Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Finishing the Second (and Second to Last) Session

Although the past week has not been the most interesting of weeks, it sure has been busy. Classes for Session 2 ended on November 4, and then we had a week for exams, papers, and final projects, while also preparing for independent study. I spent the week reading, writing, photographing plants for a botany project, and attempting to study for my history exam. Needless to say, it’s hard to study for an exam, which requires two detailed essays, for a class that covered 450 years of history in 5 weeks and has no reading list. It was slightly reassuring, though, when the professor’s assistant told us that the professor knows how to deal with students like us (i.e. Americans). I was able to take plenty of study breaks, however, to play hide and seek, run and catch (aka tag), and Carrom with my mallis and nangiis. We also had our dancing and drumming concert on Friday. We definitely made a fair number of mistakes during the performance, but it wasn’t a disaster, which means it exceeded my expectations.

After unsuccessfully searching the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens for a breadfruit tree (needed a picture for my botany project), I discovered that there was one in my backyard.

Practicing Dance in the Hall

Nervously awaiting the start of our performance

I’m now in Nuwara Eliya, getting ready to start research for my independent study. I’m going to be studying the environmental impacts of agriculture in the Nuwara Eliya District, and starting tomorrow I’ll be going out into the fields with officers from the Agricultural Research Station here to talk to farmers about their use of fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation, and erosion control. I’ll be staying here for 2-3 weeks, living with a very nice family (a grandmother, mother, and two daughters) before returning to Kandy to write my paper.
It’s hard to believe that I only 5 weeks left until the program ends (I’ll be staying in Sri Lanka for an extra 2 weeks, traveling with my family). There are definitely parts of me that are ready to go home, but I know that I’m going to miss being here—I’ve gotten close to my host family (I’m going to miss them just spending 2 weeks in Nuwara Eliya), and Sri Lanka really is a beautiful country—there just isn’t enough time to see everything here.

Some pictures from my home in Kandy:

The orphaned baby squirrels my family is keeping until they are large enough to fend for themselves

Nangii sitting on the porch at Attamma's house

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