Kyle’s Journey in Armenia

Just Another Peace Corps Blog

  • Kyle? In Armenia?

    My name is Kyle, and I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Noyemberyan, Armenia. I lived here from 2006-2008, and worked as an Information Technology volunteer for the US Peace Corps. In addition to my primary assignment developing my region's WiFi internet, I also taught computer and English classes to area youth. Thank you for visiting!

    This blog remains available for historical purposes, but is no longer actively maintained.

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Feb 2007
Kyle Who?
Posted in Peace Corps by Kyle at 10:32 am | 1 Comment »

A month and four days, not too long since the last update, right? At least they’ve been a little busier and more productive than the last month and four days. For those who are wondering: I am alive, I am healthy, and I am happy. I am also still really cold. Last week, we had the first hint of spring and I wen the day without a coat or long underwear. The next day it snowed. Apparently Puxitony Phil’s prediction runs opposite on the other side of the Prime Meridian? (Ir)regardless it’s really cold, but I’m well. Work is going well. I’m coordinating a nationwide Women’s Day essay contest, training to run a marathon in November, working on a lot of other projects. That’s work, this is life:

Colonel Hovanisyan, In the Library, With the Candlestick

The second week of February, we went to Peace Corps’ sanctioned Project Design & Management (PDM) workshop in Tsakadzor. This place – where to begin – was a former sanitarium for Russian writers, and the decorating was designed to inspire the likes of Tolstoy and others. Personally, it would have driven me to mass-murder. The place was down-right creepy. There was a hallway where, if you placed a pair of ghost-twin-girls and blood pouring from the “Red Rum” inscribed walls, would have resembled a scene from “The Shining”. Or perhaps the courtyard, billiard room or library would have only gotten you mass-murdered (or at least would provided the secret passage back to the Ball Room). The place was downright scary, but it was a good workshop so I’m glad I survived to put things into action. Some of the PCV and counterparts’ livers may not have been so lucky, but we have to find our inspiration somewhere.

Afterwards was a little different, and certainly defined our PC-Armenia catchphrase, “This Isn’t Your Mother’s Peace Corps”. Tsakadzor is also the site of the newly-renovated ski resort, so I spent an entire day skiing down modern Italian slopes, donning modern ski equipment, and carving powder with the President of Armenia (he’s an avid ski buff, and may or may not have played a part in getting this place built). Well, maybe they have this in Togo, right?

Saved by the Axbar, The Wedding

I found out last Friday that my host brother from my summer host family in Bazum was getting married (on Sunday)!! Overjoyed, I hopped on the mini-bus from Yerevan and arrived Saturday evening in Bazum. Bazum was a place of many cultural firsts, so it seems fitting my first wedding was there as well. First, the background: my host brother, Tigran, lived in Russia all summer and I did not meet him til October. His wife, Hasmik, has lived in Russia since she was 11. She is now 20, and came back to see her sister, our neighbor, for Nor Tari. She arrived Dec 31st. By January 6th, they had fallen in love, and Tigran “kidnapped” her, which basically means bringing her to live with him. Normally this ceremony is done with a line of cars with pink bows on the front – they take the girl from her family, drive around town honking their horns, and then deliver her to her new destination. We have a mountain path, so they did that instead. Anyway, 20 days later, it was time for the wedding party…

Saturday night was prep night. We made a lot of dolma (not again!), a lot of salad, set a huge table, complete with two cases of vodka. We did not have an official wedding ceremony, as they don’t have the money, but we did have the resulting party on Sunday. The groom’s family showed up with many presents, and we sat down for dinner, which quickly turned into a toasting festival which put Nor Tari to shame. Once thing that irked me a bit was how the bride and groom were rather ignored, and the dinner became a flaunting of family pride, which nearly evolved into a fight between the two sides of the tables. Luckily a few more friendly toasts and some boisterous Armenian dancing settled things down, and by the end of the night everyone was happy. We even had “that drunk Uncle” at the party, so it was truly a complete wedding experience.

…And Back to Noyemberyan

After being gone for the past few weeks, it was nice to be back home finally. Clubs are back on, grants are being written, and bowls of borsht are again in front of me. My English clubs continue to make me laugh, though, and are still somewhat the light of my life1. Last Thursday, we played a game called “Mad Debate”. Alex and I wrote random words on paper, the students drew them from a hat, and debated which was better for people. For instance, we had “Ships” vs. “Birthday Parties” and “Guns” vs. “Pizza”. The kids at these clubs continue to impress me, and they really are getting a lot better and more confident in their speech. My favorite moments came during the debate of were during two arguments: The first was “lawyers” vs. “socks”, in which my friend Arus kept referring to them as “liars” unknowingly. The second was “soap operas” vs. “schools”, where “soaps” came out on top simply by noting “it keeps the old crazy women inside and off the streets.” I love these kids!

I apologize for my poor blogging habits – I will get pictures posted within the next week for all to see. Also, I’m heading to Tbilisi (the capital of Georgia) in two weeks, so look for my inevitable ramblings about my first McDonalds in 9 months coming soon!

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One Response:

Kyle’s Journey in Armenia » Blog Archive » I Should Have Known When the Chicken Arrived… said:

[…] brother’s cousin, Sambul, finally decided to tie the knot yesterday. As you may remember, I went to a wedding last year, but because of that family’s financial situation, they did not do many of the Armenian […]

The views expressed herein are the views of the author and do not express those of Peace Corps Armenia or the United States government.