There is a scene in the film, “Moscow on the Hudson” where Robin William’s character goes into an American grocery store for the first time. He has a small shopping list of things to get. His first item is coffee. He finds the coffee aisle and ends up having a nervous breakdown because there are too many choices. I now understand what the character was going through.
My first trip to a Sri Lankan grocery store was daunting. The signs telling you what was in each aisle was in Sinhalese. I can’t read that so I had to go up and down each aisle. Thankfully a lot of items had English on their packages.
One of the items we wanted to get was some lip balm. The store had a small pharmacy area. Nope, not there. Maybe it is near the checkout lane. Not there either. Could it be with the cosmetics? None to be found in the store. Finally one of our daughters found it on the bottom shelf with the soaps.
We got some items and learned some things from that trip. We learned that in Sri Lanka eggs are not refrigerated. You can get some Western items if you look for them and are willing to pay extra for them. You need to weigh your produce in the produce aisle before you checkout. Most importantly we learned that it is ok to take a moment and take a deep breath.
A word that has been on my lips lately is “intense”. Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka and is home to over 5 million people. We arrived at the airport at 1:45 am. When we finally got through customs and got outside it was after 3 am. The humidity was intense. Much later in that day I got my first tuk-tuk ride. It was intense as the driver deftly wove in and out of traffic. The food is very good.Sometimes the spices are intense.
We are at the end of our first week here and have gotten quite a bit done. Another missionary family here, the Naumanns, have helped us out so much. We are also very thankful to the other missionary family, the James, for letting us stay in their apartment until we find our own.