Tara Nanayakkara

A Holiday Saga in Two Parts

A holiday saga in two parts. That is the only way I can view our upcoming trip to Sri Lanka. For my husband and children, this will be a vacation like none other as this will be the first time they will be leaving North America to venture seemingly to parts unknown. For me the narrative of our journey has a bit of a surreal twist. You see it is not only my first visit back to the land of my birth in 31 years but my first visit back since my marriage — the first one that is. Why do I feel like I’m playing myself in two pivotal scenes from the same movie, circa 1988, me, young, naive and unsure. Now zoom ahead three decades. I know myself so much better now. I know what I want and what I don’t want. How do I reconcile the young Tara with the Tara I’ve become? Someone told me that I would find this foray to my homeland a transformative experience. Will I? Or, will I be lost in a quagmire of memories, both good and bad. Will I feel lonely for the aunts and cousins who have faded into the sunset of time? Will I long for the innocence and optimism of an era that can only live in celluloid and the far reaches of distant memories? Moments spent with relatives seen only on rare visits to the motherland will now be juxtapositioned with moments starring a new cast of characters, a loving new husband and two nearly grown children who are about to meet their heritage face to face. I will now view this island nation through the lens of my family as they touch down on its pearly white sandy shores.