Saturday, September 3, 2011
September 1st is the day of Knowledge and the official first bell in Armenian schools. What this means is all Armenian children dress up in their best black and white outfits, girls in skirts and ruffled shirts, hair in pigtails with big white bows, and boys in suits, dress shirts and ties and come to school. I have been waiting for this day all summer long! Ok not all summer, but defiantly these last few weeks have dragged on meaninglessly and devoid of purpose. So as my taxi pulled up to good ole school number six, and students lined up to see who was inside it I couldn’t help but to smile. Yes it is good to be back! I stepped out of the taxi to an echo of Hello Miss Alyssas and how are yous, greeted my students and went to the teacher’s lounge.
After answering questions about my summer and telling everyone how Sophie is doing, there really wasn’t much else for me to do. So I sat and tried to listen to people’s conversations. Soon I felt as though I was in a tornado of Armenian, all the words whirling by me too quickly for me to catch on to anything. I had forgotten what it is like to be in a room with some 30 Armenian women, it’s overwhelming to say the least! At some point your brain just stops functioning all together. Unfortunately for me this point came just as I was being introduced to the mayor of Spitak, who stopped by to hand out free backpacks to our new first graders. The vice principal wanted me to meet him so she called me over. She began to explain to him that I was the American volunteer who taught English but that I had business experience and could do a lot of things in Spitak, that much I caught on to, but soon I lost what she was saying and when they both turned to look at me, I could tell that I was suppose to say something but I had no idea where the conversation was. I couldn’t even remember how to introduce myself. I simply told him I was happy to meet him, and then offered and embarrassed smile. He must of thought I was an idiot because he just looked at me with mild interest and then continued on with his conversation. I ducked away, but had nowhere to go. It was terribly embarrassing.
Soon it was time to introduce our newest little babies to the school. We gathered in our brand new gym and watched as they came dancing into the spotlight amongst a clamor of applause. Soon our oldest students (12th grade) each grabbed a tiny little hand of a first grader and presented them with a bouquet of balloons. Poems were read, speeches were made and awards presented. Then came my favorite part!! One of the 12th grade boys picked up a little tiny 1st grade girl, handed her a bell and paraded her around the building as she rang the bell for the first time of the new school year. After the commotion was over, the teachers sat down to a nice meal of cake, candy, ice cream and fruit!!! It was a pretty small affair compared to most schools but it was nice and over in time for me to make it home for my 1pm nap. How will I ever return to working 9-5 jobs?!?!