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Story Location: Sri Lanka

  • Following My Interests and Making My Own Path in Sri Lanka

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    Following My Interests and Making My Own Path in Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka probably seems like a little teardrop island off the coast of the enormous cultural and economic giant, India. But Sri Lanka itself is incredibly diverse; religiously, culturally, and ethnically.  Before leaving, I recognized that I needed to do work in languages to study Hinduism. I had taken Tamil before going to Sri Lanka…

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  • Skyping Home: Two World Collide

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    Skyping Home: Two World Collide

    When I walk through the gates of my host family’s home, I already feel comfortable and at ease. My ammaa Puja and I can sit and talk for hours; she tells me stories of her youth, her university days in Paris and the drama of her different boyfriends, how she knew she should marry my…

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  • The Guessing Game: Racial Identity Abroad

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    The Guessing Game: Racial Identity Abroad

    Just the other day, as I was walking down a main street in the center of Kandy, a shop keeper called out to me, “Hey Japanese!” When I was walking back to my host family’s home that same day, a security guard at an intersection near the home came up to me and asked if…

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  • Where Are You From? Understanding Microaggressions Abroad

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    Where Are You From? Understanding Microaggressions Abroad

    “Oyaage rata mokakda?” (What is your country / where are you from?) “Aemerikaawa,” we respond. “Ah…” Several moments pass and the kind stranger smiles at me. “Oyaage rata mokakda?” “Aemerikaawa,” I reiterate, “Namut mage pawula Japanwala.” (But my family is from Japan.) A conversation here often starts in this manner and continues with, “Ah, what a beautiful country,”…

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  • A Very Special Poya Day

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    A Very Special Poya Day

    October 15th in Sri Lanka was more than just another Saturday: for me and my family it was Poya Day, it was my amma’s birthday, and it was a day full of bonding and fun! (Just for reference, “amma” means mom, “akka” means older sister, and “tatta” means dad in Sinhala – these are my…

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