We returned to Sri Lanka after nearly 16 years since coming to Australia. The boys born here in Aus. Other than a brown skin, there was not much Sri Lankan in them.
This was not due to any conscious planning on our part to disassociate with our culture. We had no issues with our heritage, nor did the boys. They knew of our food, and enjoyed many of the delicacies, but so did the rest of Australia. In fact many of the Aussies could handle a fair bit of the burning Chilly. Where as my boys, especially my eldest struggled with even a hint of it. Once again before I get judged for not ramming down the chilly,down my kids throat, was simply because he struggled with it.
I have many theories or may be just two, one of them being that I suffered severely with re flux when I was pregnant with him, so I avoided the chilly and then again when I was breast feeding, and voila he has no tolerance to the gun powder. The second reason being he doesn’t really like it. Which is okay. My husband doesn’t like sweets, and no one says no he needs to learn to eat everything.
The other major hurdle when we returned to the mother land was that the kids didn’t speak the language. It’s not really a major hurdle as most speak very fluent English as we were once an English Colony. Even before our migration to Australia, hubby and I mostly spoke in English. That was common practice by many. However, you are meant to know your mother tongue. Either Sinhalese or Tamil. We were Tamils, so we should have sent them to Tamil School (which is held on the weekends) and made them speak Tamil. Even if it meant that they spoke it like a Russian speaking Mandarin.
Again no major reason for them not knowing our language. Simply we had bigger issues to worry about and this took 2nd place or unfortunately no place.
The reason why the 16 year absence from the mother land was due to these bigger issues. Our youngest since the age of two, preferred regular visits to the Hospital. Due to two bouts of Pneumonia, his lungs were scarred and needed surgeries. Our Eldest around the same time not wanting to lose his place in the special considerations, lost his hearing. I was running between two different hospitals.
It took years before the youngest was fit enough to even attend a birthday party. My eldest eventually got 80% percent of his hearing back. Their early years were very challenging due to their ill health, our mortgage, and both parents working full time. So, sorry, but teaching them Tamil was not a priority. We were surviving each day at a time.
We finally made the long awaited trip to Sri Lanka after 16 years (nearly not exactly sure, but it was after a loong time). This was extremely important to us, this was the first time they are going to meet my father – in -law, their only living grandfather. It was time for them to see where we grew up, our schools, our extended families and friends.
It was all that when we got there. They had a wonderful time there. So, did we. But they stood out like a clown at a funeral. No one understood their accent. And even when we ordered a burger from KFC, thinking this would be safe without the chilly, no we were wrong, every bit of chicken was already coated in chilly.
It was a great adventure that they will never forget. But the two young brown skinned tourists were rather happy to come back home.
Daily post word – Tourist