Category Archives: Language learning

Sunday lunch

The mass at Tatev monastery is a real workout. The service lasts at least two hours, during which the congregation stands. At intervals the faithful must dip to touch the floor, kneel for protracted periods on slabs of stone, and … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Christianity, Church, Cross-cultural understanding, drinking, Food, friendship, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, Religion, Social niceties, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Women | Leave a comment

In the Pink at the Raspberry Festival

The mayor was wearing a shiny blue suit with a silvered stripe. He stood out in the heat of the day, not least because almost everyone around him was attired in raspberry pink. The occasion was the Raspberry festival, held … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Beauty, Belfast, Cross-cultural understanding, family, Food, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, love, Northern Ireland, Nostalgia, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Vodka, Women, work | Leave a comment

Taxi Talk

Ara taught himself English from an old phrase book. He was 10 years old and Armenia was at war with Nagorno-Karabakh. His world was an uncertain and dangerous place and Armenia’s economy was in tatters. In 1994 there was nowhere … Continue reading

Posted in apricots, Armenia, Beauty, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, Drugs, Environment, family, friendship, Great weekends, Household tips, Jermuk, Language learning, Nagorno-Karabakh, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Vacation spots | 1 Comment

So what do you do there anyway?

I spent the 4th of July cutting out pictures of hamburger buns, cheese slices and dill pickles. Black and white pictures, because we don’t have a color printer here. I used the pictures to teach an English conversation class about … Continue reading

Posted in Advertising, Advice, America, Armenia, Caucausus, Cooking, Cross-cultural understanding, Education, family, Food, Homebrew, Household tips, Language learning, laundry, Marketing, Moonshine, Mulberries, Peace Corps, personal failings, Press, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Vodka, Women, work, Yogurt | 4 Comments

Don’t hold the front page 

There are no newspapers and magazines to be found in Goris. And, now I come to think of it, there were none in the small local shops in my first village–although that was less surprising. In Yerevan, where I know … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Borders, Caucausus, Cross-cultural understanding, Education, General knowledge, Language, Language learning, Media, Nagorno-Karabakh, National pride, Press, Refugees, Syria, Television, The Archers, travel, Writing | Leave a comment

Double Trouble

Robert zoomed by his mother as she was painting her nails. He knocked the coffee table with his toy truck and nearly sent her bottle of blue nail polish flying. “Don’t do that” said Aleta. (She says it a lot. … Continue reading

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The Fool English

My infirmities have forced me to spend a lot of time in front of Armenian TV in the last few days and so I can report in detail on the schedule of the network channels.  There are prime time Hayastan … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, art, Ashton Kutcher, Brad Pitt, Cross-cultural understanding, Film industry, Hollywood, Language, Language learning, Literacy, Shakespeare, Television | Leave a comment

Bubble Trouble

I have been trying to make the perfect bubble mix in preparation for a community event on Sunday. The recipe promises giant, long-lasting rainbowed spheres and calls for ingredients including baking powder, cornstarch and glycerine in addition to liquid detergent … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, Beauty, Cross-cultural understanding, errors of judgement, friendship, Games, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, Peace Corps, personal failings, Things that gladden the heart, Village life | 3 Comments

The Road to Goris

I am laden down with a liter of homemade rose wine, a giant box of chocolates and half a hundredweight of homegrown dill and tarragon. These are my current host family’s gifts to my new family. Perhaps they hope to … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Cross-cultural understanding, Great weekends, Language learning, Peace Corps, Social niceties, Village life | 3 Comments

Lost for words. No happy endings. 

Let me start by saying that I know English is a nightmare to learn, what with all our irregular verbs and silent letters and eccentric colloquial quirks. Compared to English, Armenian is easy. Most verbs conform as though drilled by … Continue reading

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