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…

privolnoye

Another visit to a village.  Another incredible time with an incredible family which feels like some kind of gift I do not deserve.  But what to do but completely soak it in which, of course, is what I did. This time another PCV and I, plus a Latvian friend of mine from the European Volunteer Service, headed to Privolnoye up in the mountains near the Georgian border.  We met Ruzana, an ethnically Russian woman who returned to her village after a disheartening time trying to make a life in the capital city.  Ruzana runs a hugely successful children’s club which…

good, really good

I’ve been in that catch-up-with-normalcy phase that happens after your mom makes a whizbang journey across the earth to see you.  I feel like I used up all my language skills on my mother and for the last week or so can’t seem to construct a full Armenian sentence.  I’m feeling the weight of my current state, the missing of mom added to the pressure of work projects mixed with the swirl of information concerning my grad school search sweetened by the idea of visiting friends all floating on an under current of Oh How I Love My Life and…

my texan mother in armenia

Most of the past week I think I’ll save for my novel/memoir/perpetually-put-off-piece-of-literature.  That is both a artistic decision, and a way of avoiding the impossibility of putting into words this past week with me, Mom, and Armenia. But, despite the length, consider this a taste. I saw her at first down the hallway, behind the glass partition, my mother looking much skinnier, a little lost, and washed over with anticipation.  She saw me jumping up above the crowd, waving one arm and holding a bouquet of flowers in the other, this little collection of green, white and lavender, a message…

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…