Saturday, June 24, 2006

So you're thinking three messages in one day

I'm so sorry to do this but I was just able to read Mrs. Wilson's comment and I felt that I have been leaving out some physical environment coments. Let me say that right now the weather is my ideal. It is sunny all day long with warm temperatures and at night it is cooler (50s). This is very very abnormal for this region. In fact, it's bad because of our potato garden, my mom is praying for rain every day. For me, however it's great.
My home is comfortable now and I even think it might be livable in the winter as we have a gas heater in our living room. I find myself, however, noticing the holes in walls and around doors, the spaces where windows don't close all the way or where there might be a crack and I get very fearful for the winter. Oh well, I suppose I'll just deal with that as it comes.
I travel right now by Peace Corps transportation but in the future when I am assigned my site (July 6) and am living on my own (I mean at my own site with a new host family...I'll comment on this more later...) I will travel to Yerevan and other villages by Marchutney. A marchutney is a van, like a 15 passenger van that people travel in like a taxi. There are buses, which is what I use now to visit Vanadzor on 'unofficial days' (like Father's day) and then of course taxis around as well.
The cities look like regular cities but the villages are poorer. The greatest trial with the underdevelopment is not really bad at all just quite an adjustment from someone who has such a strong love for the Worthington bike path and tree-lined Bexley roads...that is the unpaved, dirt roads frequented by our village cows. Every morning Stephanie and I go for walks up and down these drastic hills with the beautiful mountains surrounding us but we can't look at the scenery we must look down for a few reasons. 1) we need to watch out for holes or large rocks 2) we do not want to step in a little mess left by the horses or cows...these are prevalent and 3) women are very modest here--by nature it is difficult for me to not smile at strangers so it's just easier if I don't even acknowledge that they are there. It's hard and makes me feel cold and rude but it is a cultural etiquette I'm adjusting to. Anyway, walks are a great workout and are serving their purpose here just as they always did in the states.
My home is nice. It has a kitchen, living room, family room and two bedrooms. My mother sleeps in a large bed in the family room where the t.v. and gas heater are located (we don't need the heater right now). Our toilet and shower room are located downstairs (you exit the house and go down the stairs) in a type of basement area that is still above ground. I'm sorry I don't know how to explain it. We have three pigs and a few chickens (I don't know how many but I enjoy their eggs each morning) and then a potato/cabbage garden. I hoed the garden with my mom the other day--it's tough work! Please do not generalize the country based on my situation. Each volunteer has a different living situation and the descrepencies are great among even next door neighbors. Stephanie, for example, has an 'agitator' to wash her clothes, Heather, for example, has hot water inside the house. Everyone is different. I like my situaiton and find it very livable and even comfortable. I have my own room with a beautiful view of the mountains. I have four hangers but nonetheless a closet and table and bed. I have a nice vanity as well. My real father, Allan, drew a good comparison that living here is kind of like living in rural Ohio in the 1930's or 1940's. It's nothing like America today but it's also not bad or unbearable. It's just life.


Anonymous said...

It's the little things that we all forget to do that people appreciate. I'm sorry that you can't "flash" that smile of yours to the people on the streets over there....(we all know that smile:))but at least you can keep making your "cards" and spreading some cheer that way in a country where the people apparently don't know what it's like to be appreciated. Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Greetings from Toledo, where I read your posting. I'm working with Grandpa Z. so he can read your blog and send messages. I'll be sending a letter with more news later today or Monday. It's great to read about your experiences. KWF. Love Dad

Anonymous said...

Grandma and I enjoyed your message. I will write more later.
Love Grandpa Z.

Anonymous said...


Great job with the Director. Your networking skills prove to be functional world-wide. It sounds like you find ways to touch people without your smile on the streets. Keep plugging away at the language...soon you will being touching hearts with your words and your actions. Congratulations on everything you have accomplished thus far...making such an important friend, maintaining a positive attitude concerning your living conditions, making friends (American and Armenian), etc. You are amazing, missed, and loved.

Tu Amigo!


P.S. Guatemala may not being going along quite as well as Armenia, but it is going well.

Ann W said...

Sarah, Can you update us on how quickly surface (snail) mail is getting to you? And when you move on July 6, will you be off the internet? Ann
p.s. I'm putting a small pkg in the mail tomorrow. Look for it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

Happy Birthday! (I am reading your postings a few days late. It is really the 26th here.)

I hope things are going well. The descriptions of your home and your living situation are very good. Honestly I had no idea what Armenia was like, so this was very helpful. I will continue to check back periodically.

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. You are doing such a wonderful, courageous thing. We all know what a great person you are and now the world has the opportunity to see it and to experience those great gifts first hand!

Take care,

Katie A (LOL Family)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

I'll be sure Grandma & Grandpa H. read this later. They are here in South Jersey and doing well. They really enjoyed your letter.

Interesting info. Keep on blogging!

Aunt Tree

J. B. said...

Hi, Sarah,
Your postings are quite interesting; keep telling us about the area and your work as well as your encounters. I can just visualize you cautiously walking down the dirt road trying to miss the "cow pies." !!!
I visited Hannah at her new apartment today and got to hear about her orientation at the hospital. She's doing great at facing the changes in her life "post college."
Your anecdote about the thank you note sounded like someone right out of Guidepost magazine. :)
Take care, "Mom" Bridger

Anonymous said...

Sarah, Is the snail mail getting to you yet? Jeff is home now. He's suppose to be writing you to tell you all about his trip. Love, Mom