In the morning I usually walk to work, a routine activity that has become a more frigid exprience with each passing day. It is no longer sufficient to wear my knit gloves and stuff those covered hands in my pockets. They are still cold under all those layers. I certainly don‘t live in the coldest part of Armenia. There’s no snow on the ground here yet, just crunchy ice puddles. But on my walk to work I look up at the surrounding mountains and watch as the white blanket of snow is slowing stretching down the mountainside and into our valley. It’s only cold now. The incredibly-cold is coming.
However, the cold has led to some exciting new things. Family time, for example, has taken a warm turn. My room is in the cold, sunless north corner of the house, and while I appreciate the space of my own, I don’t really welcome the sight of my breath in my room. So, I venture into the foryer where nightly sits my host mother and sister around a crude gas heater. They sit on stools made from short two-by-fours, chew sunflower seeds and watch, through a doorway, soap operas playing on the tv in a distant corner of the living room. So, on the coldest nights, I grab my book, sit on the foryer couch, and read. I like their company, and now that my Armenian has improved, I can chat with them about the weather, about work, about life in Texas, about my family. We sip hot tea and tell jokes. And when their gaze wanders back to the Armenian soaps, mine returns to my book.
This month is looking to be full of changes. The incredibly-cold is coming. I’m likely moving to my own place mid-month (which means exciting adventures into cooking for myself and going houseware shopping in Yerevan). I’m headed to Tbilisi soon, and I’m starting work on some really exciting new projects. Some A-18’s are bound to start getting their invitations to join PC-Armenia this month and will start popping up on the interweb. And I’ll be going through my first Christmas without my family around (I’ll save my feelings about that for another post).
In general I will say that I am LOVING life here. Now all I need is all my family to come here and bring some refried beans.