So, I’m not good at putting up pictures yet, but since facebook doesn’t seem to be working for me, to my blog they go. Enjoy… and if you don’t like pictures… well… don’t enjoy. (Also, there’s about thirty pictures here… so you may want to take a couple trips here to take it all in.)
These are all from the months spent in my training village. For the pics of nowadays, you’ll have to wait. The process of putting these up is a LONG one.
I never quite figured out how this wonderful woman was related to my family. But her gap-toothed grin was priceless as was her frequent beckonings to join her for coffee, “Surj uzum es surj.” And she loved to dance, with little wrist flips and toe kicks.
This is my typical Armenian meal. Note the tomato and cucumber, still present at every meal. Also, there is cheese available on every table, and it is salty like whoa. And no Armenian table would be complete without bread in either the slightly stale, hard-to-tear chunks, or the harder-to-tear powdery flat lavash. Hatz u paneer (bread and cheese) is THE Armenian staple.
This is NOT a typical Armenian meal. The story is a good one, and a long one, and if you’re going to make it through these pictures, I’ll just give you the short version: Walked in the bathroom and was naked and climbing into the shower when I realized I was in the presence or our pokr kovi (small cow’s) head, skin and ankles. Poor Pokr Kov, as liked to call her. The family sold the meaty parts, but clearly they held onto the good stuff. These later became meals. However, they stayed in the bathroom for days. Plus side: they gave me something to look at besides the fly tornado that circled in the middle of the room.
Upon request, here is a picture of an Armenian church. Actually it’s THE Aremenian Church, Etchmiadzin, the seat of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It’s suprisingly small. Beautiful, but tiny. Most interesting facts: 1. Jesus alighted here, they say. 2. The church is built over a pagan temple that was used to worship the sun.
Horovats, the Armenian man’s barbecue. Here’s a good place to point out that here most people don’t have any of the same ‘culture’ around meat handling that Americans do. They handle the stuff, pinch salt out of the communal bowl, shake hands, scratch their face, touch everything without a drop of soap.
A picture of my favorite painting in my little village church. The church was built in 2000, and the paintings in the new building are gorgeous, with modern faces and poses. Actually reminds of the work of my friend, Kate Moore.
A favorite picture of mine of my host sister. She made me miss my real sisters all the time, but she was great fun to hang out with. We had lots of inside jokes that, wonderfully, had little to do with cultural or language barriers. Also, notice the tractor behind her. My host dad did a lot of work around the village bailing hay with that monster.
Host dad, skewering the chicken who just happened to be an unfortunate victim of the unfortunate dog who killed it, who was then unfortunately relocated to another house. At least the pup wasn’t turned out to the hills…
A rambunctious member of my groups summer camp, a project that three other volunteers and the village children did together. We gathered every week for games, dance lessons, or community projects. On this day we did a trash pick-up with an unintended end. Ask about that mini-failure if you’re interested.
This is one of two pictures I think my aunt could make into a nice painting. It’s from a church called Geghart, a popular Armenian destination. What is really unique about this church is that most of the building is actually dug rightout of the mountain. There are chapels all over the slope, dug into the rock, where believers kneel, pray, and light candles. This picture is the main hall.
This photo is from one of the dug out chapels. The sculptors/carvers/diggers started at that little whole at the top, carved the intricate designes you see there, and later dug down to make a floor, columns, altars and crosses.
An entrance to one of the dug out chapels. Notice the hach kar, or stone cross on the left. These are everywhere all around Armenia, even in the abandoned churches you will find these abandoned works of art.