Roots

Colombo Travel Blog

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Mother's ancestral home

Roots, that is what Sri Lanka represents to me. 

 

This is where my parents both grew up, this is where it seems on every street I have some family or other distant relation.  Growing up an only child in Canada, I never knew what having so much family around really was. I had my mom and I had my dad, and here and there a cousin or two would come live with us for a bit.  So to be here around so much family is amazing for me.  It’s almost like living at home.  I feel that comfortable, I don’t feel like a tourist and more like a local, especially the longer I stay; Sri Lanka is definitely a home away from home.

Father's ancestral home

 

Everyday, another family member or one of my dads countless friends and old cricket buddies comes to visit or we go out for lunch and/or dinner.  Usually every visit goes something like this:  they ask me how Im doing, I tell them, tell them a little about my trip, and then they stop talking to me and for the next few hours everyone sits around reminiscing about that past! Luckily I dont mind sitting around listening to the stories though, especially since I understand Sinhala, if I didn’t I admit I would be bored.

 

The stories always vary, depending on the family member or friend, but what they all have in common is the storytellers are always full of laughter and smiles.

My parents wedding photos and me with my grandparents.
  I hear about what trouble-maker my dad was, or how my mom used to teach sewing classes and take care of this cousin or that cousin.  Always when I hear these stories it sounds like it was special to grow up here, back before the war, back in time when Sri Lanka was still Ceylon.  Of course to me the way I hear these stories are highly romantized because they sound so exotic and are of course totally different from my upbringing.

 

Stories, stories, and more stories.  Stories of how things have changed, how things used to be better, smaller, quieter back when everyone was growing up.  Stories of ancestral lands and homes always come up here and there.  Generally these topics come with the older members of the family.  Walking around the streets where my father grew up or down south where my mother grew up, you hear about how we used to own all this land, or how over there we used to play cricket, or over there was a mango tree we used to climb.

My grandparents, mother's parents.
  Every story I hear is exciting in some way, so the only thing I can do is imagine what it would have looked like back then.  

 

On a recent road trip down south we made our way to my moms ancestral home.  The home had belonged to my great-grandfather and is well over 100 years old.  This is was the second time I had visited my moms house, but was the first time I saw a picture of my grandparents.  I have to admit, being in that house and seeing a picture of my grandparents the first time made me tear up a bit.  I had never met them, they died about week after I was born.  So it was nice to see what they looked like and see where everyone grew up. Like my fathers house, there were wedding photos of all the children and sometimes grandchildren up on the walls or placed upon on desks and drawers everywhere.  You could feel the history.

 

For me, everything around me is history, is my roots.  One of these days I would like to trace my ancestry here in Sri Lanka, I wonder how far it goes back? Then sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to grow up here?  My father was a good cricketer back in the day, captained his club (professional cricket league, Bloomfield), and was close to making the national team, but the politics of the day kept him off it, so the story goes.  What if he did make the team? He would have stayed in Sri Lanka and I probably would have been born here and grown up here too!  Weird when you think how one or two events in life could change your whole life!  Crazy.  Anyways, I’m getting a little too deep even for me, so I’ll end this entry here. ;)

 

I will definitely miss this place, that’s for sure, you always miss home.

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Mothers ancestral home
Mother's ancestral home
Fathers ancestral home
Father's ancestral home
My parents wedding photos and me w…
My parents wedding photos and me …
My grandparents, mothers parents.
My grandparents, mother's parents.
Colombo
photo by: wanderingluster