. From relationships, to jobs, to just plain bad luck.  How can I move from failure to success? 

Mooji: We define ourselves by our limitations of our mind and body.  We are defining ourselves by the doer, the mind.  Who is the person that is aware of the mind?  This is your true being which is untouched by our imagined [failed] self.  Once you realize and understand the true Self, you will not be attached to the limitations of your mind and body.

Question: I still have thoughts about my ex-husband and how he hurt me…

Mooji: [interrupts] You say he is your EX-husband.  Then he is your EX problem.  The problem is gone.  However, he is just like any other memory, which will come and go.  The feeling comes with the memory, but do not dwell in it.    

Fears hold us hostage, they are not real.  The fear is held in the mind for the person our mind thinks we are. 

When you are in the moment, there is no need for promises.  Promises are of the mind, they are of the future. 

What is that which witnessing the coming and going of emotions?  That which does not come and go.

 “I” is consciousness, it came before your given name which separates us. 

All that comes will also go.  Do not dwell in it.  Anger, sadness, stress… do not dwell in it.  It is like a puddle of muddy water in your path.  Why would you stand in it, and fill your shoes with mud and water, when you can step in, then out and keep moving on with only slightly wet shoes?

Human Being: A Human is a Human, and a Being is divine.  When we think we are only Human, we become hostage to our thoughts.

Love vs Attachment: Love is freedom, and Attachment is need.  We Need someone else when we are not one with ourselves.

Use the taste of vulnerability to find the one who is vulnerable. 

The Moon is like the mind, and the self is like the Sun.  The Moon does not shine a light by itself, but it appears to be that way because of the Sun.  Recognize the source of the mind.

What you are looking for, is where you are looking from.

We are perceiving what we are conceiving.

When we aren’t satisfied, we are restless.  A need to fix something, change something, buy something, do something. 

If you are depending on the mind, then Life isn’t magical.

You cannot do anything from your heart that is wrong for anybody.

Take me away from everything that takes me away from myself.  

__________________________________________________

P.S – if you are wondering, Isa and I did the Full Moon Walk on January 28th.  16 kms around Arunachala mountain, it took around 5 hours!

Tags: , ,

What you are looking for, is where you are looking from

February 4th, 2010

Typical day at the ashram:

  • 6:00 morning yoga, meditation and pranayama (breath work)
  • 7:30-9:30 Breakfast and Kitchen Seva (selfless service)
  • 9:30-12:30 meditation and discussion12:30-14:30
  •  Lunch and Kitchen Seva14:45-18:30 meditation and discussion
  • 18:30-19:30 Dinner and Kitchen Seva
  • 19:30-21:30 Satsang and discussion with Guruji21:30-23:00 video of Guruji’s speeches

The Art of Living (founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) is the world’s largest volunteer based, humanitarian and educational organization that reaches over 300 million people in over 140 countries.  The Art of Living develops community outreach projects all over the world (such as reforestation, building rural schools, disaster releif, health and conflict resolution.  The Art of Living also offers numerous courses which teach pranayama (breath techniques) and meditation which enable you to connect with your inner self and to discover the light of love and happiness that shines in all of us; that which is hidden underneath layers of the mind, intellect, and years of suffering.I did my first course in September 2009 in Boulder, Colorado and was blown away.  I reached a depth of meditation where I had my first glimpse of my true Self, the part which is hidden under layers of judgement, guilt, criticism, anger, fear, and the mind.  It is similar to the experience that many people so similarly describe as “near death experiences” ; bright light of energy, wholeness, a tremendous feeling of love, freedom, surrender and complete presence and contentment.  A door within all of us is waiting to be unlocked, and opened so that the light can flood through and into the universe.  Age, religious affiliation, or beliefs do not matter, just be open to it… be open to yourself. Know that something which is doubted is something that is always possible.

“prayer is asking, meditation is listening”- Guruji

To find courses in your area, you can visit The Art Of Living

“The Art of Living Course gives participants the practical knowledge and techniques to unlock their deepest potential and bring fullness to life. Whether happy and successful or feeling the stress of poor health, disappointments, or fear, every participant is cared for and comes away lighter, with effective techniques for releasing mental and physical stress and increasing his or her health, energy, peace, self-knowledge, awareness, and joy. ”

-AOL Website

Talks with Guruji

(notes from discussions with Guruji during my course)

Life cannot be defined, otherwise you are limiting it.  We are pursuing happiness but the only way to succeed it is with awareness.

The heart wants the past, the mind wants the future, and the ego wants the obstacles.

When we find joy within, our outside reflects that joy

Basing your life on words is very superficial.

Silence is the goal of all answers. If an answer does not silence the mind, it is no answer

Only Silence is complete

Smiling with all the existence is Silence

Purpose of words is to create silence.

When you make service the sole purpose in life, it eliminates fear of others and gives you meaning

Love is not an emotion, it is your very existence.

When you love someone, you see nothing wrong with them, when you love someone, you want to see them always happy and you want them to have the best.

Love is the highest strength, yet it makes you absolutely weak

Love cannot tolerate distance, and hatred cannot tolerate nearness.

When there is Love, there is no ego

In the company of one who is living Love, you also can’t but spring into that Love.

Love is that phenomenon of dissolving, disappearing, merging, becoming one with.

Love is the phenomenon of total letting go.

The seers, the seen, and the process of seeing all merge. The knowledge, the knower, and the known, they all merge, become one & that is Divine Love

God is the Seer himself. Who sees—that is God

God is love. Being in love is sharing that love.

Knowledge is a burden if it does not set you free.

When you follow fun, misery follows you. When you follow Knowledge, fun follows you.

For one who has awakened in knowledge, there is no more suffering.

Do not say that you want to surrender. Just know that you already are surrendered.

A person who cannot surrender cannot be self reliant

The greatest power is in surrender, surrender to the Divine.

Meditation erases the impressions and improves the expression

Break through the barrier of the rational mind and find freedom for yourself

Freedom is your very nature. Only with freedom do joy, generosity and other human values blossom

Just an intention to be free makes you immediately free.

Discipline protects freedom. You can choose to focus either on freedom or discipline, and this makes you happy or unhappy.

Have respect for the Self and no one can take your self respect

Someone does not need to be great in order to be respected. Respecting life makes you great.

Ego is separateness, non-belongingness

The head level is safe for the ego. The heart level breaks the ego. The soul level dissolves the ego

Death brings you in touch with the reality of life.

Wake up an see your life is too short. The realization that life is short will bring dynamism to your life.

Breath is the link between your body and your spirit and your mind

Drop all the divisions of the mind. This is what is holding you back from enlightenment. This is what is holding you back from your very nature. Drop those right now.

Your own judgement brings the barrier and separates you.  When you are judging, you are judging your own self, but you are super-imposing it on this, or this, or this, or this, or this.

Abiding in the self you become the valentine for the whole world. Spirit is the valentine of matter and matter is the valentine of the spirit.

The world appears imperfect on the surface but underneath, all is perfect. Perfection hides; imperfection shows off.

Sincerity is being in touch with your Depth.

You are total. You are full. You have all that you need. Do not underestimate yourself.

Abundance is a state of mind within you. If you just look at “lack,” the lack increases in life.

Over-indulgence in anything reduces the beauty.

See a mistake as a mistake, not as “my” or “his” mistake. “My” means guilt; “his” means anger.

The Self is the center of the whole creation.

Truth cannot be understood through proof. Anything that can be proven can be disproven also. Truth is beyond proof or disproof.

Events cannot stick on to you. You are like the pure crystal. Niranjanah—untouched, unstained by anything.

You are Divine. You are part of me. I am part of you.

When heart speaks and heart listens, harmony is produced. It is always so. When head talks and head listens, argument is produced.

Tags: , , , ,

Birthday Presence

February 3rd, 2010

After finishing my double scoop butterscotch ice cream cone, I wander into the divine bookstore at the Art of Living International Ashram.  I pick up the book “Silence” by his holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Guruji) and opened to a random page.

“A poor man celebrates the new year once a year.  A rich man celebrates it every day.  But the richest man celebrates it every moment”

 I chose to flip through that particular book because I was practicing silence for my meditation course, an entire 5 days of it.  It was my 23rd birthday today, but I didn’t get any birthday hugs, kisses, or spankings.  No party, songs, candles or gifts . . . just presence.Complete awareness of myself.With the assistance of my lovely friend, Neela, I wore my birthday sari and felt like a princess at the birthday cake ashram, but more importantly I felt like Me.  And I’m not talking about “Aubrey” I’m talking about Me.  The person who starts the sentence, “I am . . .”I shut my eyes and let Guruji’s words touch my heart.  Why only one day a year to celebrate ourselves?  Why only one day a year to celebrate each of those so dear and close to us?After another typical day at the ashram, I do my Seva, sweeping the kitchen in my sari with a matching colored broomstick and washing dishes, and return to the ashram for our 9:00pm meeting, to receive my real birthday gift . . . a small group meeting with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the one who gifted me with the knowledge to know who’s birthday it really was that January 17th, 2010.

Tags: , , ,

The Unique Tailor Experience

February 2nd, 2010

My only birthday wish is to wear an Indian sari.  I had imagined wearing my favorite colors, a perfect orange or maybe turquoise.  When I shared this image with my friend Gia she said, “I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one” She was right.  Because after hours of sifting through hundreds of silk, cotton, and polyester fabrics and searching for the right combination of material, embroidery color, design and pattern, and border.  Just moments before giving up my search,  I found it.

 My birthday sari was blue! BLUE? Yes, what a surprise because those who know me so well imagine me only in the brightest of hues. Orange, yellow, turquoise, pink!  The skirt area is lavender with gold embroidered ovals.  The part that comes across the chest is also lavender with various colored gemestones in the shape of flowers.  The lavender fades into blue, which is underneath a gold embroidered pattern and small mirrors.  The entire sari is bordered in gold.  I was so excited to wear it but then the gentleman burst my birthday sari bubble when informing me that I needed to have the top tailored (the sari comes with extra fabric at the end for the top) and it would probably be days until the top could be completed, since it was the Buddhist New Year celebration that following day and the tailors were busy with special outfits.

 Everyone always says that birthday wishes come true, so I set out on a mission to make sure that wasn’t just a rumor.

 After many rejections from tailors all over the neighborhood, I decided just to have the extra fabric cut off the end and wear a plan sari top I already had that would match.  I waited for my turn amongst a group of Indian women in a closet sized shop lined floor to ceiling with the dazzling fabrics.  It was my turn

“what you need”

“um, Hi! Can I have the sari top cut off the end of my sari?”

“You want sari top?”

“No, no just…” – “What you want?”

“I just want the fabric cut off”

“No top? Why not! Why no you want top?”

“I am leaving tomorrow for an ashram”

“You pick up when you return”

 

“No, I need to wear the sari at the ashram.  I want to wear it for my birthday!”

”Ah, when?”

“Sunday”

“(clicks the mouth) Ahhh… no time, no time.  New year tomorrow, many things to make”

“But its my birthday wish, all I want to do it wear the sari for my birthday.  I will pay you double to have it done by tomorrow”

-this is where the universe sprinkles some magic birthday glitter onto the tailors head and shoulder and  vuola -

“(mouth click) Ah, no.  I do sari top for you, but only if I can make a dress to.  I have done for you by 4:00 tonight”

 

Huh? Did that just happen? That doesn’t even make sense ( I remember a fellow traveler in Sri Lanka telling me, “Just remember, it’s India, ANYTHING can happen”)! I oblige and she quickly pulls me behind the counter and drapes her tape measure all over my body, lifting up my shirt, tugging at my pants, and manipulating my arms and shoulders to get the perfect numbers.  Because there are several other woman waiting to be measured for their perfect outfits, I quickly scan the orange section of fabrics and choose a set to be tailored.  For the salwir, the fabric comes in a set of 3 pieces, one piece for the top, one piece for the pants (usually a different color or design than the top) and a piece for the scarf or shawl.  

 I quickly scanned a booklet of examples of various styles of pants or tops she could make.  You can choose the length, cut, style, and even add fringe such as beads, bells, or gemstones. 

 She took clippings of the fabric then tossed it into a pile behind her and measured the next girl.  Quick, precise, yet original.

 

There was something very intriguing about the tailor experience.  Much of the clothing that woman wear here is designed just for them (and fits like a glove), for pennies!  It was very inspiring to develop a relationship with the person who is making my clothing.  To have a sense of the energy that is going into making my unique one of a kind outfit.  I sincerely respect such originality and creativity, as opposed to purchasing an anonymous overpriced piece of clothing that comes from who-knows-where that was made by who knows who.

  

Tags: ,

Couchsurfing Bangalore

February 2nd, 2010

 

  • Apparantly I bite my nails when I’m nervous because several times throughout my flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Bangalore, India, I caught myself making the attempt, BUT before remembering that I was growing my nails out for the first time in my life.  The last half hour of the flight (the entire flight was only one hour) I imagined over and over in my head stepping out of the airport into the center of chaos, the meeting point for cows, fruit, rickshaws, busses, trains, cows, goats, Indian women in a variety of vibrant colored sarees, roadside stands selling everything from southern spices to flowers for offerings (to bring to temples or shrines) beggers and homeless amputees.  I went over and over in my head (and I’ll admit I even made a short list with these few things just in case my mind exploded with external stimulation) of what I would do when I arrived at the airport:
  • pickup backpack
  • go through customs
  • exchange money
  • call Chenmayie to confirm directions to her house in the city

 Of course I mentioned in my earliest Sri Lanka blog, my worrying did me no good whatsoever because it was nothing like in my wildest dreams.  I completed all 4 things on my list and as I walked through the automatic doors of the airconditioned airport into a nice tropical breeze, I realized that the airport was far from the chaos (obviously, I mean come on, who builds an airport in the middle of the city, duh!) I hopped on the BIAS-05 bus, which was conveniently located within 20 feet of where I was standing, 1 ½ hours to the Bangalore where I would then take a rickshaw (the Sri Lankan “tuk tuk”) from the Jayanagar bus station to couchsurf in the lovely home of Chinmayie, Ravindra, and Alaru.

 Couchsurfing is a community of travelers who offer their spare (or not so spare) bedrooms, couches, floors, or guest houses (depends on how lucky you get!) to fellow travelers in their town, free of charge.  Hosts welcome surfers into their homes free of charge and add to the karmic pay-it-forward community so that when they travel, they can surf elsewhere.  Free accommodation aside, couchsurfing is the best way to meet local people and get a real taste of what the place is really all about.

Chinmayie and Ravindra are stay at home parents (Ravindra is a graphic designer and works out of the home) and their daughter Alura is 8 months old.  After being with them for two days I noticed how both equally cared for Alura.  We had a long discussion on how Indian men support their families by spending more time at home with the children as opposed to just spending countless hours away from home “earning money” as support.  This family was more western in their traditions and we talked about everything from raising Alaru to movies, Indian Guru’s (and fake Gurus) and Chenmayie even taught me how to wear the saree.

Tags: ,

From Diamonds to Dust

January 12th, 2010

It was a 6 hour drive from Tangalle to Negombo. I am staying at a guest house for 800 rupees a night (around 7 US dollars) and will be leaving Tuesday morning around 5 am for the airport to go to India.The most bittersweet part of backpacking is arriving at a new destination. It is exciting to arrive in a new place, but at the same time it is unfamiliar. There is this moment when you realize that you don’t know the town, the people, the patterns of daily life etc like you knew at the last place. You must stay take your time to explore the town and meet some locals to make this place feel like home for a few days. You don’t realize how you become comfortable and start to gel, til you move on to the next destination. This happens over and over and over again until you get back to your home country and feel like it was all just a dream.I had these bittersweet feelings as I arrived in the town of Negombo. Beach Villa Guest House is a backpacker’s haven, cheap to nothing rooms and food, posted directly in front of the beach (and soccer field which I’ll get to in a moment). After storing my backpack in my jail cell of a room (paint peeling on the walls, torn shower curtain, noisy fan, hard bed mattresses and flat pillow cases) I wandered out to the beach for sunset. The sand was brown and the water was a dark gloomy color, nothing like the postcard perfect beach of Amanwella. I walked through the water, it was the same sea, but a different part of it that was unfamiliar to me. The feelings set in again. I missed Amanwella. I missed the white sand. I missed Sandun. I missed my comfy king sized bed. I missed Rupee, the stray dog that slept on my porch. I missed my Amanwella boys.I retreated to my kriya meditation that I do every day. I hadn’t done it yet so I took this time to tune out the external world.. 45 minutes later the all too familiar sound of barefeet passing around a soccer ball took me out of my meditation. I turned around to notice that there were two wooden posts with a string drawn across the top and a group of various aged boys (from 10-25 years old!) passing around the ball. Thankfully I’ve spent 90% of my life on a soccer field, and bless this world, for it is a universal language, a sport that every side of the earth knows how to play (much more passionately in every country outside of the US). I ran into my prison cell at the Beach Villa Guest House to put on my sports bra, and emerged with the intent of becoming part of this new beach and knocking around some of the local boys.As I entered the sand field, sans-boundaries, I yelled “Can I play?” Their excitement and yelling (who knows what they were saying in Sinhalese) attracted a larger audience, I’m not sure if they were more curious because I was a foreigner, or if I was a girl (girls in Sri Lanka don’t play sports). The opposing team laughed as they now had to become skins, so I could differentiate the teams, and obviously they weren’t going to make me take off my shirt. The energy of the game picked up and the heckling began. My team mates didn’t pass to me for the first 10 minutes of the game, but as soon as I started tackeling and knocking them into the sand, they knew I was serious and was here to get dirty.We played a crappy game of soccer till we couldn’t see the ball any longer.  The Sri Lankans have no tactics for the game but tackle, run fast, and boot the ball. But they were tough. I promised to come back the next night, same time same place, and retreated to my room covered in brown Negombo beach dust.I woke up today with sore calves, bruised shins, and scrapes from the rocks in the sand. Playing soccer on the beach is tough and the ball moves at snail speed, like running in slow motion in a dream, but I came back for more. The boys were sad that it was my last night playing, since I’m leaving tomorrow morning for India, but I took down one of their addresses and promised to send them a box of soccer balls when I return back to the US.

Tags: ,

I Left My Heart at Amanwella

January 12th, 2010

I spent my last night eating dinner Sandun’s house in the Amanwella Village (the resort is named after the village they built right in the middle of ). His father is a fisherman and is out on the sea now, so his 3 lovely younger sisters and mother prepared a delicious Sri Lankan rice and curry. I assumed that we would all be eating together but Sandun says that the Sri Lankans don’t eat as late as 8:00 and so they already had dinner, but it seemed like the girls prepared a romantic meal for us. We spent the rest of the evening drinking tea by moonlight underneath lush jungle plants surrounded by lurking sounds of frogs, buzzing mosquitoes and chanting geckos and every so often a bat soaring mysteriously above our heads.The next day I met Sandun to say goodbye. I had my things packed up and waiting out front of Amanwella. I ordered my last breakfast of hashbrowns and porage to be ready for me at 10.  I met Sandun at the beach, the usual spot underneath the palm trees by the boats, and he was sporting my BOULDER shirt with a pair of jeans. As a backpacker, you must go through your things before every departure to ensure you are carrying as least amount on your back as possible. So I got rid of a lot of clothing that I had bought in Sri Lanka for my stay, along with a few items I had brought from Colorado. I decided to give my Sri Lankan skirts and some American tops, along with one of my favorite bags that I was carrying around art supplies in, to Sandun’s sisters (they were shy at first, revealing only sweet smiles from my gifts but Sandun later revealed to me that once I left they were dancing around in the skirts and tops!) I also had to part ways with my favorite jersey cotton grey BOULDER t-shirt, and decided to gave it to Sandun. I reminded him to tell people asking about BOULDER that “It is in the mountains in Colorado, in the center of the United States, and there is lots of snow!” We exchanged small gifts, goodbyes and a kiss (I made him a collage and he gave me a birthday card that I ended up reading later that day) then went on my way to hand out other goodbyes which would become harder and harder as they happened.I ate my last meal surrounded by all of my favorite Amanwella boys. These wonderful boys served me my 3 daily meals with a side of Sri Lankan culture. For countless hours I quizzed the boys on their families, love and romance, food, animals, plants, the Sinhala language and much much more! It was hard to finish my breakfast as I was surrounded by adorable puppy faces pleading “please take us with you Aubrey” and “don’t ever forget us”. I will never forget my Amanwella boys, how could I? In the midst of the luxuries of staying at the resort, they were my friends and my insight into the real story behind those beautiful brown faces that inhabit this tiny island in the middle of the Indian ocean. Without them, I would not know the Sri Lankan people the way that I do now.It was difficult to pull away from the crowd of teary eyed boys. I gave them each a hug, took a few photos and went to the car which had already packed my backpack. As I climbed into the van I turned around to see a gathering of all the other Amanwella workers. The spa therapists, the receptionists, the servers, and the housekeepers. They had all lined up to see me off, and it was this sight that pulled the first tear from my eye. I turned my face to hide my sadness, but just as all of the most beautiful sorrows take over us, I let the tears come. I turned back one last time as they all waved, and saw a familiar image in my mind. It was these same crowd who had greeted me upon my arrival, welcoming me to my new home, but as strangers. And now as I left Amanwella, the sight of them standing in the entrance was the same, but the feeling was different. Now I was not leaving the strangers that had welcomed me, but I was leaving my friends and the family that had been with me through the holidays and the last month of my life.I drove through Amanwella village, past Sanduns home with tears streaming down my face. The kind that are so heavy they slide down your face and drop off your chin before you can even blink them away. I opened up the birthday card (7 days early) that Sandun had given me. In it was the poem that Sandun had recited to me the day he saw me dancing in the rain at the Muligirigala Rock Temple.

“It must have been a rainy day, the day that you were born. But it wasn’t really rain, the sky was crying because he lost his most beautiful angel”

This is when I realized that I left a part of my heart at Amanwella.

Tags: ,

Suba Aluth Avurudhdak Wewa!

January 6th, 2010

Suba Aluth Avurudhdak Wewa is the Sinhalese translation for HAPPY NEW YEAR!

We all had the honor to ring in yet another amazing year on a full moon.  A Blue Moon that is.  A Blue moon is when there are 13 full moons  that occur during that year, 2 of them being in December, once on the 2nd and again on the 31st!  Because of my location in the world, I was also able to see a partial lunar eclipse (where a small part of the moon entered the Earth’s umbral shadow, you can see a small dark shadow on the southern part of the moon)!  I spent the beginning of my evening gathered around a large table in front of the moon lit Indian Ocean, accompany other foreigners as they feasted on local rice and curry and exchanging travel stories and advise.  The table was set out in front a nice little guest house on the beach.  Rumor had it that there would be some good dance music “arriving” shortly.  Within an hour of 2010, my friend Najee, that works at Amanwella, pulled up to the beach revealing the sound system in the back of his car.  This stereo system is unlike ANY system I have ever seen in America.  Quite frankly, I was impressed!  So of course as you guess, I danced the sand between my toes out of 2009 and into 2010!

The Best of 2009

 Celebrating New Years Eve 2008 with my BEST FRIENDS (we kept wishing everyone else “Happy -insert random year here-” … we got the entire bus on the ride home to chant 2002, 2002, 2002!)

 New Years Eve 2008 with my Best Friends  New Years Eve 2008 with my Best Friends!

Getting to become sisters with one of my best friends!  Crofton proposed to Amanda last New Years Eve!

Crofton and Amanda

BEST FRIENDS AND SISTERS! 

 Grandma Sacco came to live with us for a few months!

Epic 22nd Joint-Birthday dance party with Paula (turned 23!) featuring 3 electronic DJ’s

me and politimi on our birthdays!

Birthday Dance Party! 

 Campus Dance Project

Campus Dance Project!

Campus Dance Project!

Traveling to Japan – my first time traveling alone!

Me and Asa at the Asakusa Temple, Tokyo

 Daibutsu Buddha, Kamakura, Japan

Graduating from College! FINALLY!

Graduation from CU Boulder Family at Graduation

Moving out of my first apartment, and PAYING MY OWN RENT for the first time.  Long Live the Glitter Cave

Glitter Cave, $200 bucks a month!

My first Nannying experiences this summer

Teaching LOTS of yoga at Studio Darshan, CU, Sacred Space, and Core Power Yoga!

Yoga photo shoot with Jim Campbell 

Core Power Yoga Christmas Party! 

Traveling around Greece with Politimi

The Parthenon, Athens Greece

Santorini, Greece 

Baby Luca was born August 14th, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

Baby Luca

The Family and Baby Lu

Spending the greatest week of my life at BURNING MAN in the Black Rock City Desert, Nevada

Art Car at Burning Man Sunrise at Burning Man

Seeing Morgan off to College at San Diego State University

Me and My Brothers on our way to the Airport

Morgan playing soccer for SDSU! 

Visiting my favorite cousins in Arizona

 Amanda, Paul, and Me

Baby Luca growing up So FAST!

Baby Luca 

Crofton, Amanda, and Baby Luca 

Living at home with Mom, Dad and Oliver before my trip

me and dad playing Mall Madness mom and oliver 

Traveling to Sri Lanka

 Sri Lankan Rainbow Amanwella Tangalle, Sri Lanka

_______________________________________________________________

To all of my beloved friends and family:

May all of you be blessed with an amazing year full of the love that you so deserve.  May you manifest your dreams and open your heart to new and endless possibilities that await for your discovery.  May you find magic in your everyday occurrences and may your  health, happiness and well being be your measure of wealth!

Om Shanti Shanti ~ mantra for peace and love

Aubrey Glitter Girl 

Tags: