This is vanoohi. She looks innocent enough and is one of the most adorable kids in Spitak, and maybe in all of Armenia! Since I have started teaching in Spitak, I have spent a lot of time with Vani, she even comes to my English classes when she doesn’t have to go to kindergarten. Vanoohi is the typical little girl; she started off shy, only staring at me when she thought I couldn’t see her. As time went by she began to give me a high five and say hello. As she became more comfortable around me, she would offer me candy or agree to take candy from me. Sometimes she would even tell me a small anecdote about school.
One day as I was walking to school I saw Vanoohi with her mother walking from the opposite direction. Vanoohi called out to me and came running over to me. She grabbed my hand and insisted on walking with me. Her mom told me how Vani loves me and wanted to come to school to see me today. She even said that every day Vani asks if her mom can do her hair like Miss Alyssa!! So cute, right?
Well as the day went on, I had little time to sit with Vanoohi and talk because I had three back to back classes, but after the third I had a break. Vanoohi came up to me and gave me a picture she drew of the two of us. And then it happened, Vani began to tell me about her trip to Vanadzor last weekend. The story started off well enough, she told me about a dance she went to with her friends Susanna and Annie. She told me that they danced and sang songs and she had a lot of fun. And then out of nowhere she began describing the girls to me, and then their cloths, and then the place she went. Soon enough she began telling me the same thing over and over again, and then it came, the part when little girls start to make up stories. Once this happens you are stuck! Stuck I tell you, they never get out of fairy tale mode and can go on for days!!! Usually I am trained to recognize this mode and change the subject before it begins… but this is Armenia, and this conversation was in a heavy accented child barbar, I barely understood what was going on… There was nothing I could do. Every once and awhile I would look up to see other teachers watching us out of the corner of their eyes , smiling to themselves, thinking how funny it is that I couldn’t get away. At other times they were downright obvious and made jokes about it and laughed out loud at my expense. Time seemed to stand still, and I still couldn’t tell you if it was an hour that I talked to Vani or an hour and a half.
I went home that day with a huge headache, the only thing in the world that I wanted was to listen to someone speak English. For the first time since I have been here, I was thankful to not have a host family with a little kid!! I finally realize other volunteer’s pain! I called everyone I know until my mom finally answered. Please mom, speak English to me, please I can’t take this day any longer and then I slipped into my own little girl chatter box self and talked my mom’s head off!! =)