Today was my host dad’s birthday. I was informed that I shouldn’t make any after school plans because we were gonna have a huge party and eat fish. Now what’s wrong with this picture?
Let me just tell you; the man is in Ukraine!!! Haha yep today we had a birthday party for someone who was not there!!! I thought, hum maybe he will make a surprise appearance, since we have all this food and wine and treats. But no he did not, it was all for us!!
Alyssa Jan, drink some wine! You have to
Me: But why?
Because it’s Vahans birthday and he wants you to, we must toast to his health!
Umm ok sure!
After the weirdest birthday party I have ever been to, we went over to a neighbor’s house to skype with the birthday boy himself. I have to say I haven’t even skyped my own parents!!! I was a little hesitant to go because it was late and I was tired, but my host mom guilted me into by telling me that my host dad would want to talk to his only daughter on his birthday!! Haha Armenian women really know how to sweet talk you.
So I walk over to the neighbors house with my host family. I sit in a small trailer home, with only two rooms, a kitchen and a bedroom. The hostess my neighbor, apologizes for not having any sweets to offer me, she didn’t know the American was coming to her house that night. I smile and tell her not to worry, I have already eaten. And yes I said I have eaten because I can’t say I ate, I suck at past tense! I can tell she feels bad, embarrassed even for her lack of preparation, which in turn makes me feel bad. Maybe I should have stayed home.
A loud voice interrupts my guilt, as I can clearly hear my host dads voice, but where it is coming from, I have no idea. I look around and everyone laughs at me. They show the small nook beside the bed, which I thought was only a night stand, but it holds a modern computer with a camera attached to it.
Ari, Alyssa Jan, Nesti. – Come Alyssa dear, sit. My host mom says.
No, no, no, let vahagen sit, I will just listen I tell her.
Alyssa, my agchicka, let me see your face! My host dad joyfully yells into the computer, actually putting his face directly into the camera, as if he is looking through it into our tiny room to see me.
Znonde shnorhavor, happy birthday I tell him!
Ay, aprez agchick Jan! You speak Armenian so well now!
Ha, not so well, but I understand so much more now!
Malodaiz, good for you. How are my animals?
Jack baby and manook baby are shat lav, very good, I tell him. Forgetting he has a soft spot for the cat, not the dogs.
And my Amoora? He asks.
She is good too! She cries a lot! I tell him
Next thing I know I see a big fat cat on the screen.
This is my Amoora, agchick jan, he tells me.
He named both of his cats the same name. One in Armenia and one in Ukraine!
The screen becomes pixilated with movement again. A new face shows up on the screen. Hello americatzi Jan. I am your uncle! (haha oh really?)
Hello I say. How are you? It is nice to meet you.
Good good, he answers. You speak Armenian so well! ( yes I can say hello and ask how people are doing very well, I think to myself).
More shuffling; another new face.
Alyssa Jan, hello.
Hello I say.
My father’s voice in the background in English “this is my broderas wifea”.
Aprez, I tell him.
Next their son and daughter, same story but with different people.
My host father comes back on.
Alyssa Jan, I will bring you a (word I had never heard before) from Ukraine.
Me: No no no, I don’t want to get married I say.
The room: laughter, a lot of it.
Me: red in the face once again. Inch?
My host mom explains to me that he said a present… it was in Russian! Aye Kez ban.
My host father: No you do not need a Ukrainian husband, you will marry an Armenian.
The room on his side: applause and shouts of Aprez.
My host mom: No, No, No, she always tells you she wants to marry an American.
My host dad: No, will come back and introduce you to so and so and you will get married. You cannot stay here for only 2 years, it’s not enough. We will miss you too much!
Me: But my parents miss me. They do not want me to stay here forever.
My host dad: You can go on vacation to California in the summers when there is no school. American boys are bad. They break your heart. (hum this is true).
My host dad’s brother: Armenian boys are so much better, you will be happy here.
And so it went on for about 30minutes. Yes 30 minutes!!! I changed seats with my host brother so that his dad could see him. He yelled to me, as if because he could no longer see me, It meant that I was far away, to ask how my brother is. I told him he is ok, but I am your best child. I am good and he is bad! Everyone laughed. He told me I can hit my brother when he is bad, I playfully hit him in the head and we all laughed again. You are my good daughter my host dad said. I miss you father, I say to him, and we say goodbye.
It’s always good to talk to family far away! Armenian and American alike.