Category Archives: joy

Swirling for the dyspraxic

My approach to drinking wine is very much like my approach to playing chess. I  am terribly keen, but not very well-informed. This can cause me to make poor decisions, both at the bar, and on the board. While my … Continue reading

Posted in apricots, Armenia, drinking, Education, friendship, joy, Local delicacies, National pride, Soviet Union, wine | Leave a comment

The Joys of (Nearly) Spring: Artistic life in our part of Armenia.

Later this afternoon I will travel in the bumpy backseat of a spring green Lada to meet the young women of Halidzor, a village about 20km from here. The taxi comes courtesy of a former resident of Halidzor who asked … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Armenian art, Armenian writers, art, Beauty, creative writing, Fundraising, joy, Peace Corps, philanthropy, spring, story-telling, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, Village life, young women | 1 Comment

Teachable moments in Dubai

I once had a boyfriend who said I could suck the fun out of anything. Fair warning: I am about to give this treatment to Dubai, a place I, perhaps unexpectedly, now adore. Everything you have ever heard about Dubai … Continue reading

Posted in Architecture, Beauty, Capitalism, Cross-cultural understanding, Design, drinking, Dubai, eating out, fashion, Food, Islam, joy, Learning, life lessons, Marketing, Middle East, National pride, shopping, Things that gladden the heart, travel, UAE, Vacation spots, Women | 3 Comments

Traveling hopefully

Looking at the New Year posts of some of my Peace Corps colleagues here in Armenia I realize that they have it pretty tough. Tougher for some of them than I had realized. Reflecting on 2017, they talk about what … Continue reading

Posted in 2018, America, Armenia, Being a Grandmother, Blessings, family, fashion, friendship, gratitude, joy, know thyself, Learning, life lessons, Lonely this Christmas, Mother/daughter dynamic, New Year, Peace Corps, personal failings, resilience, social media, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, work, Writing | 1 Comment

Comfort Food

When Hanna died, we crawled to Peace Corps HQ in Yerevan, and huddled together damply in a shocked and miserable heap. Olivia and Hannah, two volunteers a couple of years ahead of our cohort, made mac n’ cheese for all … Continue reading

Posted in America, American holidays, Armenia, Armenian art, Cooking, drinking, family, Food, friendship, gratitude, Gyumri, joy, Local delicacies, Moonshine, Sisters, Thanksgiving, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel | Leave a comment

Vegetarians: look away

To Gyumri to attend the Cow Head Festival, run by Mr. Digital Pomegranate (not his real name). For me, Caleb and Matt (the two big, bearded Southern gentlemen pictured), the event kicked off at 5pm on Saturday and cost 1000 … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Cooking, Cross-cultural understanding, eating out, Food, friendship, Great weekends, identity, joy, Local delicacies, Marketing, Offal, Peace Corps, travel | 2 Comments

The children of Lor?

46 children attend school in the village of Lor in Syunik Marz, Armenia. There are twelve forms, 0-12, with a scant handful of children in each. 46 is fewer children than last year, and more than next year. Worldvision, a … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Armenian art, Armenian writers, Beauty, Cross-cultural understanding, eating out, Education, Emigration, Environment, Food, friendship, gratitude, Great weekends, Halloween, identity, joy, love, National pride, Nature, Peace Corps, Poetry, resilience, Syunik Marz, Things that make a difference, travel, Village life, work, Youth | Leave a comment

Seeing Armenia with fresh eyes. Part one

It feels like I spent a week on the waltzers and in truth, I am still a bit giddy. Part of me blames Charles Masraff of Armenian Wine Importers Ltd who introduced me to Trinity 6100 Rose, a most delicious pale … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Armenian art, Armenian writers, art, Beauty, chess, craft activities, Cross-cultural understanding, drinking, eating out, Food, friendship, Fundraising, gratitude, Great weekends, History, Jermuk, joy, love, Mount Ararat, National pride, Nature, Peace Corps, Soviet Union, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel | 2 Comments

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do

Levon Aronian, 2017 Chess World Cup winner, got married yesterday. The Armenian grandmaster and his Filipina-Australian bride, also a chess champion, had their wedding photos taken at Zvartnots cathedral. I know, because I was there. Chess is Premier League combined … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Armenia, Armenian art, Beauty, chess, Christianity, Church, Cross-cultural understanding, gratitude, Great weekends, identity, joy, love, National pride, pagan ritual, sporting achievements, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Weddings, Women | Leave a comment

Well turned-out Tatik

Every Tatik in Armenia wears the same outfit, day in, day out: a dress or pinny with deep pockets for holding freshly picked cucumbers, new-laid eggs or the like. This is accessorized with mens’ socks pulled to mid-shin level–often two … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, fashion, joy, National pride, shopping, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Women, work | 2 Comments