December the festive season for many. Where peace and harmony prevail and good will is shared amongst all. Hmm but not for all. For some it is the time where they wake up to an annual night mare. Where hoards of aliens invade their house and abuse the sense of hospitality which is ingrained in our culture.
Yes for those of you who are not part of the Sri Lankan culture I need to do a little explaining. 25% of our country?s population is overseas. Foreign Labor is one of our biggest exports. From maids to doctors to CEO?s you will find Sri Lankans in all corners of the world. And though Sri Lanka is a budhist nation most of them come back to their mother land for Christmas. In fact this has changed the social fabric of our island lifestyle. Just to give you one example there are more weddings in December than in June. And if you can find a car to rent for a short time in December that would be a miracle.
Anyway to get back to my story most of these people who come from abroad end up staying with a close relative instead of a hotel. And of course when someone from abroad comes down the family silver is taken out and everyone goes out of their way to treat these people in a special manner. It is well and good for the close relative. But if you are the main worker in the house it is a nightmare. Suddenly you have to be cooking for many more people who think that this is a hotel. And if the Sri Lankan from abroad (Sri Lankan(s) from Abroad!) comes with a foreign spouse in tow the troubles increase and if there are kids as well then all hell breaks loose. I know three people all ready who are tearing their hair out because of SLABs invading their houses. Of course I all these parties are the inlaws which means they are only indirectly related to the visitors.
For instance one person was lamenting that all the visitors and the people from home are leaving all the dishes in the sink for her to wash. Something one would never do if you were in the USA or UK. Well then to add to the misery this particular situation has a foreign wife and half bred kids. Which gives a whole load of trouble to the cook. For instance the man from abroad wants meals of traditional Sri Lankan spicey cooking which he cannot get his wife to cook. The wife who cannot for the life of her handle hot curry wants the food she is familiar with. And the kids they want to sample their fathers culture. But it has to be watered down for them and their little taste buds. So the cook has the responsibility of making three types of cooking for one meal. Well you can imagine how stressed out this person must be because she comes to work for rest and some peace and quiet. This is not an isolated incident I have another colleague in office going through virtually the same thing with another story. With a bossy brother in law and a crazy sister in law both siblings of her husband. Her sense of properness was shattered when the sister in law came to the toilet and started taking a piss right in front of her while she was washing something. Well guess these are the little gems of irritation which makes life memorable in retrospect. In other words tear your hair out now but smile fondly over the memories later. :) Wonder if this has ever happened to you?