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Climbing in the Bathroom Window

January 29, 2008

 Helen – yesterday Tom left me home alone while he went to work. I really thought I would have nothing to write about except something about his first presentation later in the day.  However, after he left for work I decided to walk the beach by myself.  I locked the front door, the kitchen door, and then closed the bi-doors at the back of the house toward the beach because the grounds keeper was working in the yard.  Off I go, finishing up the first lap when I meet two male students from the university.  We stop to talk, they have just finished running and I tell them about Tom’s presentation at 4:15.  They think that they will be able to come and we go our separate ways…I continue toward one of the headlands and they in the opposite direction.  As I get closer to the rocks, I hear them behind me calling me to stop.  I turn around and they say don’t go past the rocks as it is unsafe by yourself.  Some of the people there are not so nice.  I thank them and decide maybe I will not do the second lap and walk toward home with them (the road runs alongside our house).

This is a picture of our beach from the east headland to the west headland

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 Local villager fishing

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I get home and go to open the patio door and find it is locked…the bottom locks connected when I slammed the doors closed.  Darn!!!  Lucky for me I left one bathroom window open (which I am not supposed to do, in fact, I am supposed to lock everything up and take the key, oops!).  I had to move a potted tree out of my way, and then climb in headfirst while the other prickly plant ate me alive.  The toilet was in my way but I managed. After I got in, I went back outside to replace the plant so the grounds keeper wouldn’t know what I did (we can’t communicate anyway) but as I replaced the plant the planter broke and now the plant and dirt were everywhere.  The keeper comes around and wonders what I did; I look around for another planter, can’t find one but come back with a blue plastic tub.  I try to put the plant in and then look for dirt (all I can find is sand)…meanwhile he replants the plant in double plastic bags, replaces the tub and shakes his head at me.

I finished the sweater I was knitting and started my first cross stitch project.  I can only do it outside because the light inside isn’t very good and the linen is a 28 count which I am doing in one thread over one thread.  It says “season’s greetings” so I have lots of time to finish it.

Tom came home for lunch (left over pasta salad) and then we got ready to go back for his presentation.  The presentation was in the library conference room (tiny, dark, and crowded).  The flyer said starts at 4:00 but in reality, it meant 4:30 and he had the Vice Chancellor (head of the university), the PE staff, a few faculty and about 30 students attend.  He never did get his power point presentation from Wittenberg so did a whole new one over the weekend.  It was well done using his computer to show the PowerPoint as he explained it. They don’t understand the American accent too well but they could read it all on his slides.  He also had a marker board (pretty marked up until Kanthi brought the cleaner fluid and I got some extra paper and cleaned it).  The man in charge of the room was supposed to have cleaned the board after Tom checked the room in the afternoon.  Of course he didn’t and he was of no help before the presentation started.  In fact Tom said the projector he had set up in the afternoon was so bad that Kanthi had to bring one from the Physics department.  After the presentation, Kanthi and her husband Darme came back to the house for drinks on the beach patio until the sun set.

This meant that we couldn’t go out for dinner (Tom is still hesitant with the glare from headlights on his new lens after the cataract surgery), so I reheated the rice from a couple of days ago, added some butternut squash and beans (not quite Caribbean rice) and were just happy that we didn’t have to go out and it wasn’t spicy.

Tom’s three boxes, which he sent two weeks before we left through the U.S. diplomatic pouch, had finally arrived at the Fulbright office in Colombo.  He was told that he had to pick them up (5 hour drive one-way!) or perhaps someone we knew was making a trip to Matara.  Lucky for us that Renata, the wife of the hotel owner from next door, went to Colombo yesterday for errands.  Her husband Bobby came to our house and called her on the phone and she was able to pick them up for us…It was like Christmas opening up the boxes of books and professional materials we needed.

Today Tom taught his first faculty course, 3 hours but he covered about 1 hour’s worth of his class material.  Five faculty were there: Sarath (department Chair), Hewaruba (H.R.), Palitha (Pali), Desil (Sunny), and the only female Vinitha (Vini).  An assistant, Ghana, is also around.  He said he had to speak slowly; they are used to British English.  Also, he said he included information and anecdotes that are not normally part of his lecture because of their interest and questions.  He presented in a section of the locker room that was cleaned up and set up with three tables, chairs and a marker board.  No AC, no computer connection, in fact no fan!!  They had a tea break about an hour into the session and brought a fan because Tom was dripping with sweat.  I was working on my Fitness Walking class during this time.  We went home for lunch and then returned for me to work on the computer while he worked in the weight room for tomorrow’s presentation.

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