What happens when your Armenian mother, who’s Mexican soap opera is not coming in clear enough when she is supposed to be relaxing from her strenuous daily routine? She stands in the door way on the top floor, so she can see the TV, while directing her teenage son, who has been summoned to the roof to adjust the antenna at her every command, until it comes in crystal clear. That was earlier in the week. Along with my birthday, this was a pretty great week at the house. I’m making a concerted effort to spend as much time with them, seeing as that I leave next week and probably won’t return to visit until November.The Olympics began; most of us did see the Opening Ceremonies, in case any of you were wondering. I called my teacher when Armenia came out, and she returned the favor when the U.S. did. I made sure and killed some Kotayks with the host dad to mark the occasion. However, that does not mean it didn’t come without impediment. There was some slight contention over the other programmed shows that happened to coincide with the Opening Ceremonies … remember that aforementioned Mexican soap opera? After a quick roundtable debate, arm wrestling, and “rock, paper, scissors”, we reached a strategic compromise and agreed that since my show was four hours long, and hers only an hour that we could flip back and forth during her commercial breaks. Following the ceremonies, I probably had my best meal so far in Armenia. Pork chops, straight from their farm with all the other fixings from the garden [Sorry, I missed the slaughter this time, so no pictures. PETA will be pleased.]
Since it was the last weekend in the village, going on some long Saturday excursion to a temple that would take up most of the day, was not what I had in mind. [Note: When I explained to my family that I would be here for two years, and could see it any other time I wanted, they were all in agreement that I had chosen wisely. Little bias there.] Here’s what I did have in mind: hiking around the river and its caves, playing chess with my grandpa [he won, shocker] who hasn’t had his own board in a while, and watching my 15-year old host brother proudly display his vodka making ability at night; I’ve never seen his father so proud. I made the right decision today.
Tomorrow, baring any unforeseen circumstances, I should be sworn in as a “Volunteer”. [For those of you that are confused, currently we’re all in “Trainee” status.] So one quick assessment of what I’ve seen of the country so far. If you’re an active or adventure type traveler, and you haven’t been to Armenia yet, you need to change your next itinerary. Which is one reason why I’m pretty damn excited to be here, cause I don’t vacation by sitting on beaches [they do have a beautiful lake if that’s your cup of tea – see photo stream], and if this site can do anything, I hope that it exposes those unfamiliar with Armenia, to its outdoor resources necessary for a good time.