The Gloom of January

I think everyone can agree that January is the crappiest month of the year.  It’s cold, gray, and doesn’t seem to have an end.  I pulled out my winter armor back in October.  The ground has been white since November.  And we have at least 2 more months of winter, if not 3 (depends who you ask).  I’m tired of it.

Good riddance to my last Armenian winter.  At the moment misery’s company are rejection and brokenness.  Rejection because I just heard from our training director that I am being cut from the roster of trainers for the PC Project Design and Management workshop.  Not enough trainees.  Bummer, as I was looking forward to the Training of Trainers this week, which about 8 of my friends will complete, and then the actual workshop in February.  Brokenness because my laptop battery essentially died yesterday, effectively tethering me to the AC cord for the rest of my service.  I was always a desktop guy anyway.

If you stir all of that together, the small daily disappointments, the bone-chilling cold, the endless snow, the usual sadness that Vardenis emits, being away from the people you care about, it’s enough to drive a man to write a woe-is-me blog post.  When I feel this way I see anger, restlessness, and hopelessness.

When I feel this way, I just wait for my environment to pick me up.

Inevitably, I will see something or hear something that puts my own self-pity into its proper place.  That is, its “not really that bad in the grand scheme of things” place.  I see dogs running around on 3 legs.  Okay, at least I have my health.  I see others trudging along the sidewalks, going about their daily lives.  I wonder if it’s a blessing or a curse that they don’t know what life is like in America, or many other foreign countries for that matter.  All they know, and all they will know, is Vardenis.  The ignorance is a double-edged sword that allows them to subsist in a less than ideal situation while preventing them from experiencing many great things.

When I got to the office this morning, I heard stories about good young men being sent to the army and coming back maimed, physically and psychologically.  One man, apparently of good character, strong, came back with a concussion and the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome.  After a beating to the head at the hands of his officer, I’m sure the concussion wasn’t treated properly.  His mental state has been permanently altered.  He’s now in jail after altercating with a knife during one of his dark moments.  The other young man lives in my building.  Russian father, Armenian mother.  Light eyes and hair, like me.  A really nice, handsome young guy apparently.  He came back with epilepsy.  Again, beatings are the suspected cause.  He can’t afford medicine to control his seizures.  He can’t work, can’t marry.

My problems are nothing.

Then there was some other news too.  France’s Senate passed a bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide.  Obviously a big deal here, and actually a pretty big deal in the world.  France is a powerful player, as is Turkey.  This action has really pissed the Turks off.  They have promised sanctions, cuts of diplomatic ties, and more.  But what remains to be seen is what the true fallout will be.  I believe Turkey is just bluffing.  Due to EU trade agreements it has signed it cannot treat France any differently, economically speaking, than its other EU partners.  And doing anything too radical will surely hurt their chances of joining the EU.  Seeing the backlash from the Turkish side has been really fascinating.  It’s like when you catch some slimy criminal, present him with the facts and data that prove he is a slime ball, and he erupts in anger at the accusation because he has something to hide.  Turkey is squirming right now.

If Turkey really cared about its future, it would admit to the Genocide and apologize for it.  It’s a terrible crime that should be an undisputed fact.  The world is slowly agreeing that it happened, country by country, action by action.  There is a path out of this after all.  As soon as Turkey admits and apologizes, it begins moving forward.  The EU is possible.  Everyone will forgive Turkey and move on.  We are not accusing present day Turks of doing anything wrong.  Germany is the example often cited.  It scarred history with the Holocaust.  And now it is one of the most powerful countries in the world.  They get along well enough with their neighbors.  They have moved on.  And that happened 25 years AFTER the Armenian Genocide.  Turkey, just admit it and move on already.

I digress.  While the sky here is gray, at least it’s not falling.  And I can thank the world around me for showing me that on a daily basis, even if sometimes I don’t want to see it.


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