Category Archives: know thyself

Burn Baby Burn

Aleta is the only person I know who can light an Armenian match. These non-incendiary items come in sad, damp boxes, with inadequate strike pads. Attempt to grip an Armenian match firmly, and its shaft will splinter as it connects … Continue reading

Posted in accident, Armenia, Cooking, craft activities, Cross-cultural understanding, Embarrassment, errors of judgement, fear, Fire, Food, gratitude, know thyself, life lessons, personal failings, resilience, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Winter | Leave a comment

In the Driving Seat

The Taxi driver’s intention was to frighten and bully me. He roared away from the train station in Yerevan at speed, grinding his gears as he went. I told him my destination, knowing it was about two kilometers  away. “Granny, … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Bullying, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, errors of judgement, fear, know thyself, Language, Language learning, Peace Corps, resilience, Social niceties, travel, Women, Youth | 4 Comments

Queening Around

I have had three chess lessons now, so obviously I am in a position to post about the game. And I am not a complete newbie. Goodness no! I have played chess before–or thought I had. Years ago, my father … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, chess, Education, Embarrassment, errors of judgement, Games, know thyself, Learning, life lessons, personal failings, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel | 2 Comments

Packing for Peace Corps

These scissors are the single most useful thing I have in Armenia. I didn’t bring them with me in either of my two enormous bags weighing 50lbs each, but found them in my Peace Corps medical kit. These are scissors … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Beauty, clothes, Cooking, Cross-cultural understanding, errors of judgement, Food, Household tips, joy, know thyself, packing, Peace Corps, personal failings, shopping, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel | 3 Comments

I don’t know myself at all.

Gazarnaguine they call it here. Carrot orange. The color of my hair ever since I was born. Admittedly my hair– much like the rest of me– has had a little help from the bottle this last twenty-five years, but still … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, bad hair day, Beauty, Belfast, clothes, Cross-cultural understanding, Embarrassment, errors of judgement, fashion, fear, friendship, know thyself, Northern Ireland, red head, Terrorism, Women | 1 Comment

The language of love: meet my best friend in Armenia

Elsa got past me this morning to hang a last load of my laundry on the line by the backdoor. She is very particular about pegging out. Underwear is discretely strung next to the pear tree,  and dark or colored … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Beauty, Cross-cultural understanding, family, Food, friendship, joy, know thyself, Language, love, personal failings, Things that gladden the heart, Women | 7 Comments

Learning to Travel Light

My straight-talking sister, having requested an update on my whereabouts, texted me just one word: gypsy. My guess is that she did not mean this in a “respect for the Romanies”, or even a “banjo-playing, gaily- coloured flounces, and horse-drawn … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, clothes, know thyself, packing, Peace Corps, personal failings, shopping, straight-talking sister, travel, Uncategorized | Leave a comment