Why the extra thirty minutes?
Just one of many things one can ponder at three in the morning.
As usual, I make us coffee in our hotel room. Usually we wait until about 5 a.m. Maybe Daddy will do a Sudoku or text Mama. I’ll try to sleep or read. Forget those little packets of Nescafe. We want to sample the local coffee. Yes, yes, Sri Lanka—formerly Ceylon—is rightfully famous for tea, but Daddy is a coffee guy.
We’ve had a French press at the other hotels. But here at Ulagalla Resort there is a little pot that can be used for either tea or coffee. You pour the coffee into the central vat and the hot water—from one of those ubiquitous water boilers—swirls around to steep it. I had to call the front desk for directions.
Milk for my coffee comes from comes from the shelf-stable UHT box—like a juice box. And I dig a bit in the suitcase, I think I’ve still got…Yes!
There are still a few of the dried nectarines I brought from the farmer’s market in Manhattan Beach.
A couple hours yet until real breakfast, but in the meantime, we drink our coffee and chat.
“I remember the very first time I drank coffee,” said Daddy, “was when my grandmother was dying.”
“Really!” I’ve never heard this before. Daddy had thought his grandmother was “just sick”, if she could just eat something she would be fine. But in fact she had cancer and was not fine at all.
We have been in Sri Lanka for a week visiting schools and libraries and homes, and today we are finally going to visit the new school building named in honor of him and his parents. Daddy is generally chatty–no surprise he was his senior class president–but not on emotional topics. The circumstances of our visit here and “our school” has clearly turned him in a sentimental direction. “How old were you when your grandmother died?”
He pauses to do the math. “Maybe eleven?
“It was late at night and hard to stay awake sitting by my grandmother with Mom and my uncles. So one of the uncles gave me some coffee to help me stay awake.”
He’s awake now.
A year of planning, 4 months and 10 days of building, one new library, two new classrooms, and today is the big day.