Today is the first day of September. Remembering this, I woke up early, ate a bowl of cornflakes and went with camera in hand to congratulate my Armenian landsister on her first day of school. I had missed her and goofily said, “Shnor havor,” to my landdad as a consolation for missing his daughter’s departure.
It should be noted that Armenians congratulate each other for everything. At work I was shnor-havored by my friend Liana because today is Knowledge Day (don’t I feel smarter now!) and shnor-havored by my friend Armen because today is recognized as the first day of autumn (I made it to another season!). They’ll congratulate you for your birthday and for your family member’s birthdays or their weddings or their new babies or their babies new babies. They’ll buy their friend a small gift if he gets a new car. They congratulate you on new clothes or a good shave. They just through that appreciation around, and it feels good to get a dose every once in a while.
Here’s another feeling all together. Today is the first of the last things. I start counting them now.
Today is the last First Bell for me in Armenia. The last Halloween in Armenia is coming up. The last All Volunteer Conference will happen after that. There’s no sadness to it just yet because I do have quite a bit more time here. Mostly, I’m feeling satisfaction. Shnor havor, me.