Category Archives: Social niceties

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

Armenia through fresh eyes: Part Two

A day out with Ara is bettered only by an evening at home with him and his family.  Thursday was his youngest son’s birthday–8 years old. There was a big party with 16 kids and a  cake in the shape … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, chess, Cooking, Cross-cultural understanding, drinking, family, Food, friendship, Games, Moonshine, Mulberries, Social niceties, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Vodka | Leave a comment

I made them myself

I have taken my attempts at host country integration a little further than most Peace Corps Volunteers in their first three months of service, in that I have seen the inside of an Armenian operating theater, and a large number … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Food, Gallbladder, Gallstones, Healthcare, Illness, Peace Corps, Sickness, Social niceties, Things that gladden the heart, Wellness | 7 Comments

Lunch Potato Dinner Potato

Bile has always been my favorite body fluid, with its Elizabethan associations of vituperation and coruscation. Imagine my distress then, when I learned that, due to a gallbladder silted with more stones than an Armenian gorge, my own bile was … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, Cross-cultural understanding, fear, friendship, Healthcare, Illness, laundry, Sickness, Social niceties, Syunik Marz, travel, Women | 4 Comments

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

At the Shops

Everything in Armenia looks like I built it. Skirting boards stop short of the door trim. Plastic piping pokes through jagged holes in plasterboard and tiling tails off when the money runs out. The whole country is not quite finished … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, Candy, Capitalism, Caucausus, Cross-cultural understanding, Food, Household tips, Nostalgia, shopping, Social niceties, Village life, Women, work | Leave a comment

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