Last Friday was the first day that the new volunteers were allowed to travel around in country, so we took the opportunity and took a trip to Lake Sevan together. I was excited to see other Americans and to kayak and swim and enjoy a nice weekend away from work, since let’s face it every day here is work. Every day you have to work, just to speak and to understand what is going on. Every day, whether I feel like it or not I need to be in a good mood and make myself available for people. I signed up to be a representation of my country. If someone asks me to tea and I say no, I make all Americans look bad, so I go, no matter how tired I am. And its work, believe it or not, it’s really difficult. Imagine being in a room where a whole family, who obviously has nothing, wants to share everything they have with you. You can barely understand enough to keep up with the conversation, and they are all stare at you expectantly. They want you to eat their food and converse with them, they want you to teach their kids and make their lives better, they want you to understand their culture and sometimes they even want you to give them money. It may not seem like anything to you reader, but every day every part of my life, I am representing my country, and I am teaching and learning all at the same time. It’s draining, emotionally and physically. Wait a minute you expect me to believe that being a guest and eating food is hard work, you may be asking. Well my answer is yes, in a way I am a constant actor putting the best image I can out there. There are days when I am so tired and all I want to do is go home and sleep but then I get home and my family tells me I must pay a visit to someone. A person only has so much energy to be “on”.
I’m not complaining, I am just explaining the need to be around other Americans as often as I can. So like I said we took a vacation together to the lake. There was one small problem with our plan however, it was freezing there!!! It rained almost the whole time and was so cold. So we basically stayed indoors the whole time, which was a huge bummer.
When I got back home on Sunday, I put my huge pack on my shoulders and made the 40 min walk to my house. For some reason I was homesick as could be, being near the lake really made me miss California and my friends, and the beach, and the summer, especially the freaken summer! So as I was walking back I was listening to my ipod a little bit heartbroken, when I saw my papik approaching me on the road. His face lights up as he seems me and I quickly wipe away my tears. Barev dez barev dez he calls out to me in a sing songy voice. I say hello back to him and smile the best that I can. He asks me about my trip but before I can answer, he tells me that it was a bad week to go because it was cold there. We both laugh as I agree, and he asks me if I swam. Of course not I exclaim and we laugh again. Good we don’t want you to get sick he tells me and we say goodbye and continue on our paths. As I walk up to my house my host mom sees me. Alyssa agchicka she says with a big smile on her face, this has sort of become their pet name for me. She calls to the rest of the family and tells them that I am home, and puts her arm around me and walks me into the house. My tatik stands up and kisses my cheek. They all begin to ask me questions at once, but then my tatik sees that I still have my heavy bag so she commands everyone to let me be so I can go get comfortable. When I come back we talk about my trip, drink tea and eat some hot fresh bread. Everyone is so happy to see me, I feel like I have been gone for weeks! My host mom tells me that my papik kept asking all day when I would come home, he couldn’t wait for me to get back. It was really comforting to feel so loved. My tatik put her arm around me and called me her girl. Instinctively they picked up on my sadness and we had a long girl talk and I actually poured my heart out to them a bit. I told them why I was sad and they both understood. Then my host mom did the most amazing thing, she made French toast!! I felt like I was back in High school and when I would have a really bad day my mom or my dad would make me a special treat, a rootbeer float, ice cream or brownies. Well this French toast was my bad day cheerer up, and it made everything feel a lot better.
It is so amazing how easy it is to become a part of a family here. I do feel a part of my Spitak family. I feel like they genuinely love me and want me to be happy. I am so blessed to be having this experience especially because there are many volunteers who can’t stand their families. I love my family and am even thinking of living here at least for one full year…