Tara Nanayakkara

Roots Run Deep

As a child of immigrant parents, I feel a lack of connection to my roots — roots that run deep in a country as old as the hills. Coming to Sri Lanka has reacquainted me with the sense of belonging I find lacking in my adopted country. Canada is my home, my world, but Sri Lanka is what my soul understands. And no I can’t speak the language, much to my regret. As the story goes I was just as fluent in my native Sinhala as I was in English but somehow the former language was dropped along the way. Time and circumstance had a part to play. You can take the girl out of Sri Lanka but you can’t take Sri Lanka out of the girl. It’s who I am. It’s in my DNA. It’s in the iron rich soil of my ancestry, it’s in the tropical birdsong and the beeping horns, it’s in the rice and curry and it’s in the fact that my mother taught for twenty years at the esteemed private girls school Ladies College. I might not be a fifth generation Canadian with grandparents who owned a cottage in Muskoka, but I am an Nth generation Sri Lankan who loves the rituals and traditions that define life in Canada, shifting seasons, falling leaves, thanksgiving dinner...