ants

Yesterday, a nardi demonstration by my landfather showing that even after two years, he can kick my nardi butt. And this morning, I battled the army of ants living in my door. Ok, fine, my landmom battled them. But she used MY bottle of khandzori katsakh (apple vinegar), and that counts for something, right? She laughed at how I freaked out at their swarming from the door frame, how my feet were dancing all over them, trying to stop their advance into my living room. “It’s the weather, Brent,” she says. “Give me your broom. We’ll sweep them out.” “I…

summer to spring

I thought returning in May I’d be back in Armenia for the summer.  That assumption held true in the capital, where the lowland climate heats up much more quickly than up north.  Upon my return, while waiting to see the doctors, I spent an entire day sitting in a park around a man-made pond near Yerevan’s opera house.  The slopes of grass between the pond and the surrounding cafes is home to three or four trees.  I sat in the shade of one and devoured a few hundred pages of Irving’s The World According to Garp, moving a few times…

a summer blip in winter: the landsisters

Word has traveled from Moscow to our sleepy town via emigrated relatives of my Armenian friends: THE BIG FREEZE IS COMING.  Apparently, when Moscow freezes over, the same icy hand reaches out to our town in about three days. This comes to me as a bit of a surprise.  You know what I was doing a couple of days ago? I was with my landdad, moving the nardi board into the house because the sun was beating down too hard.  (I was wearing a t-shirt.) And then I was hanging out with my landsisters on the terrace.  Meri and I…

doing some drifting

  Some World Vision coworkers and I have been working on a Youth Leader Small Grants project, teaching Armenian village students about project design and management and, through a series of steps, awarding some of these village kids with small grants to do projects in their communities.  In one small village, Yaghdan, the students applied for furniture and supplies for their new youth center.  The first thing they wanted to do with these new supplies was a small weekend camp.  So, after World Vision supplied the furniture, myself and another Peace Corps volunteer went to the village with a couple…

in five days

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…