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 people I need to reach out and touch to remind myself that I’m still here. I’m having that behind-glass feeling again that makes me want to touch everything before it becomes yesterday’s.

I will say that the last few days have included a taco dinner, uncountable and quickly eaten batches of chocolate chip cookies, Easter celebrations, visiting friends, games, long talks, and sunsets that make me cry. What am I saying? Everything is making me cry. Including the crying ladies at the grocery store, the long speeches about how they will miss me and never forget me, and the Clooker sitting down at the desk across from me, then immediately getting up to kiss me, pressing her tears-wet cheek to mine.

I’ve got things to get to. However, I do need to say that you are one of the main reasons I am here right now. I would never have finished Peace Corps with having you to share it with. I came here to put down some words, show my family some photos, and I found friends to write to, people who let share my love of this place. You win. I owe you big time.

Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for forgiving my faults. And thank you for letting me know you’re around, seeing me through this.

I’m not sure if I’ll write in the next week, with all the moving across the planet; however, I assure you that I’ll be writing about readjusting to Texas, and then the move to someplace new, Stateside or otherwise.

In the meantime, here’s a few photos which I promise are worth checking out, if only to see my landfamily wearing rabbit ears. They are amazing. Oh, good grief. The tears again.

a favorite American friend, visiting and playing nardi
kneading pizza dough with aven
americans and armenians heading out to the dasht
well, obviously, if you see an abandoned bus in the middle of nowhere, YOU GET IN
claire and heghmine

a favorite friend and her mom teaching us to make jingyalov hats (herbs bread)

our tatik is cooking; our imogen is dancing to enrique iglesias. enrique always makes us forget our work.
closing the jingyalov hats
jingyalov hats roasting on a stove-closed fire
my coworkers and i hiding in the trees

eating a strawberry. as cute as a strawberry.

one of world vision's social workers
workers jumping. the one second from the left is the clooker!
a totally happy easter!



applying a foam rabbit "tatoo"

I will miss this place. A lot.


  1. Beautiful, priceless photos! Traveled into them! I’m so proud of you and can’t wait to see you again!

    1. Thanks, Jane! I’ve known some inspiring photographers in my time (WINK WINK). I’ll be hugging you soon, I have a feeling!

  2. oh, you have touched lives with your work and your heart. how great is that?? i can only imagine how sad you are about leaving but what about the arriving that’ll be happen in the next few weeks? that’ll be great too, i bet. so looking fwd to reading about your new adventures.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lan! I hope to have some new adventures (including plenty in my Texas home), and you can bet I’ll be writing about them

  3. katieleigh

    What wonderful photos. Soak up these last days – I know you will. Thanks for sharing your life in Armenia with us.

    1. Thanks for reading, Katie. And I applied for a job in Boston, so I might just be seeing you one of these days.

  4. Only on the Internet can someone a gazillion miles away make you care as deeply about another world as you have. I loved your video and your posts and photos. It’s clear you have been well-loved there and have loved your time. It will break your heart to leave…but it sends you back to the U.S. a forever changed man.

    Thanks for such a great blog. Will miss it! Enjoy these last few days and know how much pleasure you’ve given many people…

    1. Thank you so much, Caitlin. You’ve been such a kind blog-friend. And don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. American culture is certainly wild and woolly enough to write about, and I have a feeling I’ll be hankering for some more adventure after this. Thanks again!

  5. George

    To remedy your “homesickness” for Armenia, in the future you can go back to Armenia for short term volunteering work (from 2 months to six), not by PCV but by Armenian Volunteer Corps. AVC do not pay cash and personal expenses but provides you free lodging and free food with an Armenian family in the region you work. With AVC you can even work volunteer in the capital Yerevan. There are no restrictions of place and you make your own choosing of place and of kind of volunteer works. Check the website of AVC for details and accuracy.

  6. […] how did the man who wrote this blog land here on this couch. I wonder how I’ve been in all of these places and how they could […]

  7. […] fly up my best friends from summer camp, my 11th grade English teacher, my family in Kolkata, my landfamily in Armenia and the ladies at the bakery in Stepanavan. I would fly in my besties from Peace Corps […]

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