We’ve been told to write a blog about our year abroad…and when you can’t sleep because everything is all SO EXCITING!! you might as well.
I must admit that preparing for your year abroad is quite stressful even for the most level-headed of people. I tried to start packing three days ahead of my journey (as I wanted to spend my last few days in London seeing as many relatives and friends as possible and having a send-off shindig at The Cuban Camden…great place!) but I was still chucking things in and out of my luggage up until the car was parked at Heathrow terminal 4.
Packing tips: Although Amman is a cosmopolitan capital city, it is still very important to keep in mind that Jordan is a mostly conservative Islamic country and Ammanis do not dress as we do in England (i.e. whipping out the shorts as soon as it hits 23˚) and most other western countries. Despite the searing heat, girls you really should stay away from shorts and any top that shows any cleavage! It attracts unwelcome attention, on top of that that you receive just by being a foreigner. In places such as Jabal Amman, around Rainbow Street, you may see girls wearing skinny jeans and vest tops but this is quite a rarity anywhere else in the city. I would recommend bringing maxi skirts/dresses, jeans, loose fitting, light trousers, cotton tops/shirts with sleeves and all sorts of scarves. Winters here are very very cold so don’t forget to bring a coat and plenty of jumpers.
It’s not easy condensing your life into 2 bags
Hey guys! Guess who’s back?!
We apologise for not updating sooner but beginning university has made it a busy year for the both of us. However we can promise, that from now on we will be highly active on this blog as we (more Kasia- as she’s moving to the other side of the world) have an exciting upcoming year ahead us.
As summer has once yet arrived, we took the opportunity to fly to the beautiful land of Polska aka Poland.
Old Town in Warsaw
Within the limited amount of time that we had, we managed to visit two cities; Warsaw and Kraków. Thanks to Kasia’s lovely family we had the chance to explore the depths of the Polish history by visiting many museums, castles, architectures, mines and even churches. Not to forget the delicious Polish food I had both in restaurants and at Kasia’s grandma’s house, so if you are reading Babcia, THANK YOU!
They have Polar bears in the Polish zoo! WHAAT? (They also have kangeroos!)
View from the top of Poland’s tallest building; Palace of Culture and Science
Capital of Poland, Warsaw
Just to make things a little more interesting for when you guys make your visit to Poland, in our next post we thought we would suggest a count down of the top places/things to do out of what we managed to do in Poland. So go check it out!
Before wrapping up our amazing experience in Sri Lanka, we thought we’d take this opportunity to thank all of you who have helped and supported us throughout this wonderful 2014 project/experience.
Personally, we would like to thank our awesome friends who helped us with our cake sale back in November, our school St Michael’s for providing us with many boxes of books for the school, family friends that gave us more books, the teachers and students at the school in Sri Lanka who gave us this opportunity and of course our very supportive families! 🙂
It is very hard to summarise our experience in words, so we have put together a video on Youtube with some clips that we took. Apologies in advance about the quality of the video- its our first one. It will get better, I promise! 😀
-K & D
This post should have been made much earlier so sorry for the delay!
During our stay in Sri Lanka we had many opportunities to wear traditional Sri Lankan outfits. For most of our time spent at school, Kasia and I wore Shalwars/Punjabi whilst teaching. Even though in that heat it may have seemed like an inappropriate choice of clothing, it was surprisingly comfortable, light and airy, so we decided to dress like this for school on a daily basis.
The day that grabbed many people’s attention was on the Prize Giving Day held for students at the school at which we volunteered. In order to try and blend in with the people attending the programme, both Kasia and I decided to wear half-sarees (basically a saree). To be perfectly honest I think Kasia was absolutely enjoying herself, as she claimed we were ‘playing dress up’-also she really couldn’t say no to pink!.
Kasia and I wearing a half saree:)
My mum in the middle in a Saree.
As we grow up there are many things that we ask for as a child, from small teddy bears to the latest Ipods, but what these girls want is different.
During our stay in Sri Lanka, we had the opportunity to visit a local girls children’s home in Mullaitivu. As we arrived at the home, we learned that there were 115 girls aged between 3 and 18 who lived there; most of them were kids who had unfortunately been affected by the war. The girls were very welcoming and within the first 10 minutes of meeting them we were asked to join them in their game in the playground. The girls were so excited to see us that we ended up being surrounded by over 60 girls. The importance and success of sports in this home was evident. A very talented 17 year old girl had qualified for the National Championships for long jump. Similarly, the boxing team had qualified for national competitions, which they were preparing for during our visit.
The day came to an end with us gathering together in a circle where the very talented girls recited poems and songs. The girls used this opportunity to sing heartfelt songs to their loved ones who were no longer with them; it was truly moving and we were brought to tears.
To lighten the mood, a gorgeous and talented 3 year old happily performed a song to which she also danced.
The adorable 3 year old girl performing her dance for us 😀
She was so talented!
We asked the older girls about their ambitions and hopes for the future. Many of them wanted to be doctors, lawyers, teachers and engineers. Their optimism and determination is admirable, especially in comparison to the situation back home, where youngsters are all too quick to give up their studies.
It was an unforgettable experience. We are so grateful to have been given the opportunity to spend valuable time with these lovely girls who have gone through so much yet keep on smiling!
-K & D
Now that we have arrived at Kalaimagal Vidhalayam School, we will be posting on our ‘Volunteering’ page.
Hope to see you there xo
-K & D
On Wednesday, after an 8 hour journey, Kasia and I arrived in one of the villages in the North-east of Sri Lanka. During our 2 week volunteering time at a school we decided to stay at my Grandparents house. Unlike most of the places we have visited so far this village is much more leafy, spacious and warmer. Large pieces of land in this small village means that many of the residents grow their own food crops- whether it is vegetables to cook or just delicious organic fruits. This only issue is that the creepy crawlies in this area become unbearable during the night.
The Beach on the way to the North-east of Sri Lanka.
Look at the texture!
Home grown Bananas yet to ripen.
Meet my Grandparents cute little dog, Siddhu.
He looks kinda scary in this photo though.
I’ve never had a shopping experience like it! Even though we live in London, one of the world’s shopping hubs, it doesn’t compare to Colombo retail. People shouting at you and bartering left right and centre, not to mention the fact that I had to hide my face just to make sure they didn’t hoik up the price of their goods.Thanks to Deepika and her lovely parents I managed to pay pennies for a spree that would have costed over £100 back home!!
my purchases 😀
Another thing that really struck me are the colours (of everything), I mean even the lorries were works of art; houses were painted lime green, electric blue and hot pink. The markets where you can find anything from dried fish to toy spidermen to sweet pineapples the size of a cricket ball were also bursting with colour. It’s like you’re looking at everything with colour filters!
And after a day’s hardcore shopping in 40 degree heat we stopped in a street cafe for some refreshing faludas (rose flavoured milkshake-like drinks with vanilla ice-cream on top yummmm)
Before going up North as volunteers we’ve tried to experience as much as possible of the local culture and scenery that Southeast and Central Sri Lanka has to offer. So today was spent in Pinnawala at an elephant orphanage. They had elephants of all ages but of course we couldn’t keep our eyes off the youngsters. They are so intelligent and playful; you’ve got to be careful not to get your hands too close as they like to grab anything they can with their trunks (as I experienced the hard way when a baby nearly ripped off my bracelets :/)
Just across the road there is a little clearing with a stream running through it. Here we had the most incredible experience – riding elephants. It included much more than we expected including a cooling shower, courtesy of the elephant and we were able to give him a much needed bath in the river and fed him bananas, on demand!
We also explored a little herbal garden, next to the elephant orphanage. There were fresh cloves, cinnamon, cocoa pods, vanilla, turmeric and so much more that I can’t remember.
So this will be the last post before we touch down in Colombo Sri Lanka. We are so excited we can’t contain ourselves! It’s been pretty stressful trying to get the whole wardrobe and a mini library into a suit case but it is finally done!!
The journey is 11 hours so we’ll be landing at about 8 am UK time and hopefully it will be a smooth journey – this will be the first time in about a year that we’ll have the time to have a movie marathon…exciting
So see you all on the other side of the world!! xo
little leaving gift from my cousin 🙂
Goodbye from the dog 😛