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From Our Honeymoon to Touring the Motherland
We were greeted by a sloppy dude who turned out to be the owner when we arrived at The Blue Eyes Inn. He said our room was not yet vacated so we would get a different room and a discount for the inconvenience. After seven too many apologies, it was clear that he was not in his right state of mind. We were escorted to our room by a staff member; going up narrow stairs with peeling paint and the entire place echoed with birds chirping and children laughing somewhere distance. The hotel staff that escorted us said that today was the first day the owner had drank in eight months and apologized on his behalf.When we walked into the room, I tried to hold in my panic but with every word I spoke, I began to crack. I don’t know if I can stay here. I don’t think I’m cool enough to not overthink this. We were basically in a closet. The bed took most of the room and bore baby pink bed-sheets that lost its luster. On the bed was a stiff towel that was origami’d into a swan.
There was a mosquito net for the bed.
That's how you know.
Everything was worn and not all quite clean-looking. This a nightmare for someone like me with a type of OCD that deters me from staying in anything old. I’d rather stay at a new Hilton Garden Inn than a famously historic or boutique hotel.
I remember unraveling. Why this place? Why wasn’t I warned we’d be staying here? I was upset, tired, and most of all: not mentally prepared to stay where we were staying for the next two nights.
“Okay, I’m sorry but I don’t know if we can stay here. I’m not cut out for this” I said.
This was a low moment for me and as I’m looking back at this months later, I’m not proud of my freak out... but I am glad it happened. It pushed me to figure out where I failed myself. I never studied abroad, I never go camping, I love to eat local but I never stay local, and I certainly don't make do with just one backpack.
My husband booked this place and everything was intentional. We needed to somewhere like The Blue Eyes Inn. This is where backpackers come stay for weeks and truly experience Unawatana and Galle. Unlike me, he's backpacked, stayed at an array of hostels, and "roughed it out". To me, backpacking was a glittery concept where all I could imagine was the scenery in front of me and not the background it took for me to get there.
What made this extra hard was where we were few days prior. We had just gotten back from the most beautiful place on earth for our honeymoon.It’s the honeymoon you see on your Instagram explore page with the white sand, perfect shades of blue, coral, and happy people. We already had to be in Sri Lanka for probably our 7th wedding event so if Maldives wasn’t a 45 minute flight from Colombo, I wouldn't recommend going all the way there when Bora Bora or Hawaii is much closer for that "luxury vacay" experience.
After months of wedding stress, several events, seven flights, and a boat ride, we arrived to Angsana Ihuru.
Maldives was perfection but perfection can be unsustainable (mostly financially but also spiritually). We needed to be tourists after a week of just vacationing. However, the transition from vacationing to touring is a change in perception that has to consciously happen.
Everything is perspective for me. If I’m vacationing, my objective is pure leisure. Lots of snacking, laying around, reading, and tuning out of life. If I’m touring, I’m up for anything. I want to mindfully experience my surrounding, discover, and fully engage.
Vacation Mode 10pm: I can barely muster up the energy to order a second dessert.
Tourist Mode 10pm: Change for dinner and a stroll on the beach after a full day of hiking.
What my initial breakdown came down to was a failure to change my perspective. A few hours later, I came to terms with that closet. It was just for sleeping. Why was I really there? To experience as much as I can. After we walked around the local shops, ate fresh fish on the beach, and experienced a rare moment of a tortoise giving birth, I was unfazed by the leaky faucets and worn curtains during my shower at The Blue Eyes Inn.
Galle and Unawatana
End Note: Using the word husband is so awkward. While "wife" gets to be a smooth, one-syllabus word, "husband" falls out like a word going through puberty. However, my huz-band is authorized to draft divorce papers if I ever refer to him as hubby so huz-band it is.