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Trip Start Jan 15, 2005
Trip End Apr 27, 2006

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Flag of Armenia  ,
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I made a trip over to Yerevan today because the internet access at my site is now pretty much non-existant. I did go to Vanadzor last weekend and did some emailing but, not nearly everything I have wanted to do. So, I am resorting to sending actual honest to goodness letters. Speaking of letters! I received a package from a former UZ-18er! Thank you so much Kjestine!! I laughed at all the Hello Kitty things you mailed me! And I have one piece of Hello Kitty stationary hanging on my wall now in a frame I made from the box it came in. I cried too because I miss my village people from that training. But, I hear from the UZ-18ers fairly often.

I haven't been to Yerevan in nearly a month! You can see Mt. Ararat from Yerevan. It is the mountain that Noah's ark is supposed to have landed on. Mt. Ararat had been a part of Armenia at one point and is now a part of Turkey. I love seeing that mountion. It is huge and snow capped.

So, I now work at the Dilijan Medical College which is a college where nurses are trained. I am slowly translating the course titles into English so that I know what is being taught there. My host mother, Guyana, works in the kitchen at the college. I managed to get into a bit of an arguement with the library my second day at work. I tried to tell her that I wanted to go through and look at each book (shelf read: make sure the books are in correct order) to start to learn their cataloging system. She said that would be too hard for me because I don't know the Russian or the Armenian alphabet. I said that I did know both alphabets and she told me to read from one of her books then. Well, I don't preform when demanded to. So, we went around and around like this until some students came into the library and we had a break from each other. So, when the students left, I took the russian catalog book and began to read the subject headings. I choose the russian one because I am more familiar with the russian alphabet at this point than the armenian one. She was impressed and said I could take the two books and teach myself the catalog system and when I was done, i could come back. Not bad! Well, on Monday of the next week, she came into the faculty room and was telling the teachers who were there that I can read russian and armenian. (I can. Kinda) On Thursday of last week, my counterpart (Manush) had me come into her office so she and I could talk. After a moment she saw I was having difficulty finding armenian words so she called for a foreign language teacher to come into the office to translate. Well, the entire conversation was about how I am learning armenian too slowly and I need to get a new tutor because my tutor can't teach me the medical terminology. I am not sure if that was what my counterpart was really saying or if that was what the translator thought I should do. At any rate, I think the translator was not a very good translator. I was so annoyed! I was crabby the entire weekend because of it. But, then I went to work yesterday and I felt better about things. Manush asked me into her office again and asked my opionion about the curriculum. I don't have the language skills to answer that yet. I can understand most of what she says. I can't reply. very frustrating. but, then I go home and I talk with my sister-in-law Anna and I feel better. Anna is great! Her son Narek just turned 3 on Saturday and she has a three week old. I help out where I can. Believe it or not, I iron the swaddling clothes for Aron, her 3 week old. Yup, they swaddle babies here. Four layers of clothe wrapped around the babies. No diapers. Well, I have seen women use diapers with their babies but, I have also seen them re-use disposable diapers after they wash them out. Huh. Anna wants to lose weight after this second baby. I live in a country where they believe that drinking water will make you fat. I drink 2-3 liters of water a day. Anna said to me that I drink a lot of water. I told her I like water. She said it will make me fat. I said, nope, it won't. she asked what do I know that she doesn't know? And I told her that in America I drank a lot of soda and no water and gained weight. when i left america, cut down on how much soda I drink and increased how much water I drink. She asked if she could drink water too. I said sure! then yesterday she said again that she doesn't know why but armenians believe that drinking water will make you fat. I said that water has no calories (I looked that word up and felt like an idiot because it is the same word in armenian!) Calories are what makes you gain weight. and I told her if she drinks water, it will help her to produce milk for her baby. we shall see what happens. We make faces at each other and tell each other we are crazy. The latest thing is we kick each others behinds. She says I am too tall for her to kick. So, I stoop down. We also talked about bras the other day. She showed me her bra has bumps on the inside to help massage her which is supposed to help her produce milk. I told her about our nursing bras in america.

Showers: I do have hot water at my house and do not need to take a bucket bath. After you shower and come out into the family room (the shower room is off of the family room) whoever is there says "Anush" or "Apress" Basically kinda like congratulations. Well, one time I came out and there was only Narek watching cartoons in the room. I thought I wouldn't get the usual greeting. He turned toward me, smiled and said Apress Lola. He

Narek loves those cartoons. His favorite are the Bugs Bunny ones. We have satellite tv and we get a French channel called Boomerang that shows American cartoons. He will walk into the living room and say "Mushika! oozumes Mushika!" Cartoons, I want cartoons!"

We also get a Georgian channel that shows American movies duped over into Russian. I watched a Clint Eastwood Man without a name movie yesterday. You know, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Those kind of movies. So, I watched that while ironing. Speaking of Georgia. I hear that they have a grape motive decorating everything. Well, on my walk to work the other day, I looked down and noticed on the manhole cover, a grape motive. Hmm.... I wander if that was manufactored in Georgia? I don't see grape motives anywhere else.

whew! I had a lot to say. I don't know when I will be writing in here again. maybe once a month. Take care everyone! Laura
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