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So far thilini has created 6 entries.

Brimming with “I Know’s,” “But’s” and “Because’s”

The following is a blog written by Thilini Weerakkody

It’s 7:58pm and I am sitting in my warm and comfy bed, my stomach and legs shielded from the cold air. I am re-reading this year’s journal entries once again because I like how my mind’s experiences sound written out. Does that seem narcissistic? Probably, but it’s true. It’s just nice to have words that totally encompass whatever emotions or thoughts which ran through my head during a particular moment. You can find the same satisfying connection in other people’s writing, but you have to actively look to have your worlds align.

As I skim through all of the Gap Year experiences I’ve had, I think about how few there are left. Currently, I am in my last placement: a small, mountainous village with just 8 people, where I am WWOOFing. Afterwards, I am traveling a week alone in Greece. Then, I […]

By |April 14th, 2017|Gappers in the Field|

The Ghost of Rukmani Devi Mawatha Road

I have been in Sri Lanka for about a month now, and I love it here. Each day, I’ve collected fascinating stories, read a mass of books, and eaten delicious food. I absolutely adore everyone I am living with so I’ve enjoyed many amusing evenings of laughs and conversations.

Also, the work I’ve done has been incredibly interesting. I initially shadowed doctors at the Negombo District Hospital, alternating through wards such as the mental health, occupational therapy, and rheumatology while learning about the health system in Sri Lanka as a whole. Currently, I am working with the regional epidemiologist of the area, the Auntie I am staying with, and we have been traveling around, checking different critical dengue sites. Furthermore, it’s been an emotional but pleasant experience reacquainting with extended family after so many years.

In addition to my work and spending time with family and friends, I’ve had a great […]

By |October 31st, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

Loneliness Leave Me Alone

The following is a blog written by Thilini Weerakkody

I am introverted so, when discussing situational preferences, I usually state that I love isolation—and for the majority of my life that has proven true. I have always thought loneliness to be an unassuming, soothing presence, but when living alone in a foreign country, I’ve found solitude makes a more sinister company.

Without a support system and people to connect to while abroad, loneliness wears new clothes of fear and unease, making it unrecognizable to me as someone whose idealized being alone most of her life.  When I first made my transition from Negombo, where I was safe and loved, to Galle I felt that loss. The first day I arrived in Galle, the entire city was dreary and drenched in hard, violent rain, but as I took in the scene, I simply felt excited for what my life for the next […]

By |October 20th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

How to be Happy

The following is a blog written by Thilini Weerakkody

It’s 10:08 am and I am squished inside the back of a three-wheeler with two of my co-workers. We’re driving to our next home visit location to collect samples of the mother, their babies, the soil and the water. My coworkers are chatting, but I’ve lost their trail of conversation because I am wrapped up in the moving scene in front of me and the recognition that I am not in America.

It’s easy to forget that I am in a foreign country because the language and the people are so familiar to me in Sri Lanka, but as I sit here, staring out at the quickly shifting image of a beautiful, green tea plantation covering the mountainside and a giant brown cow accompanied by a thin, white crane feeding in a nearby paddy field, I can see how different this […]

By |October 15th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

Or Rectal Swabs and Other Wonderful Things

The following is a blog written by Thilini Weerakkody.

Some people may regard spending their days collecting rectal samples and working in a lab disgusting and tedious, but I think it’s fabulous.

Every morning, I get on the crowded Karapitya-Galle bus to make my way over to Mahamodara Hospitals. After a quick hello to all the guards at the gate, who I became acquainted when I was hopelessly lost with a dead phone, I walk over to Ward 5 to begin sample collection.

To be honest, sample collection is a rather monotonous and repetitive affair. I do a lot of sitting around, organizing and writing, but I don’t mind—it’s relaxing and an opportune time to ponder the deep complexities of life while listening to Taylor Swift songs. I don’t just laze around in chairs stacking documents though, a considerable amount of my time is spent weaving through the ward helping collect the […]

By |October 1st, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

The Unplanned Progress at the Planning Sessions

One of my favorite parts of the GGYF Summer Intensive were the planning sessions. Yes, Chapelthrill, an extensive scavenger hunt through Chapel Hill, was exhilarating. Yes, navigating through the IDI, an assessment of one’s intercultural development, was fascinating. For sure, the late night dance parties with my GGYF family were comical, but, in my opinion, the gap year planning sessions held the most genuine moments.

During our planning sessions, we would all scatter around the CUBE, the highest room in the Campus Y Building. Each of us would set up our laptops, prop up our feet, put in our headphones, and diligently begin working on the seemingly impossible task of planning our gap years. The sessions were always void of any noise except the sounds of fingers furiously tapping on keyboards. To me, the silence was a signifier of how hard we were working, how much there was to be done, and […]