Gift idea for a colleague moving to Sri Lanka to teach
November 10, 2014 4:56 AM   Subscribe

A colleague/friend has accepted a job offer to move his life to Colombo, Sri Lanka (for a couple years at least). Can you suggest a farewell gift that might be useful to him in this move?

I'm assuming he'll be travelling light and put all his belongings here (the Netherlands) in storage, so maybe suggestions more along the lines of great books that might give him an idea of what life is like there, or guide him through this cultural switch.
Other small/unobtrusive gift suggestions are also welcome...
He's a product designer by trade if that helps.

posted by PardonMyFrench to Travel & Transportation around Sri Lanka (4 answers total)
Whatever else you end up giving him, don't send him off without a Point-it Traveller's Language Kit. It's small and may save his life.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:57 AM on November 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I work in education in Ethiopia. Moved here after traveling around with 7kg of belongings... I most enjoy and use my Kindle. It is hard to travel with a lot of books, yet I have a thousand loaded up beside me.

A friend recently in the US picked up a 128gb flash drive which is handy. You could load it with movies and LP guides (I can mail you PDFs).

My other treasured asset is nearly 400 photos I printed and arranged on hallway walls. Printed them in India for about 16 prints per euro, though I expect Sri Lanka will be more costly. You could also make a photo book- he will enjoy visiting and sharing the memories.

I also make good use of solar lamps.
posted by maya at 8:24 AM on November 10, 2014

Best answer: Lucky guy! Sri Lanka is a beautiful, friendly country and I'm sure he'll have a blast.

I spent most of my trip in more rural areas, only passing through Colombo briefly. The impression I got of Colombo is that the centre is pretty cosmopolitan - high rise buildings, internet cafe's etc so he might be okay technology-wise. I think digital books or movies are a good idea though.

Another few observations about the country:

- Sri Lankans love cricket. When discussing where I was from, mentioning the nearest cricket stadium was a good lingua franca
- When it rains, it rains! Emergency poncho?
- Food literally grows out of the ground at the roadside. Maybe some sort of Sri Lankan cookbook to take advantage of this amazing bounty?
- How's he getting around? Bikes are ubiquitous, as is beeping all the time. A bike horn maybe?
- I was told they get power cuts quite a bit, and street lights are nonexistent (not sure about in Colombo). Many houses/shops don't have much in the way of electric light compared to us, so it gets very dark in the evenings. Seconding a solar lamp or wind-up lamp.
posted by cardamine at 9:14 AM on November 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

An IOU to mail him a package around the six month mark... And follow through. I'm sure at that point some small comforts from home would be a big hit. Contact him first and see what he can't get and is missing. :)
A nice newsy letter is always good too.

Long term having someone responsible offer to receive and forward packages is a god send. I (and likely he) - would be happy to reimburse this person for postage.
posted by jrobin276 at 11:49 AM on November 10, 2014

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