globally loved

I’m back. After a week of tears and hugs and the kindest words said to me by the kindest friends, I have arrived in this tiny town in Texas. I took three flights, two with one of my fellow Peace Corps adventurers, and then a third alone. I followed that up with a missed connection which resulted in a very disappointed family and a slumber party for me in the Atlanta airport with very friendly strangers. I finally arrived two mornings ago to the hugs you see above (thanks for the pic, Mom!) and a bag of Shipley’s donut holes….

thank you; your gift is a rabbit-eared family

I woke up in a panic this morning. Five days left before I leave Stepanavan. Two of those days will be spent doing a camp in a village near here, so in truth, we’re talking three short days here before I cram everything I own, and something things Peace Corps owns, into a taxi and ride to the capital. Good news, I did not stay sick, and Easter-In-June was a wild success. Bad news, I don’t have time for a good post. I have pictures to get printed, camp materials to gather, unseen waterfalls to find, and flesh and blood…

my peace corps house

This started as a tiny effort to show you guys my house here in Stepanavan. It became a multi-day ordeal as I waited for each cloudy day’s hour of sunlight to do another take. It became a THING, an event my landsisters and I did every afternoon for almost a week. They loved it, began to tell visitors to their house that they had to help me make a video, that they were my ‘astghiknere’, my little stars. (You can see Greta explaining this to her grandmother in the video.) I have never felt more myself than I have in…

i should live on two sides of the world

I took took my language proficiency index exam in Armenian last week. I scored Advanced-Low, which I feel great about. Still, today is exactly one month until I leave my life in Stepanavan behind, and moments ago I was eating dinner with my co-workers, unable to follow the conversation. I might have, I bet, if I listened very closely. But I instead nodded, I smiled at appropriate times, and as I have done almost daily for two years, I let my mind drift. This drifting is familiar to anyone living around an unfamiliar language, and even after learning to speak…

A Portrait of a Woman Having Tea

I wrote this in the spring of 2009 while I was living and working in Kolkata, India, a few months before leaving for Peace Corps. I reread it recently and wanted to share it here. ______________________________ On a muggy, still, Tuesday morning, Mangal and I walked through a Kolkata slum called Boro Ghati. We met a woman; her image is still with me. She sat in a chai stall off the side of the road. The little hut was all woven and collected. Its structure was a tight bunch of crude tethers and brittle strips of bamboo. The dinted tin…