Category Archives: Things that make a difference

Hajo to His Excellency

The outgoing Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of Armenia gets what it’s like to be a volunteer. After treating four of us to breakfast in Goris in April, Richard Mills and his wife Leigh Carter had to … Continue reading

Posted in Ambassador Richard M Mills Jr., America, Armenia, armenia’s revolution, Cross-cultural understanding, Damian Gorman, Diplomacy, friendship, Hanna Huntley, National Poetry Recitation Contest, Peace Corps Armenia, Poet In Residence, Summer camp, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference | Leave a comment

Twin Peaks

Heavy lifting. It’s what bras are for, and all of mine in Armenia had proved unequal to the task. Of the six I brought with me from home , one had pinched from the get-go, two had lost a wire … Continue reading

Posted in Ararat, Armenia, Beauty, Blessings, bras, clothes, Cross-cultural understanding, Design, Embarrassment, fashion, friendship, gratitude, Khor Virap, Mount Ararat, Peace Corps Armenia, personal failings, shopping, Social niceties, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, Underwear, visitors, Women | Leave a comment

Northern Ireland and Armenia: bordering on —well, what?

Above all else, politicians and peace-builders in Northern Ireland — not two completely overlapping groups— know that people find it hard to change. It is 20 years since the Good Friday agreement and many stumbling blocks to lasting peace and … Continue reading

Posted in America, Armenia, Belfast, Borders, Caucausus, Cross-cultural understanding, fear, Learning, life lessons, Millisle, Nagorno-Karabakh, National pride, Northern Ireland, Peace Corps, Peace Corps Armenia, Terrorism, Things that make a difference, travel, velvet revolution, war, Women | 3 Comments

Between a rock and a charred place.

Nane and her mother Knarik are tiny and perfect. They remind me of dolls who  dance on the top of music boxes, except they wear jeans and leather jackets.  Not the type for tutus, they wouldn’t thank you for satin … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, Armenia, Arson, clothes, Corruption, Cross-cultural understanding, family, fashion, Go Fund Me, kindness, Peace Corps, Peace Corps Armenia, shopping, Things that make a difference, Village life | Leave a comment

When World’s Collide

I am back home in Goris and enjoying a perfect dinner of Irish Wheaten bread with Armenian butter, salad, and cheese. The bread comes from Knott’s Bakery in Newtownards a no-nonsense town just outside Belfast, Northern Ireland. The tomatoes probably … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Cooking, Cross-cultural understanding, Food, friendship, gratitude, identity, Ireland, Local delicacies, Millisle, Northern Ireland, Nostalgia, online friends, packing, shopping, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, Village life, Women | Leave a comment

Leaving Armenia the hard way

I was booking my international flight by credit card when my friend called. He was planning some travel of his own. “We have the chance to visit Switzerland” he said, excited “Christoph asked us to come” Christoph once visited Goris … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, Schengen visa, Things that make a difference, travel, Travel to Switzerland | 2 Comments

Tayto take Armenia

I was posting a present for my sister when the lady in the post office said she had parcels for me. Not one parcel, but two.  I was surprised. Sure, my birthday is tomorrow but I had not anticipated any … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Blessings, Emilia Simonian, family, Food, food safety, Fundraising, gratitude, joy, Local delicacies, Northern Ireland, Serendipity, Tandragee, Tayto, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, welcome | 2 Comments

Call me Old Fashioned

“Eat something” said the Doctor “and relax. Walk around a bit and then come back in an hour so I can take your blood pressure”. I left Peace Corps’ building in Yerevan and wondered where the nearest food could be … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, cocktails, Cross-cultural understanding, drinking, eating out, Food, gratitude, Happiness, Peace Corps Armenia, Social niceties, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, travel, welcome | 5 Comments

The Cambridge grads, pet people and STEM lovers–where are they?

It is easy to see why Cambridge want her. Emilia combines a ferocious intellect with a passion for animal welfare, and a desire to contribute to the future of her country. She is an all-round amazing young woman-fit, modest, kind … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Cross-cultural understanding, Emilia Simonian, Fundraising, Peace Corps, Peace Corps Armenia, Things that gladden the heart, Things that make a difference, Women, work, young women, Youth | 3 Comments

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