December Rambles

T-6 days. The big man is getting ready. People are wrapping things up at work, or are already done. Heck, a year ago I already had my Christmas bash by now! In many ways, these days leading up to the main event are the best.

I’m not sure what I want to write about here. Nothing groundbreaking has happened, really. I’ll just go randomly like I normally do.

Varditer came back to work on Thursday. It was great to have her back. The office is a better place with her there. And I also realize that she is one of my best friends here too. She does a great job of including me in the staff’s conversations when I don’t understand what is going on (most of the time).

Work has been pretty good. I’m still teaching English classes twice a week, and I’m enjoying it. The students are older, which works well for me. By older, I mean they are mostly in their late teens. It’s fun to teach them words, phrases, and subtleties of our language. There are so many oddities that we don’t think about. For instance, try explaining why we can’t say “I want 3 breads.” But wait, you can say “I want 3 loaves of bread.” You can count a loaf, but not a bread. The more I think about it, the less sense it makes. So in those ways I feel sorry for the students! Also, this week we will be beginning a training series for the staff. I’m doing presentations on Time Management and CV Writing. I’m glad to be doing this, as it is my first real attempt at building capacity across the whole staff at the Y. The training series will continue after the winter break. I will also begin work on the strategic plan, which might be a big undertaking. There are a couple other ideas I have too that I would like to begin working on soon.

Yesterday I got to talk to my parents and sister, which was great. It was like we were all together again, even though we are in Colorado, Illinois, and Gegharkunik. I miss them a lot, and sometimes it is hard. But I also knew that when I signed up for this it meant missing things like Christmas for 2 years. On paper it seems like a small sacrifice in the big picture, and it is, but in the minutiae of day to day life, it’s a big loss!

Speaking of that, I will be heading to Gavar next weekend for a PCV Christmas celebration. I’m really looking forward to this. I had a good time celebrating Thanksgiving with PCVs, and I’m sure Christmas will be the same. There’s something fascinating about spending time with all these people you have little in common with. But there are two traits we all have in common, and they allow us to get along great. We’re all American, and we’re all in Armenia.

On the apartment front, my hopes have been rekindled. The apartment that I originally submitted paperwork for and then found out was going to be rented to someone else, well it’s free again now. The guy who was going to live there got stationed somewhere else, so no one ever actually moved in. So I filled out the same paperwork again (PC is still part of the government) and submitted to PC. The big hurdle is getting someone from PC to come out and approve the apartment before it gets snatched up by someone else. Wishfully thinking, they will come this week, leading to my move-in after the Gavar Christmas as a late present. Reality says that it might not be this week, and that I still need to temper my hopes at improving my living situation. Since I’ve done my part for now, I just have to sit back, relax, and not think about it too much.

It never did snow last week. The weather has been odd. It’s ominous every other day, but nothing happens. If the snow can hold out for my weekend travels, I will be a happy man in Armenia.

We are approaching the shortest daylight day of the year. With the extra darkness, coupled with the cold temps indoors (seeing my breath is a normal occurrence now), I have been going to bed earlier. Part of that was a response to feeling crappy after my flu shot. But then those symptoms subsided and I still found myself yawning and head-bobbing at 10:00. I have been getting a hearty 8-10 hours of sleep a night. It’s probably the most sleep I’ve ever gotten consecutively in my life. Still, I kind of have a cold now. Healthiness seems to be a moving target here that I just can’t quite hit. Regardless, I know the foreign culture and language, even if they do seem more familiar now, tire me throughout the day. As one volunteer said, back home you might have to wear your armor at work, but here you don’t get to take your armor off until you close the door to your room to go to sleep.

Oh yeah, the Polish girls adopted 2 street dogs last week. It’s one of those things that kind of makes you, as a 3rd party, cringe because you know what the outcome will be. Short term outcome: Pooping, peeing, and restlessness in the house. Long term outcome: Dogs will probably die. I haven’t shared much about the animal life here because it’s just depressing. But the dogs that survive are tough. People just don’t have pets here like we do back home. The puppies are adorable, but I’m glad they aren’t mine. Seeing them brought out the American germ-a-phobia that I had suppressed so well during my time here. Black stuff under my fingernails at all times? No problem. Didn’t wash my hands before this meal? Whatever. Two showers so far this month? Doesn’t bother me. Hanging my clean clothes to dry on a line that is in the direct path of smoke from a trash-burning-fire? The newfound smokey flavoring of my undershirts probably masks my BO. But watching the puppies find, and then run up to and sniff a dead dog in the junk pile behind the Polish girls’ apartment? Hmm, they’re not that cute anymore.

If you are still reading, congratulations on navigating through a series of completely unrelated paragraphs. Your resolve is firm. I wish you, reader, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. If you are bored over the holidays, come check out my blog, since I am planning several more posts. I want to get one up midweek actually. But I do know that it’s quite a busy time, so please be safe and enjoy your time with family and friends!


5 Responses to “December Rambles”

  1. Ben Says:

    Part of the reason I love your blog is the completely unrelated paragraphs….and your incredibly depressing outlook on the dogs even though it’s just days before Christmas. Well done good sir, well done!

  2. Gail Says:

    I agree with Ben. Do we really need that kind of puppy news? I know you’re keeping it real, but I had bad puppy dreams last night.

  3. icenugget Says:

    I knew I shouldn’t have touched that subject!

  4. Peter Says:

    Hehe, Paris Hilton can put her dogs in prissy purses and dress them up and all that, but in the end, dogs LOVE to sniff stinky stuff.

  5. icenugget Says:

    Well said Peter. They also like to eat doodie from time to time. Remember that, folks.

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