This couldn’t be a more haphazard entry – a birthday, Kalashnikovs and Japanese folk dancers.
Arrachin (“First”, in Armenian). Our NGO recently visited a nearby village to take some photos for the end-of-year album. Sounds somewhat normal. Students dressed in their best outfits, teachers making sure their hair is perfect, etc, etc. But see, keep in mind, this was once part of the staunch Soviet Union, so needless to say, some leftovers of that time period still remain in village classrooms. Among such topics as biology, mathematics, geography, there is also instruction on how to properly assemble a Kalashnikov. While strictly abiding by Peace Corps policy and not handling the fire arm for even a second, several others couldn’t resist the temptation to revisit their childhood, including my NGOs director, who oddly enough, never served in the Armenian military due to illness at the time. Note to the powers that be in Washington and Yerevan, I was never in any danger; this was a cross-culture exchange.
Yekrord (“Second”, in Armenian). Continuing along those same lines of cross-culture exchange, a much more artistic event took place in the nearby town where Japanese folk dancers visited and danced alongside Armenian folk dancers. The reception was held at a restaurant adjacent the university. Both repertoires were well received by the audience. You think that was interesting, imagine being our Japanese-American Peace Corps Volunteer who actually lives in that town.
Yerord (Good job, you can count, “Third” in Armenian). It was my first host father’s birthday last weekend, and without needing to express how I feel about them (see every other entry about them, there are several), the festivities did not disappoint. In conjunction with the birthday, his niece’s graduation from school to place, on the same day. It was great to see her and her family has well. Armenian graduation from school (our equivalent of high school) also consists for speeches, dancing, singing, and of course the after party. This trip also afforded me the opportunity to meet my first host brother’s fiancé and her family. I couldn’t be more happy for someone, she’s a beautiful lady and it was great to see Gohar (first host mom) running around the kitchen with her preparing for the party. (Photos of this coming soon, can’t remember where I put them.)