Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You know that you have been in PC Armenia for too long when...

So lately I have been feeling that it is my time to say goodbye to Armenia. I can just about hear my mom and dad's sigh of relief right now... It's not that I don't love Armenia, I do, it's just that I love my country too and I understand my culture better and I have come to a point here where I have realized that I can't magically fix things which makes a person feel a bit jaded. Good thing that I only have 17 days left of my service. I think people don't realize that most Peace Corps volunteers are not in PC for a cool vacation, (trust me after my first 3 months, nothing felt like a vacation anymore) but most of us really believe that we will be helping the community that we live in. For the last three months I have been in the position to evaluate my service, and the number one question that tugs at my heart is, did I really help anyone?? I know that I have influenced people, heck just the other day I was running at the park with Sophie when I saw a 9 year old boy running around the lake with a little white dog on a leash. I caught up to him and he told me that he got his dog after he saw me with sophie one day a year ago. So I do know that my way of living has influenced people, but what really matters to me is that I was helpful and that is more difficult to answer. It may take years before I can see if I had an effect on my students lives, if the young women's group that I started will continue on and finally move into a stage where real issues are discussed. I did the best I could do as a teacher and I am proud of my work as a teacher, but I can't help but to think of my time here and to feel as if there was more I could have done if only I had been braver.

So anyways as I have been talking to my mom in these past few months she has pointed out to me the numerous strange things I say or do now that I have been here for so long. This has got me thinking about all the indicators that it is indeed time for me to return home. So I made a silly list, that I hope will make you laugh. This is meant as a joke, though most of the things are true, I say them with a smile on my face and in my heart because I do love and respect Armenian people very much...

You know you’ve been in Armenia  too long when…

You can’t remember what the most important meal of the day is, all you know is that no matter what time of day it is Bread is the most important part of the meal
You can’t wait to eat last night’s dinner for breakfast in the morning
The minute you feel a cold/fever/sneeze/ anything irregular whatsoever you reach for the yogurt
Worm in your Apricot? Pick it out, keep on eating
A midnight snack is more like a midnight smorgasbord!! Tea, compote, cake, fruit, candy, honey and of course bread!!! 
You have forgotten all the old rules about eating after 6 pm, in fact two of your most important meals of the day come after that time, dinner and supper 
You can drink vodka almost as though it were water and in fact sometimes throw some in your water just for good measure 
Hot dogs have become sausages and can be added to just about anything… hot dogs and scrambled eggs, yummmo… hot dog pizza, why of course! 
Privacy, what’s that? My neighbor’s door is unlocked so of course she wants to me to walk in and have a cup of coffee with her
Drinking coffee 4 times a day is nothing! In fact let’s have a cup before bed!
You now recognize that we are going on a “small Excursion” is slang for we will kidnap you for a minimum of ten hours
Anyone not from your village or town is an “outsider” and it’s required that you stare at them intensely in efforts to gather information about them that you will later share with your neighbors
Upon seeing this outsider it is not uncommon for you to ask very loudly “who is that” forgetting that the said outsider may understand English and would consider it very rude for you to stare at him and ask who he is
You learn this so called “outsider” is a European or another American; you are equally excited to see them as you are annoyed that they are in your town.  
You hear water turn on you jump up and immediately begin washing things. Who knows how long it will stay on, and you have been deceived by its promises of longevity far too many times
You see something gold and shiny and think, yeah that really is nice
In fact “nice” has become the most prominent word in your vocabulary. Pretty girls are nice, things taste nice, weather is nice… it’s a one size fits all kind of word
You have learned all the grammatical rules of English and yet have somehow managed to speak English as a foreigner does. You often leave out articles, deciding that they are unnecessary for comprehension 
You have forgotten the words good and delicious, everything is tasty or not so tasty. 
You make weird sounds in conversation to express agreement, annoyance, surprise or just comprehension. In fact you are not really sure if you can actually speak Armenian, or you have just learned to imitate sounds. 
You can’t help but to wonder if that tickle in the back of your throat is due to the fact that last week you went outside without your socks.
You get into a random taxi from the street and without you saying a word he takes you to your house. In fact, you are not even sure if that taxi driver was from your town, still not strange. 
At one time you had a bus schedule for your town memorized, but now you can’t remember what the official times are, you just go when you feel like it
Standing in a van full of people for a 45 minute drive is nothing unusual 
You no longer reach for a seatbelt that is never there 
You don’t think it’s strange for people to watch you do mundane things. Getting a haircut is not a spectator sport? Could have fooled me 
You no longer try to create lines out of chaos. You need to pay your bills? Squeeze in front of the twenty other people standing in a crowd at the teller, then make yourself as big as possible by holding your elbows out, and throw money at the teller. Don’t make eye contact with anyone, and don’t show weakness. 
You’ve jumped onto a crowded bus and without even thinking hand your purse over to a stranger so you can grab onto the back of someone’s chair
A mother enters a crowded marshutka and there are no seats. You offer her yours, but she refuses and instead plops a baby onto your lap. You tell the baby that you want to eat it and smile as if this is the most normal thing in the world, and in some way it really is...

1 comment:

  1. hahahhaha! I sooo enjoyed this blog little girl :)