T-3 Months: With Speed

We’re over 23 months in now. Just a few more left until this whole experience implodes in on itself into a series of memories. For the rest of my life I’ll be hard pressed to not start every sentence, “When I was in Armenia…”

Recently the days have simply been dropping off the calendar like bread crumbs from my table to the floor. It seems that just yesterday I was planting trees but now it’s 11 days later. This phenomenon of time moving quickly is due to another phenomenon called Being Busy. Quite rare in Armenia, Being Busy is most likely to be found in and around the capital city. It’s extraordinarily rare that we could find a case of Being Busy in the Vardenis area.

I joke (and possibly poorly). I’d like to think that most other PCVs are busier than me at any point in time. And the Armenians are generally busy, besides males aged 16-80. But it has been a busy little period. There’s been stuff going on both at work and in the personal life, the combination of which has turbo charged my sense of time.

Work-wise it’s been a search for a new translator at work (now completed), trying to wrap up the Novus lessons, and a series of meetings with/for Peace Corps. Now that we have a translator we are continuing the strategic planning process. Gosh darnit I may not know what I’m doing but I have to act like it for the Armenian’s sake. So we trudge ahead. There’s other stuff that I need to get done too before I say my final hajoghs. I’d like to get a solar consultant out to the Daranak camp to get a good estimate for the project I wrote. I need to do all the bureaucratic paper work of the leaving PCV. And I have an idea for a small little project that would be a perfect going away thing. All of this work is exciting and not yet stressful because there is still a lot of time. But I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get it all done.

Besides the work, I just recently had a guest this week. You may remember Ula from the first months in Vardenis. Well, she came back to visit! And she stayed with me for 4 or 5 days. It was a flurry of visits, memories, and fun times. She was a great and easy guest. However, if any of you know me by now, you’ll know that I need to curl up in a little ball and not see another person for about 3 weeks now. That’s hard to do though because there is a lot of work still to be done! In the garden, that is. I’ve also been continuing to help Ludy in her garden for the epic potato plant. Today our efforts were partly foiled by rain. We could have easily finished today, but instead will take another stab at it this week after the election.

Some part of this gal’s body was turned into taco meat for my guests. Appetizing!

I can say that despite all this activity I have been very aware of a shift in the feel of my service. It now feels like I’m entering the goodbye stage. Maybe it’s the new people coming in a few weeks. Or maybe it’s the new spring weather. But I think more than anything it’s that everyone knows my departure is imminent. Even the people who don’t know about that are acting differently. The little boys rarely bother me anymore. The stares are at an all time low. Even the old barber that I’ve walked by every day for 2 years has started talking with me. There’s no doubt that I’ll never feel this Armenian again in my life. I unconsciously made a facial expression at work the other day and Varditer laughed. She said it was like an Armenian. My language has reached a comfortable level where I’m able to really have conversations with people. And I even find myself doing the Armenian tongue click thing before saying no or when something is bad. This is my cute, “Oh wow, look how integrated I am!” moment that every obnoxious PCV has. For that I apologize.

The warm ending begins embracing me. I wonder if it’s like hypothermia, where you become delusional and eventually feel exhilarating warmth, ripping off your clothes even though you’re freezing. Perhaps this feeling of integration is no more than the body’s way of coping with two years of stress. Or perhaps it’s just me allowing this wonderful journey to have the bittersweet end it was always destined.

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2 Responses to “T-3 Months: With Speed”

  1. Peter Says:

    Well… that photo is a little morbid, but you do what you have to in order to survive in a second-world country!

  2. icenugget Says:

    That is a grass-fed, hormone-free, no antibiotics anywhere around, organic cow head right there! Is that so 2nd world? But yeah, rather unaffordable on our budget, similar to America.

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