Cards and Christmas carols
Once again, I send you news of Sri Lankan adventure. My days remain fairly routine, but interesting things emerge fairly often.
For example, a number of weeks ago, I mentioned to the novices that I brought decks of cards with me. One night they asked to borrow them. I offered to join them and found out that ONE of them knew ONE game, kind of a four handed version of War. The others didn’t know the suits, the order of jack, queen, king, etc. So after we played a few hands of War, I taught them Crazy Eights.
Sister Nirmala, the young professed, knew two games and taught those. Playing cards has become the weekend entertainment. Last week, I found an old UNO deck in the cupboard. Though I have always considered it a “dumb game,” I taught it to them and they had a ball. I finally left the group (one hour of UNO is my limit!) and retired to my room, but I continued to hear shrieks of joy coming from the card room.
Another added diversion
As I have mentioned, Sister Chamila teaches at the public school next door. Though most of the students are Buddhist, the school honors all traditions and so there was a Christmas play on Dec 3. She asked if I would teach a group an English carol and I heartily agreed. She chose something I didn’t know well — “Long time ago in Bethlehem.” She said that this carol is sung here in Sinhala. So to date, we have had three practices, the last one of which was in the school hall. I was delighted to get to see the school. We might consider it a little drab with its cement floors and concrete walls but all in all, it was a totally adequate facility. I got to visit the primary classes before I left. They were all busy with arts and crafts. There was some great childen’s art both on the walls and on their desks. I was impressed.
I am happy to say that “cool” weather (probably down to 65 at night) seems to have come. However, it is still incredibly humid. I have actually gone out three afternoons to walk in the neighborhood, a warren of winding, one-lane, paved roads. I have to pay attention to where I turn so that I can get back.
As I expected, there was no awareness here of the Thanksgiving holiday. I decided not to mention it and didn’t find it difficult just to follow the usual schedule. There were a few nice surprises that day. At lunch, the novices served a tasty watermelon for dessert. We don’t usually have dessert. And at afternoon tea, a cake appeared from some outside source. I felt blessed by a provident God.
So Advent has arrived. There is a lovely Advent wreath in the chapel and another in the church. To my surprise, the novices don’t know “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The prominent Advent song here seems to be “O Come, Divine Messiah,” which they sing quite slowly. I taught the novices “Stay Awake, Be Ready,” a children’s Advent song that includes some clapping. I invite you to look it up and make a joyful noise.
Indeed our God is here. My prayer is that we all continue to awaken to the inbreaking of the divine in creation!