Learning to assimilate
Q: You have travelled to Sri Lanka and lived here from time to time in recent years. In a nutshell, how would you describe your experience in this country?
A: I returned to Sri Lanka after decades of living in the US. It’s quite fulfilling as I have an opportunity to engage with different groups of people.
Q: As for Sri Lankans, how would you describe them in the context of the past and present?
A: We Sri Lankans have always been simple and friendly. This is still the same – even though the country has been through many challenges and development since I left its shores, the warmth of the people hasn’t changed.
It is absolutely heartwarming and welcoming for me to visit Sri Lanka.
Q: How have you found the transition to life in the US compared to living permanently in Sri Lanka?
A: In a general sense, any transition is always daunting – but ultimately, it’s up to the individual to assimilate to the norms of the culture that prevails wherever he or she relocates to.
In both the United States and Sri Lanka, the transition has been welcoming.
Q: What are your favourite Sri Lankan traditions or cultural practices that you continue to practise while living in America?
A: The one thing that we always did – and I still try to do when I’m with my children – is to cook milk rice (kiribath) on the first day of every month.
Q: Are there any Sri Lankan or South Asian community events you participate in (or recommend) in your city – and if so, could you name a few?
A: In the part of Pennsylvania that I live, there are only a few Sri Lankans.
For Pongal and Diwali therefore, there are usually gatherings for the South Asian community as a whole, which I often attend.
Any transition is always daunting – but ultimately, it’s up to the individual to assimilate