Back Home

It’s been already three months since my arrival to Estonia. Don’t know how many of you are still following this blog, but I’ve felt already for some time that I need a closure for this chapter of my life.

You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone. I’ve felt it thousands of times but I never learn. I miss Armenia so much. I could talk for days what’s so good about this country and culture.

It took me a lot of time to get adjusted to Estonian culture again, even more than it took to get used to Armenia. But that’s exactly what I was told. That it’s harder when you come back.

Things have slowly gone back to normal. I now have a summer job and got accepted to university in Tartu. I really do hope that the exciting life of a student will take my thoughts away from Armenia. Still I feel that I need to go back to Caucasia and the Balkans soon. Not for good, I am pretty sure that I’m more of a Northern country material, but something about Armenia, Georgia and Macedonia really got to me.

I never got my brochure published and I haven’t had my photo exhibition yet, but I’m still planning to prepare the exhibition for autumn. So, anyone who is interested, contact me about the dates later on. I will definitely try to post about it here too.

All in all, I think this year wasn’t a waste. It was mostly fun, a bit productive and of course, there were some tears, but what else teaches you better. I grew as a person, just as I hoped I would, and got to know so many different cultures, helping to break the stereotypes for me, which are unfortunately inevitable. I got so many good friends, so many useful contacts for the future and so much experience about dealing with people. I’m still finding it hard to let go of some things but this all will make me stronger as well as the things that I really didn’t like about that country.

 

And

I wanted to say to all of my friends I got to know in Armenia, I miss you so much. And you are always welcome here in Estonia!

 

X

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Last weeks

In the beginning of the week we got a new director for the Zoo. No-one really knows why, but it seems that things are starting to move generally in a good direction. He wants to make rearrangements that would meet the Euro standards which is obviously a good thing. But we’ll see how it will work out in the future.

As he speaks English, I had a talk with him about my personal project. We’re still not quite finished yet but most of the work is done. He’s not that excited about all this and that makes me extra sad ’cause we’ve put so much time and effort into it. I really hope he’s going to publish it, otherwise it’s all been for nothing.

I’ve purchased a ticket home now which leaves me two weeks for everything. Youth pass, Axa insurance, Personal project and besides everything else also saying goodbye to everyone. I’ll be at home on the third of May. Really don’t know whether to be happy or sad, really mixed feelings. I’m glad to go home, but it’s really difficult to go since I’ve already started a new life here and now.. Going back.. I have to start from the scratch again.

This weekend for the last time I tried to enjoy the nightlife of Yerevan. It felt strange ’cause I really haven’t been out anymore that much for months. Once again I realized that this is not for me. Though still, it was lovely to see all my old friends again.

On Thursday I planned an evening with a romantic setting in Cascade. Well, I thought of everything except for the fact that there will be a lot of people there. But at least I finally went there. Still need to visit some museums before I go. I’ve done everything here except for sightseeing in Yerevan.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Woman, go do the dishes!

Mummy, mummy!! Look!

 

When I had warmed up the coffee for the guys who were chatting by the table I took the jazzve along with the cups and sugar there and then sat down to warm up. Then I hear someone yelling Allaaaaaaa!! And Alla runs to pour the coffee into cups. ??? I ask WHAT IS THIS, ALLA?? Are they children? Do they not have hands? I got mad and came home. But that’s life, dear Britt, says Alla.

Sad, but true.

On Saturday we try to finish the project – The brochure.

When I came back from Macedonia the grass was green and the flowers were in bloom and even the trees had already woken up. Oh lovely spring!

Went to feed the camel baby

Mummy was furious

 

Easter Grass - soon to be

 

 

 

nom nom nom

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

BORTA BRA aka Makedonija

Also…  (as in, in german, not in english)

I’m back from Macedonia. For few hours already. And I cannot sleep. It’s just like before going. Arrrggh. These trips.. Again.. 24 hours without sleep (I think this time I even slept a bit in the plane. Which is awesome. I usually just cannot even close my eyes during the trips. Õõh at public transportation).But  I think the thing is that I’m just too over excited about my sister coming today.

Anyways, before the training course I already started with my personal project.. eventually, I know. Went to the Zoo, we took some pictures and this evening will probably select the ones that’ll go on the brochure.

This is not that interesting yet so I’ll continue with Macedonia.

Let’s start with the departure.  And arrival. After 30 hours of not sleeping i looked like a sponge and went straight to bed after dinner. Others stayed to play the bunny or rabbit or whatever game. It’s an interesting game, ’cause whenever someone mentions it, they get this awfully weird look in their eyes. Tried to ask, didn’t get it, tried to google it, no appropriate answers.. But I still want to know.

There was supposed to be 30 people from 15 countries. So many countries that eventually I got a head ache and am not really sure  anymore if there really were 15 countries, might have been more. So, we’ve got Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Albania, Romania, etc, even Armenia kinda fits in this hole.. and then we’ve got this really big bunch of Estonians (want to note that I was still Armenian this time). Really, a lot. And guess what, it’s all pink, fluffy and perfect. Youth! Pushes the boundaries of cultural differences and prejudice.

And oh, what a beautiful city it was! The nature is amazing! Reallyreally suggest all of you to go to Ohrid, you won’t regret it. Read, that the best time to visit is late spring or early autumn.

So this time Youth in Action really surprised me. The whole week was so productive. I mean, on my youth exchange it was really nice to get to know people and I had a crazy good time but from this training I really learned a lot. I want to make a promise too (and this wasn’t ’the goal’ I wrote on the paper, Anna), that I’ll start being more active and really devote myself on youth work. It’s always nice to help or give something to someone, but it gives so much to yourself just to create things. Maybe then I’m finally able once to pat myself on the shoulder too.

I think I ate most of it. It was sooo goood

Romania

Italy

Spain

The cognac was finished within minutes

Bosnia

And people were so nice too, as always. But since everyone’s leaving me all the time, I realised in the end that I’ve grown a stone instead of my heart and it really doesn’t move me at all that I won’t see them again. And this is not bad! I save so much time thinking and don’t get all sad and frustrated.

And now it is time to go to bed to have time later clean this crap (before any of the guests arrive) that I’ve managed to create within few hours that I’ve been at home. I still love this place. I was so happy to be back. A good saying in swedish – Borta bra men hemma bäst – away is good but home is the best! (I kinda noticed a double morale here, as probably all of you did. What it might mean is that when I’m already so happy to get back to Armenia, just think what I’ll feel after a month in Estonia!)

And a bit of pictures too.

Almonds are blossoming

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Газель Виктор

(After a while of thinking and deliberating I decided to cut out the VIKTOR part of this post. If you want to know, ask me personally. Apologizes.)

Forget about the birds, the real declarers of the spring are flies. (Note, I was told today that in English, well, at least in American, birds do not predict the spring. They say that groundhogs do. Cute and weird at the same time.) And today, the first fly sat on me this year. I took off my jacket, and squinted towards the flaming Arev (the Sun of course). I have an evil plan to get a pre-tan here before my project is over. ’Cause the sun in Caucasus is Almighty.

groundhog (wikipedia)

Next week I’ll be in Macedonia for a Youth in Action Training course. I’ll be staying in a city called Ohrid. As I saw the amazing photos of the place a small thought ran through my mind not to come back to Armenia and stay there until the end of my project. Still, I have to. My sister is coming to visit me right after this trip. You think I might have had pulled it off?

But the real question is how many hours per day an average Armenian girl spends to do her hair? ’Cause it always looks perfect (Even after a horrible marshrutka ride. Which is kind of like a miracle). Answers to my e-mail please. This is for personal use only and you can be sure in complete confidentiality.

Bambi has grown

newborn

wheeee

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

the trip

Last weekend I went to Georgia, eventually, to extend my VISA. I fell in love with Tbilisi. I guess it’s because the old town reminded me so much of home. Here, in Yerevan, well, all you can see is Soviet buildings and I guess I missed seeing something old and kind of fancy. It was a real vacation. Unfortunately we weren’t that lucky with the weather and my health wasn’t in that good condition either but I do hope I can go back there someday. Because of the short period of time we stayed there, we didn’t go to Batumi, on the coast of the Black Sea, but. Again. I will go there someday!

Stalin

St. George

We did some couch surfing and ended up in a lovely apartment right in the centre of the old town, which was perfect. Since here in Armenia I don’t walk as much anymore (note. It’s not really good to just walk around in Yerevan, especially when you’re a woman, and of course the noise and the dust from the streets too) and mostly only use the metro and marshrutkas, the day after my legs we’re so sore! It’s going to be my everyday life for the first week in Pärnu when I go back, ’cause for me, it’s a bit pointless to use a bus there. Mostly because by the time the bus comes and you get to the final destination, you would be already there on foot.

 

The place we stayed at. A-mazing

A cafe in Tbilisi.

a really-really nice cafe

The time passes by so fast. I’ll be at home already after two months. And time passes by even faster whenever you’re nearer to something. Now I suddenly feel that I haven’t done here as much as I should have. And then I realise that I have wasted even more time by just thinking about it. It’ll be tough to leave all the good people behind that I have gotten to know so well in this short period of time. Another minute is gone just by thinking about it.

Today at noon there was a poetry competition in Vanadzor. Next week it’s going to be in Talin (If I decide to go there, hell yeah, I will take a picture with the sign!). Children from 6th to 11th form all have to study chosen poems by heart (in English) and perform them as good as possible. I was asked to be a judge there and for the next week too. It was difficult. How do you judge them! They are all so cute. I would give them all good points. And then I realised, when we, all judges, started to add up our points, that I wasn’t really easy with them. I gave them all the lowest score possible. And then felt bad. I’ll just blame it on the fact that I don’t like kids. Eventually, when all Armenian areas have done their competition, it’s going to be a big international contest. And, really, some of the kids we’re so amazing. My favourite won from his age group and I’ll definitely hope his going to win in the internationals.

kidz

My favorite kid in front.

That’s it today, folks. See you again next week.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

SNOW

View from my bedroom.

Not much left in Yerevan anymore. In fact there’s none. It felt like autumn when I went out yesterday. But this is quite usual for Yerevan. As I heard, it just snowed in Vanadzor yesterday.

For some period of time we had bunnies in a bath at the zoo. They are no longer there. Alla said that they ate them. Well. I refuse to believe it. And I’m pretty sure they we’re joking, at least I hope so. They were so sweet and fluffy. I miss them.

My co-workers

From Thursday to Saturday we had our Mid-Term training. We spent Thursday in Yerevan. We had a typical training part to which followed a visit to S. Parajanov’s museum and a feast in a nice Armenian restaurant. We tried everything! Before I go home, I’ll try to collect as many Armenian recipes as I can, because to the contrary of Estonian national food, most of Armenian cuisine actually tastes really good. Most. And I do not mean Khash.

Sergei Parajanov (January 9, 1924 — July 20, 1990) was Armenian film director and artist of Armenian descent. He invented his own cinematic style, which was totally out of step with the guiding principles of socialist realism (the only sanctioned art style in the USSR). This, combined with his controversial lifestyle and behaviour, led Soviet cinema authorities to repeatedly persecute and imprison him and suppress his films. (Wikipedia)

If you look close enough, you might even see Ararat

They exhibited mostly his art work in the museum but there were also examples of his rooms (living in Georgia if I’m not wrong) with most of the original details and we also had the possibility to buy his films. I liked it a lot. I took a few pictures but I must admit that out of my own stupidity, the battery of my camera was low again.

And eventually, I got to go to Tsakhkadzor. I had been waiting for this for months. And absolutely everything met my expectations.

A tree!! (Note. there aren't that many in Yerevan)

Snow.

Boys

Will always be

Boys

In the evening we played cards and talked about Armenian history. Again. It’s almost impossible to have long conversations with Armenians without having to talk to them about their history. I understand, it was tough, it still is for them ’cause of their location and relationships with neighbouring countries. It’s just that I’m a bit tired of talking about it. It was interesting in the beginning, but I’m already over and done with this subject. It’s kind of always the same.

But their traditions are always very interesting for me. In addition to the Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February, they also celebrate St. Sarkis’ day on the 19th, which is kind of like a second Valentine’s Day.

In Armenia St. Sarkis is associated with predictions about love and romance. It is customary for young lovers to put out crumbs for birds and watch to see which way the birds fly off, for it is believed that their future spouse will come from the same direction. It is also traditional to leave some pokhint —a dish made of flour, butter, and honey—outside the door on St. Sarkis’s Day. According to legend, when St. Sarkis was battling the Georgians, the roasted wheat in his pocket miraculously turned into pokhint. (Answers.com)

In addition, there is this salty bun that you need to eat right before going to bed. When you have a dream about someone offering you water, well, the one will be your future spouse. Mark, that you cannot drink any water to wash it down. Dear Lilit gave me one. And it was so so salty! I wasn’t strong enough and had few sips. And I dreamed about flowers and my sister. Hmm.?

By the way, some time ago we found Finnish cheese from the closest Star supermarket. And if I didn’t mention before, they have Latvian canned fish here too. Yum.

Valio!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

It has been a while

I was on holidays. After that.. Well.. I had a writer’s block, okay.

Now I’m already starting off with my personal project. It’s going to be a brochure for the Zoo’s anniversary in September. With the help of my coordinator I have already found a professional photographer. Need it because the director of the Zoo wishes to have the brochures on a really high level. Moreover, my coordinator found a person who helps me to design the thing too. Yey.

Before Joyce left (Yes, she’s already back in the UK) we went to a little town called Ararat. Nearby is the Khor Virap monastery.

Khor Virap is the site of imprisonment of Saint Gregory the Illuminator, who was incarcerated for 13 years by the pagan king Tiridates III of Armenia (r. ca. 287–330). St. Gevorg chapel was built over Saint Gregory’s pit of imprisonment. (Wikipedia)

I even climbed 6 meters down to the prison, where the apostle was thrown by the king. It was terrifying. I’m pretty proud of myself that I went down there from this really narrow hole.

Iz me. With J. Down there in the prison.

 

The mountain was covered with clouds again so I only got few lousy pictures of it. But they will do for now. People living there say that whenever a visitor comes, the mountain doesn’t want to be seen, so it covers itself with clouds. Kinda like a legend or something. There is a really nice story about a Russian czar that I was told. I cannot remember the exact story, couldn’t find it from the Internet either. . So.. The summary: every single time the czar went to see Mount Ararat, it covered itself with clouds. What a shame.

As I said, Joyce left. Right on the same day I took a marshrutka to Vanadzor and spent my birthday and Christmas there with other Estonians and Peace Corps Volunteers. Though it really didn’t feel like my birthday or Christmas, it still wasn’t that bad. We played werewolves. As usual.

Still in Yerevan. My Birthdaaayyy. Before J's flight. Almost exactly 00:00

 

Vanadzor during Christmas time

 

Playing the werewolves(aka Estonians) game.

 

So, the rest of the time I’ve mostly been at home. Also the New Year’s and the Armenian Christmas (Which is on the 6th of January). But I did go to the spice market one day. I will go back there soon. And take as less money with me as possible. Though I’m not that fond of cooking, I was like a kid in a candy store. Honey is expensive though. Sad.

This is not the spice market. But. This is the Mosque which is nearby the spice market.

 

Since I have only three months left here in Armenia (Only three!!), well, I’m not promising anything, but maybe I’ll try to do blog entries more often. And, of course, I’ll try not to skip any week from now on.

Hope you all have a better year than the last one was. That means. Really late (Sorry!) Happy New Year and Merry Christmas.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vanadzor

I don’t like mountains anymore, and they obviously don’t like me. The trip back to Yerevan was horrible, about half way back I got mountain sickness. But I survived.

In Vanadzor, when I remembered to take pictures, it was already too dark. I still got some, most of them on the way back. The place is beautiful, surrounded by mountains. So as I promised..

Went to the market and bought everything we needed.. Or at least.. We thought we needed, until we got home and realized that we had purchased loads of junk. But what should I have bought instead.. A hat that had “Eesti” written on it. Somehow this small country finds its way everywhere.. How strange is that?

Right next to gucci and adidas

 

Anyways, visiting the two Estonian volunteers was fun and hope to go back there someday next year.

The other day I happened to witness a protest march demanding the release of the political prisoners which was held on the human rights day.

And. Oh. I’m sorry, I must be already annoying you with the llama. But he is SO, SO, SO cute! He is like a dog! (Not that I’m that keen on dogs, but you understand..)

Some strange and horrible things have happened lately. Something’s in the air. And I don’t have a good feeling about this. Hope that the Christmas joy will smother this feeling soon.

x

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Vampires (a bit bigger ones this time)

My favourite llama moved next to my department! I just love it. He greets me every morning with a cutest little snort. (Probably he thinks I’m his brother, I have the same coat as he does: )

And today a lion was taken to her new home as well. It seems that the real estate prices are going down again.

But.. On Tuesday I and Pille met the Estonian ambassador who came to visit from Georgia. As all the Estonians in Armenia and their families gathered to consulate, they all started to speak Russian to each other. How ironic. Anyways, as I heard, voting should be no problem; we’ll have the meeting of different voting ways later in the future. So, Estonia, you can count on me. He also suggested me to write a book to ‘My (country)’ series.. I’ll think about it, but probably will leave it to someone else to do. I just cannot imagine myself writing a book.

This weekend I’ll go to Vanadzor. Don’t want to make any assumptions, then usually things go wrong, but as I was told, the nature is beautiful there. I’ll post some pictures next time. As it is a tradition to drink glögg in Scandinavian countries and in Estonia during Christmas time, we are going to make our own. I already tried and it wasn’t that bad at all! In fact, I think someone who lived in this apartment had made it as well, because most of the spices were already here. But it still didn’t taste the same because I couldn’t find all the right ingredients from the supermarket.

This little bat was obviously annoying everyone else.. She kind of reminded me of myself when I was little.. Just couldn’t stay at one place.

до новой встречи

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized