I went back to the summer host family to visit for Nor Tari. It was really breathtaking, seeing the miles of white surrounding Teghenik, the mountains covered in powdery snow. I had to stop mid-walk many many times just to take a look around. My family owns a khanut* in the center of the tiny town. From there I walked with my host brother, Arshak, up to the house, sliding on tire trails of ice and crunching through calf-deep snow. Looking around over the rooves of houses at all the distant snow covered place, I got this overwhelming, wonderful feeling of being the only people in the middle of our own white world.
I spent the next two days wondering what it would have been like to spend my entire service in that small town. I missed this family. They may argue a bit, but they are warm and friendly. We played games and danced and laughed and laughed. My Armenian would certainly be much better; I talked with them, just shooting the breeze, for a good long while. I kicked everyone’s tail at nardi. I felt comfortable in a way that I just haven’t felt comfortable in Stepanavan. People are kind in Stepanavan, but in that village, I could just read or write or nap on the couch. No one wondered what I was doing or thought twice about my presence in their living room. And they’re excitement at seeing me was the closest feeling I’ve gotten to ‘going home’ since I’ve been here.
Of course, Stepanavan is my place and Stepanavantsis are my people, but Teghenikers know how to make me feel like family. It was a great couple of days
*There are a lot of Armenian words that have been incoporated into PCV speech. “Khanut”, meaning “store”, is one of them.