Sunday, February 27, 2005

Veeeeeeery cold in Paris, but of course still beautiful ... even if you're with friends in the lover's city.

Last night the European Hai Dat Fundraising Banquet took place here. Over $1.6 million was collected, and the wonderful part was that Armenian's from Armenia contributed the most, over $300,000.

System of a Down posters are all over the metro stations here. Advertising the upcoming album and a concert they are having here in a few months.

Alrighty, hope the weather is not as cold in Yerevan as it is here. :-/

Tuesday, February 15, 2005 reports, System Of A Down have confirmed an April 26 release date for "Mezmerize", the first half of their new doublealbum set. The second CD, titled "Hypnotize", will be out sometime this fall. Meanwhile, the first single from "Mezmerize", called"B.Y.O.B.", is poised to arrive at rock radio on or around March 1, according to Launch Radio Networks.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Terndez Day fire on the corner of Abovyan/Tumanyan.

February 12, 2005

As I am spending my first solo week in Shushi, you all get to read a log written exclusively by me. I returned from Shushi last Monday and when I asked the mashrutney driver to stop at the Shushi turn-off, a bus full of confused, curious eyes turned to me obviously wondering what a girl like me was doing going to Shushi. At that point, a boy in the front row asked hyuranots ek gnoum, douk? I told him, and the rest of the bus for that matter, that I was not going to the hotel but was going home. Then I stepped out into the coldest day of the year, gathered my things and started the journey towards home. It was the first time I walked the road into Shushi and it is definitely less bumpy on foot.

Two boys got off the bus with me and as we began our journey, one of them, apparently not believing my previous response, asked me again where I was going. I told him I was going home and he looked at me as if I had lost my mind. We talked for a bit more when they stopped to light a cigarette at which point I continued alone because their pace just too slow and though the snow covered trees were breathtaking the wind chill factor made it one of those times when appreciating the beauty around you was best done at the fastest pace possible. The half hour walk gave me plenty of time to dream of what could be and as I got closer to home, I thought how wonderful it would be if someone had started the fire in my house so it would be only mildly cold when I entered. Sure enough, I entered the house to the familiar smell of our wood stove and knew that Vale, the man whose cat significantly helped our mice problems had come through again by lighting the fire before I got home.

As we said before, four classes are up and running though attendance was not quite as good as last week. In the defense of our students, it is real chilly here and our small wood stove only warms about 1/6 of our classroom (i.e. the desks right next to the stove). On the plus side, even though some people didn’t come, most of them did let me know that they would not be coming (a novel concept that in fact never came into fruition last year in Vanadzor). Thursday marked the disappointing first class with students from Shoushi’s technical college. Though 15-20 said they were interested, a whopping 2 showed up. The two that did come are to inform their fellow classmates that if they do not show next week, the class will be opened to general public and they gon be outta luck if they want English lessons with us.

Friday, Sayida (the Mouratsan school English teacher) and I had our first class with the children. We decided to invite grades 5-10 to see how many children are interested. There were about 25 kids in all and although they are of varying skill levels, we decided it is best to wait two weeks before splitting the group up. From previous experience, I know that by the third week the number could easily drop to 10 serious students. The older kids seem to know many introductory phrases but appear unsure of exact meanings and when to use each phrase, so I think starting from the basics was the right decision.

I was supposed to have a meeting at the state university Thursday, but I was told not to bother coming because a majority of students are not attending classes either because they are sick or are afraid of getting sick. The entire situation is part funny and part absolutely ridiculous. Monday I have a meeting with the head of the Foreign Language Department and that in itself is exciting. Also in the plans for next week, two more student classes (one for each of the remaining schools) that will be given from our center as opposed to in the schools themselves. Lastly, on the work front, we have found a first year university student who lives in Shushi and is excited about working with us. Next week is the trial week, and if she is a dependable, hard worker, she will become a member of our staff, helping with both classes and translations. Yay.

Wow, this is long but you all love it, right? So to finish up, our kitchen was recently painted (yay) but the painter (our trusty Vale) moved our dry goods from our sealed cupboard to the exposed-in-the-back cupboard so the mice got our sunflower seeds. Stupid mice. As I said it’s been a little chilly, prompting me to move our bucket of water from the living room, where it was frozen, into our bedroom. Today is not warm but sunny so I am patiently awaiting the sound of water trickling from our roof so I can gather some water which very soon will be nonexistent as it were.

Briony and I have been invited to be part of a new women’s group starting up here in Shushi and since Briony isn’t here, I will have to be represent us (sorry Briony). I honestly have no idea what the purpose of this group is but as long as the meeting takes place in Russian and Armenia as promised, I should know more this evening.

The water is still frozen so no shower for this camper.




Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I haven't written for a few weeks, but then again ... where are the old loggers?

I really have not had much to write about, so I've kept quiet.

It's still winter, and will be for at least another month. (I've spoiled myself, coming from Toronto where winter practically lasts till the end of May.)

If this rumour about Mashtots Market becoming a skating rink is true, then I'll be celebrating! My skates are already on their way, although I don't really know of any existing skating rinks in Yerevan. I think they should build one in Tsaghkadzor, where they've just recently built the new ski lift, and plan on making the town a well developed winter resort.

Though not for another couple of more years, McDonald's is coming to Yerevan. :-) I'm hoping to see an Armenian specialty on their menu ... maybe McKhash?

So I've decided to take off to France at the end of this month.

While in Egypt, one of my relatives mentioned that 'if you spend New Years away from home, meaning on vacation, you will end up traveling a lot that same year.' Thanks to a sale Armavia is having, I'll be heading off to a few more other places in Europe after Paris.

I've got a couple of things to do while I'm there, but if any readers from France can suggest any concerts that will be happening, or any places I should check out, please drop a comment.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Ah finally two days of sun and "warm" (40 degree C) tempratures before it gets cold and snowy again. It's the first time all year and much of the snow and ice on the sidewalks has melted. Just seeing the sun is so nice for a change.

There has been a rumor circulating around town that the big vegetable market on Mashdots (a huge, beautiful space) is going to be turned into an ice-skating rink. I am not sure if it's true. It would be sad to lose the covered market, but if it has to go - an ice skating rink would be pretty cool. They already have opened a bowling alley/pool hall across the street.