Yerevan is a completely different country. Walking along sidewalks that stretch out between tall buildings. Grabbing indian food, mexican food, and Wetzel’s Pretzel’s. Dancing. Cafe-ing. Things are clean. The temperature is so much warmer. Mannequins hold relaxed poses in city clothes. The staring is much less frequent.
My friend Zoe says that I speak differently when I’m Yerevan. I’m relaxed; my conversation leans away from worries, leans into quick wit and joy. I blame it on samosa-related endorphines gathered in our favorite indian restaurant, Karma. Or it could be the quesadilla at Cactus. Or it could be the pile of books I gather from the shared library at the Peace Corps office. It very definitely has something to do with the dancing.
Whatever it is, I am so happy, no THANKFUL, for my trips to Yerevan. For the mornings at Artbridge where I can chat over an egg sandwich and french toast. For the afternoons spent at Թելեր, the yarn store, before perusing the spice market. For discoveries in SAS Supermarkets of ground cinnamon in bulk, pringles, and worchestershire sauce (ok ok… I don’t cook with it, but most importantly, it’s there). I’m thankful for the evening I spent looking for a coat and for the store called “Banana” where I found this jacket with a patch that misspells “Imdependent Steel” over my heart (I wanted to go for the green one, but I figured I couldn’t get away with the monogrammed “Linda”).
I’m particularly thankful for this past five days spent in the city during our All Volunteer Conference. For hours spent talking, laughing, dancing, and sharing stories (and a cold) with other PCV friends, literally spending every possible moment with each other. For the carrot suffle and the phenomenal brown gravy at our thanksgiving dinner. For the 15 minutes that 15 people spent singing about each other to the tune of “Anyone Else But You” by The Moldy Peaches (of Juno fame).
Returning home, I’m glad for the feeling of being missed, the wide grins and firm handshakes from co-workers and host family. I’m not quite as thankful that our water has been “cut” again, that it could be many days until my next shower. I’m not quite as thankful for the temperature in my house that makes it possible to see my breath in my room. I am VERY thankful for my space heater. I’m very thankful that I’ve made it this far.
And finally, I’m thankful that the snow that I saw falling today at 2:23pm stopped falling at 3:34pm. Keep putting it off, Father Winter.