We woke up around 8:30 and went down to the lobby of Mirissa Beach Inn for breakfast.
The staff brought out a big plate of toast, some hoppers (string and normal), daal, onion sambol, fruit platters, jam, butter, tea, and coffee. Man, what a FEAST. I ate most of the string hoppers with daal and sambol, plus the normal hoppers and the fruit. Everything was delicious, as per usual.
I wanted to check out the coconut hill, which was recommended to me by someone on IG. We walked over, and it was just a small hill filled with palm trees. It wasn’t that special, but a good place for taking photos.
Next to the hill was turtle bay, known for its sea turtles. As Adrian and I were hanging out on the hill, we heard someone whistle to us. A local guy was below by the water and had spotted a sea turtle and was pointing it out to us. I got so excited— a real, wild sea turtle! I quickly made my way to the bottom so I could get a closer look.
We spent the next 20 minutes just staring out at the water. First there was one turtle, and then we started spotting more. In the end, we saw 3 or 4. It was so cool!
We were getting hungry, so we went to the same restaurant that we ate at the day before for lunch. I got rice and curry again, and Adrian got biryani.
Some of the curries were different this time— I got green bean, pumpkin, daal, spinach, and coconut sambol. All of them were really delicious.
We went to the beach to climb up a big rock island that we had spotted yesterday. It was a bit tricky getting there, since you had to wade through a bit of the ocean to get to it. The tide was really crazy, so we got pushed around by the waves a lot as we tried our best not to fall over.
Once we got to the rock, however, we realized it was completely taken over by crows and was not very peaceful. The crows were just swarming the whole place, making it impossible to sit and chill. So we climbed back down and went back to the hotel.
We got changed and then took the tuk-tuk around town a bit. We had seen some coconut farms on the map, so we wanted to check them out. It was a short ride, but it was nice to see the quieter, more rural parts of town.
At 3:30, I left to go to my yoga class at Rukshan Yoga. I wanted Adrian to come too, but he was too scared since he’s never done yoga before.
When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by the instructor, Rukshan. It was just him and his student, who was getting his yoga teaching certification, there. Rukshan and I chatted for a bit about where I’m from, how often I do yoga, what my favorite type of yoga is, etc. Then he decided that he would have his student start the lesson a bit early to give him some teaching practice and to warm me up.
The student made me do some sort of Sankrit or Hindu mantra in the very beginning. That was awkward. He’d say one line, then I’d repeat, and he’d say the next line, and I’d repeat. But I had NO idea what he was saying, so I was probably repeating it back completely wrong. Plus, my voice is horrendous, so it just sounded horrible. And I was the only one there, so there was no where to hide. Ugh, I was so uncomfortable.
After that, things got more normal. We did some asanas (poses), like tree pose and triangle pose, plus a couple sun salutations. In between, we’d do some cardio bursts like high knees, butt kicks, and jumping jacks.
After our little warm up, we drank a cup of tea together. Rukshan explained how the rest of the lesson would go— the student would continue to teach me for a bit longer, and then later on the instructor would review what we learned and make corrections. Then after that, he would take the poses that we went over and make a vinyasa sequence out of them. It sounded good to me— like a nice little loop between the beginner (me) being taught by a student teacher, and then the student also being taught by the master (Rukshan), who is also teaching me.
We did a bunch more poses and more short cardio bursts. Rukshan fixed my form on a lot of the poses, which was nice. I feel like my technique got a lot better.
When the vinyasa part came, he first taught us how to breathe. He showed us the pranayama style, which comes from hatha yoga. You breathe from your nose, but you make a sound with your throat. It’s a bit hard to explain, but it’s supposed to help control your breath and make the poses more powerful.
He showed us the vinyasa sequence once, and then had us do it on our own the rest of the time. I was a bit overwhelmed— I did not have it memorized after just one round, so I relied on the student teacher to lead. I don’t think he really remembered either, though. So we ended up just making up our own kind of sequence, using all the poses the teacher included but in a different order.
We ended the lesson with some more advanced partner poses and meditation. The mosquitoes were attacking me during the meditation/savasana (the final relaxation pose where you just lie down) part, so I couldn’t really concentrate.
After class, Rukshan invited me for another cup of tea.
He showed me the traditional Sri Lankan way of drinking tea. First you put some sugar in the palm of your left hand. After every sip of tea, you lick a bit of the sugar from your hand. It’s supposed to be a more mindful way of drinking tea, since you’re aware of all the flavors and textures of what you are consuming.
I tried it myself, and it was really amazing. I never really have sugar just plain on its own, so I never thought about what it tastes like. It is way less sweet than I would have thought. And it was kind of fun to bite down and chew on the little crystals. Definitely a good mindfulness practice.
I walked home and took a shower. When I got out of the bathroom, I found Adrian on his hands and knees, trying to cut open a coconut with his tiny Swiss army knife. He told me that while I was at yoga, he went all around town trying to find me flowers, or some vegan dark chocolate, or vegan baked goods for my birthday, but failed. So he bought some coconuts instead. And didn’t realize how hard it would be to open without a machete.
It was so cute! Eventually, he managed to poke a hole in the coconut and we drank them together on our little balcony.
We hung out in the hotel until we were hungry, and then walked to the beach to find a restaurant for dinner.
All the beach restaurants looked exactly the same— same tables, same menu, same candles— so we sat down at whatever one we felt like and looked over the menu. I got vegetable roti, but I had no idea what it was. It could just be some plain bread, maybe with some veggies on the side, maybe the veggies are baked into the bread… I really didn’t know what to expect.
When it came out, it was like a calzone sans cheese. It was actually really good! In between two huge pieces of baked roti were sautéed onions and carrots. I loved it.
We had a beer and a gin and tonic and then went back to our hotel. We sat on the balcony and chatted until midnight, when it was officially my birthday. I’m no longer 24! Officially a quarter-century year old. I still feel 20, though.
But 24 was an amazing year. I got to do so many incredible things, and I got to live utterly independently and fearlessly. I made so many new friends and saw so many beautiful places. 24 has always been my lucky number, so its no surprise that it was a great year. I can only hope that 25 will be just as good.