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6 Things You Hate About Sri Lanka But Miss When You're Away

Proof that absence does, indeed, make the heart grow fonder.

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Ah, Sri Lanka. The motherland. A paradise island. Home of beach cricket, palm trees, and hot hot kade paan. Where the weather is warm and road rules are merely suggestions. It simultaneously enchants and aggravates you. But then you find yourself away from the island for education/work/general gallivanting and suddenly those things you couldn't stand while you were in Sri Lanka seem almost appealing when you're away. From risking your life in a tuc to Sithila's aunt's dog's vet's cousin telling your parents she saw you with 'that boy' again, here's a list of Sri Lankanisms we love to hate.

1. Brutal Honesty

As Sri Lankan as overtaking from the left, telling it like it is is probably a requirement for citizenship. Whether it's an aunty telling you to 'go easy on the buffet child, your bundi has come out a bit' or your own mother telling you you'll never get a man 'dressed like that', Sri Lankans are stone cold savages. But it's only when you live abroad that you realise that beating around the bush is way overrated - you'd rather give it to someone straight and be spoken to just as truthfully. Thick skin is your greatest strength in Sri Lanka - our brutal honesty even made it on to Conan.

2. Pedestrians DGAF About Crossings

Driving is already not the greatest experience for me. I'm super nervous, super slow, and probably super late. As if that isn't already a recipe for disaster, pedestrians choose to cross the road every 2 yards regardless of whether or not there actually is a pedestrian crossing at that particular point. When you're in another country and try this exact manouvre, however, people stare and yell and point and you're left pining for the good old days when crossing the road was a simple choice between walking a few more metres or risking a minor injury. Hint: the latter usually wins.

 

3. Tuk Tuks

Fact: every time I get in a tuc I text my mum. I also wear nice underwear because if and (more likely) when I am sent flying out of a tuc and my body ends up in the newspapers, my vanity will be the only thing that won't die with me. When you say 'Horton Place, please', your tuc driver hears 'I immensely enjoy near-death experiences.' Trishaws are native to Southeast Asia, however, and nowhere outside of the region has a suitable alternative. And just like that, you find yourself missing the adrenaline rush and various pollutants in your hair, face and eyes.

 

4. Politics

Feel free to fight me on this, but no other country's politics has as much pure, unadulterated entertainment value as ours does. From fisticuffs breaking out in Parliament to a politician once tying a civil worker to a tree, Sri Lankan politics is in a league of it's own. Of course, living on the island and bearing the repurcussions of political gaffes may irritate you, but then you move away and realise how much you took for granted. Theresa May running through a wheat field has nothing on us.

 

5. Living With Your Parents

You truly never know a good thing until it's gone. The very same aspects of living at home that you despised previously become the ones you miss most when you're away. You having to eat whatever's on the tables means you don't have to cook. Your siblings constantly roasting you becomes an outlet for any repressed aggression. And a curfew means you can be tucked in with Netflix by 10pm, legs shaved and group chat on mute. Winning.

 

6. Gossip

Everyone knows the all-too-familiar feeling of walking into a family gathering and immediately feeling eyes on you. Instinctively, you look to your left and, sure enough, there's a gaggle of aunties staring you down and whispering fervently, stopping only to start in on someone else. No one likes a good goss like a Sri Lankan. Being the subject of said gossip isn't great, but when you live abroad and need to catch up on 6 months of gossip in 3 hours, Sri Lankans are nothing if not efficient. Where else will I get a physical reenactment of the huge fight my neighbours had with their daughter on the street because she eloped with a white guy?

 

Love it or hate it, Sri Lanka's got some things that you don't get anywhere else. So try to take full advantage of the country and all its eccentricities while you're here, because you're going to miss them all - yes, all - when you're away.

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