How to Take a Piece of Sri Lanka When You Move Abroad.

For those that forsake our motherland for the bigger brighter West, those that burst out of the tropical bubble and fly away to that far-off somewhere, suddenly find themselves, amidst all the shiny new lights, huddling in a corner of their freezing foreign apartment or dorm room desperately and ardently longing for home.

You could collect enough of your tears to replicate a mini ocean, or talk to yourself in your rapidly breaking sinhala to try and keep some semblance of the island alive but soon you realise more concrete measures are necessary. 

So here’s a handy shopping list gathered from all the exiles I know.

Spices

Photo from SL Business

Spices are a great conductor of heat. You need your curry powder mixes: thunapaha and amu thunapaha. Mustard seeds are a must. And for the love of Lanka, cinnamon sticks. Only our island can do cinnamon right.

The Jars

Photo from Chicago Reader

Mango chutney, Seeni sambol, Chillie paste, lime pickle… as many jars as you can cram into your suitcase, they make any meal interesting.

Milo

Photo from Nestle

Either powder or the packets. Seems like a strange luxury, but some can’t live without the stuff.

Coconut spoons

Everything tastes better out of a coconut spoon.

Frozen lamprais

Or any kind of frozen bath packet. This was a special case of one determined individual, with high risk of food going terribly bad or a confiscation at customs. That’s why thambili and any of the other awesome fruits and vegetables don’t make it on this list. They must remain in your dreams.

Love cake

Gooey oozy sickly sweet crunch in a neat 4 x 6” box. Its when you can’t be bothered to cook and the munchies set in.

COCONUT SHAKTI

Or Arrack. The local alcoholic elixir, that will warm your belly in the winter, get some of the tropical madness flowing in your veins again.

Bedsheets

Also weird, but I had a friend who took the bedsheets he’d had all his life, with him to uni. They smell like musty moth balls and Sunlight washing powder.

Bedcovers, sheets, pillowcases, there is something to be said for having that soft familiar fabric around you.

Sarong

Photo from Barefoot

One of the comfiest most functional pieces of fabric ever. In Sri Lanka, its cool and breezy, and over there it wraps like a blanket for home time chilling or a bathrobe after your steamy shower.

Decor

Always a favourite is pinning up our proud lion;  a Lankan flag and/or map. Or one of those retro posters from Barefoot. Any barefoot product really, even if barefoot isn’t your thing there’s a weird colourful comfort in carrying all your pens in one of their cases to your lecture hall.

Matches

Sooriya Gini Petti. They are explosive, temperamental and often inefficient, but that spark is warming when all your lighters fall apart and you just want to sit in candlelight. (ED WARNING : Do not ever take sparklers, even in your check-in luggage. Getting frog marched to a holding room to explain the gunpowder residue in your luggage is not pleasant. Even if it makes for great cocktail conversation.)

 

The thing about all these items is that they are random and eclectic, unnecessary for some and absolutely vital for others. My own collection is in there and the rest I’ve gathered from the stories of others. They all contain a little bit of home though, some of the warmth, the spice, the flair, the familiarity.

What do you take with you?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Highlights.

Latest.

KAMU.

The Fusion Kottu at Eastern Wok

By Hiruni Herath Hot Butter Kottu - that’s not something you hear everyday but at

Highlights Kamu

More than Coffee – Kaffi Colombo

By Hiruni Herath Ambience and Service The Nordic Bakery and Coffee House located at Crescat

Highlights Kamu

7 Restaurants to dine in July 2022

By Shamrina Carim July hits a beautiful urge to try out different foods, events and

Highlights Kamu Yamu Guide

Hot Chook – all about that Chicken

By Hiruni Herath Service and Ambience The head chef at Hot Chook was very helpful

Highlights Kamu

A glistening night out at Colombo’s finest local bar!

By Shamrina Carim A Sri Lankan experiencing the magical inspiration of Sri Lanka in the

Kamu

Ceylon Curry Club – Sri Lankan Cuisine With a Twist

By Janani Vithanage Ceylon Curry Club, located in the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, is a

Kamu

Trending.

Types of People at the Cinema

By Rahma Rifkhan Think of your most noteworthy cinema experience: Loud and exciting with just

Highlights Trending

From the Garden to your Skin 

By Menaka Indrakumar  Iris Garden is a brand which started five years ago, with Fuller’s

Trending

Bullet Train – movie review

Bullet train is as the name suggest is a fast-paced action movie. Directed by David

Trending

Stay healthy & refreshed With KiCO

By Janani Vithanage Boasting over 100 years of trusted excellence, the journey of Silvermill Group

Highlights Trending

5 Reasons why you need to check out Wild Culture Yala

If you are that Wildlife lover who loves being in the wild and looking to

Highlights Trending

Waves Bologoda

SINGHE's Wave Bolgoda, which launched in January 2021, The venue was initially established by lecturer

Trending

Yamu Guide.

8 Hotels That Offer Transport – 2022

Sometimes arranging for transport when you’re on vacation is the last thing that you want

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Instagrammable restaurants to dine in August 2022

By Hiruni Herath We’re always looking for the perfect spot that is a mix of

Highlights Yamu Guide

5 Places to get Gift Hampers – 2022

By RR Gift hampers have been around for quite a bit but they’ve suddenly become

Highlights Yamu Guide

8 FAQ’s on fuel QR Code system

Sri Lanka introduced the Fuel Pass QR code system in full force from today (1st

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Tips to Ensure Safe Cycling

Cycling on roads full of traffic due to petrol queues can be scary. Here are

Highlights Yamu Guide

6 Cycling Accessories You Need

By Janani Vithanage With the fuel crisis still wreaking havoc in everyone’s lives, a new

Highlights Yamu Guide