In the last five days I have:
-Hosted an American-Armenian friend whose language skills betray the second part of the title but who’s dinosaur shirt and blue tights screamed the first.
-With said friend*, munched gobs of fresh fruit in the crumbling form of an old bathhouse at the 1000 year-old ruins just outside of town.
-*Commited to hitching back from said ruins. Surprised at the first takers: a couple bouncing along in their horse and buggy. The metal shell of the the buggy had clearly held manure not too long ago. But what’s a little manure between friends?
-*Made incredible beer-batter pizza which became less incredible the next morning after sitting in a freon-spewing fridge.
-*Hauled spewing fridge outside.
-*Took an old bus out to Gyulagarak and hiked the remaining three miles to the famed Dendropark. Collapsed, after the 90degreeF hike, on a bridge that held us over a stream. Munched more fruit. Napped. Awoke to an invitation from a family of Armenian strangers to join in their picnic. Gabbed in Armenian. Grabbed at khorovats, homemade sourcream on grilled peppers, homemade-baked clay-oven bread, and vodka shots.
-*Learned after talking with Strange Family, that we’d actually spent the entire afternoon on the bottom of the mountain on which, half a kilometer up, was the real Dendropark.
-*Enjoyed the real Dendropark for all of thirty minutes before it closed. It was kind of amazing. An Alice-In-Wonderland-Meets-Jurrasic-Park kind of garden with sections of roses becoming all the sudden a dense, blanket of barely waving ferns under tall, weepy pines.
-After said friend took off for Lake Sevan, met New Sitemates (!!!!!) and their organizations at the river near Agarak. Swam. Khorovatsed. Danced. Swam some more. Got a sunburn (first, maybe only, of the summer). Let sunrays, water, and new-and-year-old friendships wash over me. Felt damn good.
-Directly after river time, helped landfamily clear the garden. IE, hacked away at 7 foot weeds for a few hours with a scythe. A SCYTHE, people. Grim reaper style, even.
-Next day celebrated landsister’s 5th birthday with more khorovats, more dancing, more new and old friends, more carrying around landsisters on shoulders, etc.
-Discoverd, with New Sitemates, that my town’s park turns into a carnival at night with lights, ferris wheels, cage rides, and lots of the best ice cream ever churned. Met. More. People.
-Woke up the next day to texted announcement that My Friend Completing His Peace Corps Service and Therefore Leaving in a Week (MFCHPCSTLW) would be coming into town for a visit.
-Finished Season 9 of Friends. Mourned the fact that you only watch Friends for the first time one time. Made commitment to treasure the yet unseen 10th Season. (I know, I know.)
-Welcomed MFCHPCSTLW and made way back to 1000 year-old ruins to hike the gorge peninsula on which they stand (factoid: Lori Berd, in-post known as ‘the 1000 year-old ruins’, stands on the point on which two sides of the gorge form an elbow. The elbow was chosen by some really old dude as a secure location for the silk-etc merchants to build an outpost on the Silk Road. The secure location was later conquered by the Turks. And the Persians. And the Georgians. And the Mongols.)
-Munched on fruit again in the 1000 year-old bathhouse, this time with MFCHPCSTLW.
-Hiked down into the gorge to the 1000 year-old bridge. Felt like I was in Lord of the Rings. Checked for hobbits. Found discarded vodka bottles.
-Ran into Armenian friends who pointed out to us an area in Gorge River (actual name of the river) in which stirred warm water. Investigated. Swam in ice cold water. did not believe. Investigated further. Found warm water along with warm waterfall. Hoped it was natural-spring warm and not sewage warm. Disregarded fears. Enjoyed swim while staring in wonder at the close canyon walls.
-Attempted to hike Gorge Elbow. Found what seemed like miles of stinging nettles. Figured that Turks and Persians and Georgians and Mongols probably didn’t have to deal with stinging nettles. Nettles probably only developed sting in the last 1000 years. Or maybe I should just never be expected to conquer anything.
-Turned back for home. Walked in the rain.
-Made killer pasta. Died twice while eating. Filled tummy to brim.
-Woke the next morning to eyes glued shut by eye-boogers. Blamed river water. Thought the gluing-phenomenon was actually kind of cool. Enjoyed cracking eyelids apart.
Visitors hosted: 4
Surprises yeilded by my town: 6
Khorovats eaten: 3
Town pride: a lot
Overall happiness: pretty dang high.