This year, I visited both Georgian capitals for the first time. It may go without saying, but Atlanta doesn’t hold a candle to Tbilisi. My trip began with several amusing transportation debacles reminiscent of prior European journeys. I had planned to leave on the Thursday night train from Gyumri, arriving in the Georgian capital on Friday morning with a full day ahead of me. Naturally, … Continue reading Touch Base Soon, Tbilisi?
“How long have you been here, Sarah?” my colleague Vaghan asked me. “Two months?” “Che! Hing amis,” I responded. Five months… has it already been five months? I was drinking wine with several of my close colleagues after work, when Vaghan had posed the question. “Five months!” he reiterated in English. “Then why…?” his question trailed off and I finished it for him in Armenian: “Inchu chgitem … Continue reading Five Months and (Trying to Be) Fearless
It’s dark out. At the minute, I’m sitting under my thick wool covers, drinking what I call Hay Chai – a blend of fine green tea that my host sister sent from China and wild mountain thyme that Armine and I collected in July, rounded off with a dollop of village honey. If one must be sick, it’s a lovely drink to take away the … Continue reading Cold Feet
Yesterday was a brilliant autumn day with blue, sunny sky and cool breeze. The kind of day that recalls the best of summer and leaves you with a pleasant sense of anticipation of the cold to come… or at least the apples, bonfires and scarves. On this beautiful day, my plans fell through. I was planning to go either to the Areni Wine Festival, one … Continue reading I Shall Not Want
As I looked at the faces around me, I felt a supreme sense of joy. We were gathered in a circle, our hands linked in unity: men and women, youth and adults, abled and disabled, directors and volunteers, Austrians, Armenians and Americans. In the center, clearly glorying in the spotlight, were two dancing dudes with Down Syndrome, our baker and barista: Mikayel and Hovhannes. Crowds … Continue reading Killed with Carbs and Kindness
In December of 2016, I walked somewhat nervously into a town house near D.C.’s Embassy Row. I wore a black dress and a black pea coat, and my hair was pulled back. I drew no attention; or so I thought. The event was an Armenian Christmas party, people packed into every corner. The volume was high, the space was scarce, the community was close, and … Continue reading A Hundred Days in Hayastan
My friend Mari has coined a term that we Spyurkahays (Diasporan Armenians) use with wry affection: WIA or “When in Armenia.” WIA, you may: Buy a pair of red pants right off a manikin and delight in them… until they shrink in the wash, split in the crotch (and become more useful as a red flag to other customers) after only a few wears. Be … Continue reading Between a Rock & God’s Grace