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Grateful for the gifts of each day

Once again, I will try to share with you some of my Sri Lankan experience. I arrived on Oct. 3 for what seemed like a long stint, until March 19. But the days have gently slipped by, and I have only a few more weeks with my loving sisters in this small village on this beautiful island.

Buddha at Polonnaruwa

Buddha at Polonnaruwa

A shrine at Polon.

A shrine at Polon.

Two former colleagues of mine from Eastern Illinois University, both on sabbatical, decided to come to Sri Lanka to visit me and to see the sights. What lured them here, other than seeing me, of course, was the fact that Sri Lanka is one of the most biodiverse small countries in the world. It has mountains, hills, plains, seashore, and even a rainforest. Exotic animals abound. Add to this that it has multiple sites with preserved ancient ruins dating back to 200 BCE.

My friends arrived on Friday the 13th and and spent their first night here as guests of some parishioners. On Feb. 14, we began a five-day trek to the north to visit Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa. Each town offered ruins from early kingdoms or monasteries. Stupas that once rivaled the pyramids in size, foundations of an extensive monastery, huge Buddhas carved from granite and others painted on the inside of caves, all of this was there to amaze us.

I took this photo of the Galle shore, a southern shore on the island.

I took this photo of the Galle shore, a southern shore on the island.

Caves at Dambulla.

Caves at Dambulla.

We walked, climbed, and gazed, almost always in the hot sun. To enter into the area around any of the shrines, one had to remove shoes and hat, which meant that one was even more vulnerable to the blazing sun and the hot paving stones and sand that surrounded the shrines. At the end of each day, we were exhausted but grateful for its gifts. Not only had we been in touch with ancient cultures, but we had also experienced, countless times, the kindness of helpful Sri Lankans.

I am sharing just a few pictures. You can find many more with a simple web search. Are you considering a trip to Asia? I suggest that you consider Sri Lanka. And just in case ruins aren’t your thing, I am including one picture of the sunset over the Indian Ocean that I took a few weeks ago on a one-day trip to the southern coast.

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Sister Rosemary Schmalz

Sister Rosemary ministered 38 years teaching mathematics and training future teachers of mathematics. After retiring from this ministry, she served as General Secretary for seven years. Currently, she updates the Congregation's member database, serves when needed at Linden Leaf Gifts, experiments with vegan recipes, and dabbles in art.

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  1. Carol Nolan on February 25, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks so much, Rosie! The photos are beautiful. We’ll be praying for your safe return. XXX

  2. Janice Smith on February 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Rosemary, what interesting sites and beautiful pics. Such an experience you are having. And now it seems all too soon that you will be returning. Enjoy your remaining time.
    Blessings of Lent,

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