6/20/10
Another week of PST is in the bag. It was a very good week. I am realizing that it is fun to be a student again. The language is hard and at times discouraging, but we are definitely making progress at a quick rate. It is hard to appreciate the progress of just 3 weeks when you are living in the language and still not able to make much sense of what people are saying. But bits and pieces are intelligible now. I have never fully learned a language but I think patience and baby steps are the key. We can now talk about food, family, time, as well as make future and past statements. We have also now learned the entire alphabet, which is a great feeling. Now I can actually look up words in my dictionary and try to pronounce them for my family. Sometime I will do a separate post on the alphabet because I think it’s cool and worthy of some limelight.
What else made it a good week? Well, the food has been awesome! My mom is a great cook. She made pizza yesterday with tomatoes, yeshik (think bologna), egg, and cheese. She also made this thing they call gata (I think) which was like a thin dense bread with a magical layer of icing near the top. I have no idea how they get the icing in there because the whole thing is only an inch thick or less. But that stuff is awesome. She also made some sort of pancake bread which was thick but sweet. The closest thing I could relate it to was cornbread. On the downside, I had tahn for the first time and am not a huge fan. It’s a yoghurt drink…involving water, yoghurt, and salt. The yoghurt here is sour, not sweet. It’s fine by itself but when you add salt to it and make it watery it’s not my favorite. But, I drink it when they give it to me because wouldn’t it be rude not to?
I also got to watch some World Cup soccer, which was a miracle after thinking I wouldn’t be able to watch any. Last Saturday night was sad for me because I missed out on England v. US, but Thursday they switched to the antennae at our house instead of the dish (“sputnik”). I watched Greece and Nigeria play. Then on Friday I got to watch the US game! So glorious. I didn’t see the beginning but I saw Slovenia’s second goal. I knew we would be okay, and sure enough, we came out blazing in the second half, scoring 3 goals. I’m not sure why the 3rd goal was disallowed, but it cost us 2 points in the standings. That’s 2 controversial goals disallowed in the last 2 World Cups for the US, a swing of 4 crucial points. I’m just hoping we can beat Algeria on Wednesday and that I can watch some of it!!
Yesterday we went to Hrazdan, a nearby city of probably 20-30K. It has a very nice central boulevard with some shops. We went to a bistro and had beers. Then we went to the internet café to get us some internet. That is always a battle against time. I always have a bunch of really good emails from all the people in my life, but I can never respond to them like I want to due to time. I hope that at my next site I can get an internet connection going so I can have better correspondence. If you’re reading this blog, then that has already happened. I digress…Hrazdan was very nice. It was much nicer than the main drag of Charentsavan.
The weather here right now is very comfortable. It can get a bit hot during the day walking to school in dress pants, but it is much more comfortable than I imagine the Midwest is currently. The absence of humidity has been huge in adjusting to the lack of showering.
I guess the takeaway from the past week is that I am grateful to be here. I am grateful for the opportunity to see the world like I am. I am thankful that the US is in a position to send volunteers to other countries to share in culture and provide skills. I feel more comfortable here…I feel a little more like part of the family. I am enjoying the challenge. And I am optimistic about the future while cherishing the moment.

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