Since this whole I've-moved-to-Sri-Lanka-and-got-married thing came a bit out of the blue for, well, almost everybody, I've been on the receiving end of a LOT of questions. Here are some of the more popular ones. 🙂
Q: Why do you say, "____ years and no one's dead yet" for your anniversary posts?
Yeah, this is a bit funny and sad all wrapped into one. Identities of the guilty will remain anonymous.
After Fahim and I married, I received a couple or so email from "well-meaning" relatives telling me to run, run far far far away, from Fahim as fast as I could because he was going to kill me. Because, after all, that's all that all Muslims want to do – kill the infidel. Uh huh. Yeah.
These people had never met Fahim, had never exchanged emails with him, or, for that matter, had any contact with him at all. Mind if I roll my eyes at them now? Assuming my eyes are still in my head, seeing as how much my eyes have rolled at these people in the last x years?
Yeah. So this bit, "one year and no one's dead yet" started out as a joke about these stupid people. And I just never got tired of it. 😀
And really, seriously, does this look like the face of an axe-weilding murderer? Well, okay, maybe I could pick a better picture… 😛
Q: Where is Fahim from?
Fahim was born and raised in Sri Lanka, has lived most of his life in Sri Lanka, and was living in Sri Lanka when he and I met. He has also lived in Saudi Arabia for a year and in the USA for 4 years.
Q: Why did you go to Sri Lanka? Why didn’t he come to Canada?
Well, we didn't have a whole lot of options. If he wanted to come to Canada, it would probably have been a six month or more waiting period until he could get a spousal visa – after we were married, assuming he could even get it. Rules for getting into Canada are very strict, and he couldn't even get a visitor's visa, so why would we think he could get a spousal? Or, at least, easily anyway. We could meet up in some other neutral country – still, hassles and paperwork, but then it would be for both of us. Or I could go to his country – minimal hassle, minimal paperwork. Heck, I got my spousal residency visa, good for two years, in about four hours. Not bad. So this seemed the most logical choice if I wanted to be with him anytime soon.
But there was another consideration as well. Finances. If we moved to a neutral country, either one or both of us would be starting a new job, and either one or both of us would have to get said job first. That's more complicated and would potentially take months or longer to set up. So now, for expediency, we're back to Sri Lanka or Canada.
I've wanted to quit being an accountant for a few years. I'm tired of it, sick of it, and don't enjoy it anymore. I want to be a writer. If Fahim came here, I'd probably have to continue doing the whole accounting thing – at least until he got settled into a job. But me going to Sri Lanka? He's already settled into a decent job that can support us and he doesn't need me to work. I can quit being an accountant immediately and be a writer and if I don't bring in any income in the near future, it doesn't matter.
Logically? The answer was completely and totally in favor of Sri Lanka.
As for me leaving Canada, well, that didn't bother me in the least. I'm not saying I won't miss the people there, and not saying I don't like the wide open spaces, mountains, movie theatres, shopping, food selection, clean drinking water, good sanitation and things like that, but Canada's got its problems, too. (High taxes and high cost of living top the list for me. And no, weather was not a consideration. 🙂 ) And given how much I've wanted to see the world and get out and yadayadayadayada, this seemed like the most logical choice. And it also ended up being the best choice. I love it here. Okay, I'd like it better if garbage wasn't everywhere and if there was pollution control for vehicles, and there weren't so many bugs, but other than that? It's a pretty good place. People here are friendly, smiling, cheerful. No, not all, but enough that it's very pleasant. The pace is slower here – more laid back and relaxed.
Q: Are you planning on staying in Sri Lanka?
Yes, we'll be living in Sri Lanka – for forever? We don't know. We may emigrate to another country, we may wander from country to country, we may stay here. We haven't entirely decided yet, but we're open to possibilities. It depends on Fahim's employment and where any decent job offers may come from. As for me, oh heck, how does it matter where I'm living in order for me to write? However, we have no plans to come to Canada to live.
Quite honestly, we haven't had the time to do more than think about it in passing – our relationship happened rather fast and sudden.
Q: When are you coming back to Canada? Will you visit us?
I don't know when I or we will be coming to Canada. Flights are pretty expensive – $1400 USD just for me to get here, so it's not in the budget anytime soon for the two of us to take a vacation to Canada. Having said that, if you want to visit Fahim and I in Sri Lanka, let us know.
Q: Wow! I didn’t know it was that hot in Sri Lanka! (Okay, not really a question, but we’ll let it go.)
It isn't hot here – not really. It's around 28-32 Celsius all the time, and that's not bad. It's just humid. All the time. Take a shower, dry yourself off, and there's still that damp sticky moistness left on your skin. Take another cold shower, dry yourself off, and yeah, it's still there. It's always there. I hardly ever completely dry off. When I'm actively doing anything, the sweat pours off me. I've never sweated so much before in all my life! My hair will be mostly dry, I'll do something like oh, scrub the floors, and five minutes later, my hair is soaked and sweat is dripping off me. Yeah, another bit of "TMI – too much information."
Having said that, weather varies depending on where you are. Closer to the major mountain and higher elevation, it's cooler.
Q: Are you planning on working in Sri Lanka?
I'm not planning to be employed like a regular employed person. Realistically, I haven't been employed for eight years – I like the independent self-employed life far too much. I'm planning on writing, and whether that means I only write novels and screenplays and short stories, or I do freelance writing, it amounts to the same thing.
Q: What’s a blog?
Blog stands for web log, which is an online diary, journal, rant, raving, philosophization, give your opinion on whatever, editorialize,etc etc etc. So, if you want to call in an online journal or diary, feel free.
Q: What’s a Jet-lag tab?
You can get them at the health food store, and they're called "No-Jet Lag". They've been written up in all sorts of places as being good for preventing or minimizing jet lag, so I got them before the trip. I followed all sorts of other recommendations, too, like drinking lots and lots of water, getting up to walk around as frequently as possible (when not sleeping), eating lightly, and putting yourself onto your destination's clock as soon as the flight leaves. I think it's worked well, but considering I've never flown that far before, how would I really know?
Q: Were there really 7-Eleven’s in Hong Kong?
Yes, it was an actual 7-Eleven – same logo and everything. No kidding.
Q: Who all attended the wedding?
The wedding was a very small affair – me, Fahim, and the two witnesses, Fahim's best friends Robin and Deeno, with a marriage registrar. But I've always wanted small, and quite honestly, I've always rather preferred the concept of eloping – I'm not for big weddings at all, never wanted a wedding dress or wedding cake or all the rest of it. And Fahim isn't into all that stuff either, so this rather suited the both of us a whole lot better than anything approaching even medium sized would have.
Q: How are the cats doing?
The cats are adjusting – shedding fur like crazy. They have a nasty habit of climbing on to the roof and wandering around where I can't see them, but then again, as long as they're not jumping into neighbors yards where they can't get out, does it really matter? And at least they're getting some exercise, right? You can read more about their antics in my Sri Lankan blog.
Q: We're on the net looking for international jobs. When we look into Canada, we got lots of stuff happening in Iqaluit, Flin Flon, Northern Ontario, wonderfully warm and luxurious locations. But from your rashes…maybe 50 below with fur would be good???
The heat rashes are temporary – that's the first thing you should know. Heat rashes exist as your body adjusts to the higher temperature / humidity. The other thing you should keep in mind is that I have a very long and drawn out history of heat/sun stroke, so I would assume from that that I am probably more sensitive to heat than other people, and therefore more likely to get heat rashes than you would. My last heat rash (I say last because I haven't had any new flareups, but that doesn't mean I won't ever again) is almost entirely gone.
The other thing about heat rash is knowing how to treat them. As soon as it starts to appear, douse thyself in talcum powder and it goes away much faster and doesn't get anywhere near as bad to start with. The talcum powder does two things – 1. keeps the skin dry 2. reduces friction – both of which are important for treating it.
And the last thing you should know is that I have sensitive skin anyway – I get rashes from just about anything, anytime, anywhere, so would it be as bad for any of you? Doubtful.
Q: What is a Mossie?
Mozzie=mossie = mosquito, slang term, although in Sinhalese, it's pronounced madhuruwa, or something sorta close to that. Yeah, not the answer you were looking for.
Q: If it's 10 pm here (Alberta), what time is it there??? We're thinking it's about 10am.
You're right, for Alberta. For BC, 10 am in Sri Lanka is 9 pm – that's now. When the times change in the fall, it'll be different. Sri Lanka doesn't have daylight savings time, so time doesn't shift at all during the day. All of Sri Lanka is in one time zone.
Q: Did you choose the Hong Kong route for flying because it's cheaper?
Yes, because it's cheaper than flying via London and Dubai, but also because it takes less time by 10 or 12 hours. I had the cats to consider and we needed the shortest transit time possible. Also, we chose that route because I could fly Cathay Pacific the entire way as opposed to changing airplanes and airlines in every major city – which isn't a problem for me, but would create a paperwork nightmare for Tellulah and Oberon and upset them even more than they have been already..
Q: Is Sri Lanka pretty much half away around the globe?
Uh, from where? Cuz honestly, it depends on where we're talking here. We're at 7' north of the equator – at around the same latitude as Panama. And we're just off the south east tip of India. Does that help? And the Maldives are off the south west coast of India. There. Your geography lesson for the day is complete. You are fulfilled.
Q: Are you enjoying the sun and the weather?
Yes, I'm enjoying the sun, but probably not as much as you'd expect. I mostly stay indoors during the day – out of the sun and under a constantly moving fan. I'll wait to spend time in the sun until after I've acclimated a bit better. So far, I'm still finding it hot and humid enough that I'm still taking 2 or 3 showers a day. It doesn't cool off at night here like it does in Canada. Okay, so the Okanagan is hotter in the summer during the day, but at night, it at least drops below 20 celsius. Here, there's maybe 5 degrees of temperature variation from day to night, or maybe something like 10 or 15 degrees variation between any time of day to any other time of day in any part of the year. As in, it probably gets as low as something like 23, and as high as something like 35 in rare extremes. Okay, so I'm pulling numbers out of my butt, but I'm willing to bet I'm not far off.
>Q: I read the bit about Fahim's parents reaction. WOW – how do you cope with that kind of rift?
Cope? Accept it and move on. Fahim told me that it would likely be their reaction in the very beginning of the relationship – as in, probably late June, perhaps early July. We've both known about it from the beginning. I know it's nothing personal – how can it be when neither of his parents spoke to me, not even asking my name or anything else? For me, it's not difficult to cope. Fahim, on the other hand, is upset about it, and understandably so. There's a remote possibility that, if we do a Muslim wedding ceremony in front of an Islamic judge with papers to document, they may soften a bit. But – and a big one, too – it's only a remote possibility, not a certainty. I've already told Fahim that, as long as it doesn't go against my own beliefs, I'm completely willing. I've also told Fahim that I refuse to take the situation personally and I will do anything I can to make things easier to reconcile with them. But if they won't even acknowledge him, there's nothing for me to do. On the other hand, when/if we have children, I/we can mail them pictures and hope that helps. Who knows? There's nothing that Fahim can do either, at this point. It's completely up to them.
But no, this is fairly typical over here. Most marriages in Sri Lanka and India are arranged. What makes it worse for his parents, though, is that one of his aunts was at his parents house when we went there. If there had been no relatives, his parents could have denied to the rest of the family that Fahim had even married, and Fahim was prepared to let them do that as long as no one asked a direct question. He's not ashamed of me, but he wants to make things as easy for his parents as he can. He understands that they value other people's opinions more than the relationship with their own children. It's skewed, but they don't know any better. And they are otherwise very decent people.
Q: You'll have to e-mail me the spiffy recipes your using (with the exception of SQUID – ICK!!!!!). I want to experiment more with exotic foods.
Uh, recipes – they're in my food blog, Chilli & Chocolate. But uh, no, no recipes, as in, no recipe book. Just making stuff up as I go along with Fahim's occasional help.
Having said that, I did download some actual Sri Lankan recipes off some web sites. I haven't actually looked at them – I need to – and figure out which ones are practical and which ones are more for events like, oh, company's coming. Which won't happen in the near future – we don't have a diningroom table yet. Oh hell, we don't have enough dishes or cutlery or anything else either. That'll happen when my stuff arrives. Not the table, but the dishes and other stuff.
And honestly, it sounds like you’re an angry racist. Squid are people, too!!!
Q: The pink rice – what's the actual name of the stuff?
The pink rice is actually officially red rice – I just call it pink rice because when it’s cooked, the part that’s normally white becomes pink. Check out 16 Aug blog. Red rice here is the same as brown rice there – the hull not stripped off, so not white. But brown rice isn't available here, only red is. It must be either the orange soil or the variety of rice that's sold locally. I personally would rather eat whole grain rice as opposed to white – more fibre, more nutrients, more healthy. Fahim doesn't care, so I get my way. That's why not white. Yeah, more information than you were looking for.
Q: Are people there warm and friendly?
Yes, people here are warm and friendly. Very. 🙂