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Zu Besuch bei podi kade in Mirissa/Sri Lanka

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Eine meiner liebsten Freundinnen (Julia) ist nach einem gemeinsamen Urlaub in Sri Lanka mehr oder weniger einfach da geblieben. Mittlerweile hat sie einen süßen kleinen Laden mit selbstgemachtem Schmuck und Dekoschildern aus Treibholz und anderen schönen Reise-Mitbringseln. Daher gibt es heute mal die etwas andere “Zu Besuch bei…”-Geschichte. Wir haben über Skype ein kleines Interview gemacht. Aber Vorsicht, Fernweh ist nach der Lektüre nicht auszuschließen! Uuund, ich hätte noch viel mehr Hundebilder dazu laden wollen…

Da ihre Geschäftspartnerin und Freundin Iva kein deutsch spricht, haben wir das Interview auf englisch gemacht. Enjoy!

The proud girls at the beginning of podi kade.

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m Julia and I used to have a proper career 😀 I used to restore churches until I was 27, than i  travelled the world a bit for 1,5 years. After that, I studied journalism and visual media in Ireland. After graduating I moved to Berlin to work as a photo editor. Soon after I was leading a team of photo editors. And then shit went down 😀

Hello, I’m Iva. I used to be a teacher in kindergarden until I decided to travel which turned my life and perspectives upside down. I used to live in the states, as well as on a sail boat in Mexico. After 2 years I decided to move to England and work there. Already in the states I was dreaming about Sri Lanka, because I really wanted to see the wild elephants. So I started saving money and planned a trip there.

Why Sri Lanka?

Julia: I went on a holiday to Sri Lanka with my best friend and met a guy. BOORING

Iva: Elephants and copy above 😀

Iva and one of the reasons she stayed in Mirissa.

How did you guys meet?

Julia: We kept seeing each other around but didn’t really hang out until 2 years ago when Iva was helping us in Little Tuna a bit (my boyfriend George, our friends Ravindu and his girlfriend Rebecca and me also have a sushi restaurant in Mirissa). So the friendship between Iva and me grew stronger and stronger – we went through quiet a lot together and kept each other from going crazy (not sure if successfully). We realised pretty soon, that we have the same love for creating things and so slowly the idea grew to fill a gap here in Mirissa and open something together that would stick out from the rest.

The girls – dogs included – on a business trip.

What does podi kade mean?

Podi kade is singhalese for “little shop”. We both loved the idea and name from the start, plus: our shop is truly podi, 3,5 x 3,5m!

Our aim was to give our creativity no limits and always use what we find around us. Our boyfriends call us the rubbish girls, because we are always digging in some piles of stuff… They are a little embarrassed so to say, when their girlfriends get excited about a smelly piece of half burned wood. We also don’t waste anything, there is always something to make, even out of the tiniest leftovers. We paint, we sew, we bead.

Look at my beautiful jewelry!

Our creations are:

  • painted driftwood (and also some pieces from the wood factory if we can’t find enough)
  • bracelets and anklets
  • mermaid tear necklaces and earrings
  • necklaces with wood/stone/or even seed pendants
  • backpacks
  • little purses in all varieties
  • beach sarongs and beach kimonos
  • painted keychains made from sliced cinnamon sticks
  • painted coconut bowls
  • postcards

Roxy presenting the latest collection.

How is typical working day for you? Are you working at the beach?

After being open for 3 months we are working shifts now, so each of us gets some time off to either surf (Iva) or sleep (Julia) :P.

We work from 10 am until 7 pm and as one of our signs says, “but first coffee” – that’s how we start our day.

Julia having coffee with a friend.

Some days, if there are power cuts, you can’t survive in the shop (without the fan), so we have a good excuse to go on a “business trip” or just beaching.

You could say we are working on the beach sometimes, because that is where we get a lot of our material from. Driftwood and mermaid tears (glass smoothened by the ocean) for example. We basically go snorkelling for work, pretty awesome hmm?

Roxy being pretty again.

Are you connected with the locals, do you even work with them?

We have quite a lot of interactions with locals, like the guys from the wood factory who let us go through their cut offs if the ocean doesn’t offer enough driftwood, or the guy that makes our beautiful silver rings, but especially the people in our hood. I would say so far we are being liked and accepted (I think they also like the name of our shop, haha). Everyone is super nice to us and helpful – little things like stopping the rubbish truck for us or helping us saving a silver necklace dropped in the sink… We are sandwiched between a electrical shop (very handy) and a travel agent. People know us in the area, because we both have lived here for 2 years now and also everyone knows we have local men, which makes things also easier.

Where do you find your inspiration?

We won’t lie here….clearly pinterest. We would be screwed without it :D! We just keep our eyes open and get inspired by pretty much everything around us. Or sometimes you want to create something and it goes completely wrong but something else, even better happens.

What do you plan for the next months?

Survive.

Create.

The market stand of podi kade at a flea market in Madiha.

Get rich and famous.

Or just make some money to pay our bills in off season as well. Here in sri lanka we have tourist seasons, the strong months being from November until April, after that the town goes really quiet and most places are closed. It has its pros and cons, off season is definitely more relaxed and its awesome to have the beaches to yourself (almost), but of course, if you don’t manage to save some money during the high season, you will be in trouble! So lets see, this our first off season owning the shop.

Are you home sick? How often do you visit your parents and friends at home?

Julia: I’m going home twice a year, usually for christmas and in summer – and yes, I get homesick a lot. I miss my family and friends back home. My mom and me skype almost every day and she also came here twice since I moved. My dad is not a big fan of hot countries and beach holidays, but never say never, maybe at some stage he will come and have a look?!

Iva: Homesick!?!? Yes… Yes… Yes…. YYYEEEESSSS!! Miss my family and friends!!! Usually I am going home two times a year, too. But for the moment I will stay Sri Lanka for 10 months straight. That is really long!

Would you say your current lifestyle is a dream coming true? Sri Lanka forever?

Julia: I love my lifestyle here: swimming in the ocean every day, sunshine, the only shoes you need are flip flops and cruising around on my scooter, but you never have all the good things together. In the Mirissa area here are no theatres, exhibitions, festivals with the great rock bands of our time, proper cinemas or even special restaurants. You have the beach, the sun and the (mainly) blue skies, the beach bars, but no cultural entertainment at all. Therefore I don’t think I would be happy here when I am older – at the moment though, it is the right thing.

Iva: With opening the shop really my dream came true.. Sometimes I can’t bealive how lucky I am… I just love what we are doing.. And the free time on the beach, little trips around, dogs time.. Right now I live my dream… Srí Lanka forever? Nothing is forever.

The gang chilling: Ginger, Roxy and Whisky.

Do you have tips for people who would like to start a life abroad?

Julia: Well, I don’t think you can generalise that, but one thing is for sure: respect the locals and their culture.

Iva: If you think you are better person than others, stay in your country!!! Your lifestyle does not matter, you always have to have big respect for different cultures and the locals.

The podi kade family at the store.

You wanna know more? Connect with the girls at facebook or instagram!

Wer kommt jetzt mit nach Sri Lanka?

Merken

2 Comments

  • Avatar
    Anja
    22. Mai 2017 at 9:51

    I love this story!!

    Reply
    • Silvi
      Silvi
      16. Juni 2017 at 11:52

      We do, too! <3

      Reply

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