Category Archives: know thyself

The real thing: not sugar that looks like salt

“Your stories matter” said the poet. “They are how you make yourself known to others. They are a way of stretching out your hand to someone else.” Damian says that the mistake most newbie poets make is that they feel … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Armenian writers, creative writing, Cross-cultural understanding, Damian Gorman, family, Hanna Huntley, know thyself, Learning, life lessons, love of words, National pride, Poet In Residence, Poetry, public speaking, story-telling, Summer camp, Teaching, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, Writing, Writing Workshop, young women, Youth | 2 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

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

Mansplaining in Marrakech

All roads in the Medina in Marrakech lead to the big square, the Jemaa el Fna. Specifically, the road from my Riad. “Turn left at the mosque and keep left”, said Said. “About 20 minutes”. Despite this instruction, it took … Continue reading

Posted in joy, know thyself, Marrakech, Morocco, shopping, travel | Leave a comment