First of all, I'd like to apologize because procrastination has gotten the best of me this winter. I really want to make it a goal to update my blog on a more regular basis. I am coming on 8 months in country. It is hard to believe that I only have a year and a half to go. Before, I couldn't do the whole counting down thing. I couldn't imagine being away from all my familiarities for 27 months, 25 months, or even 20 months. Now, 18 months? Completely manageable.
I haven't been as productive as I would like to be but I feel settled and comfortable in Sevan and ready to begin the work. I am growing more and more comfortable staying at my site; the excitement of meeting up with other Americans has somewhat died down. And as Peace Corps Armenia has changed somewhat in the past few months (Youth Development will be replacing the Community Health and Enviornmental Education sectors), I too have changed my role as a volunteer. I will be teaching English as a main assignment and at a different school in town. I look forward to the new challenge and feel I can really do some better work in that role.
I have finally recovered from the New Year. It was fun, exhausting, and filling! On the night of the 31st we set the table with overloads of food and waited until midnight. Then, we popped the champagne and had a family feast. Fifteen minutes later, I was ready for bed! The following week, I had to visit my host family's relatives and friends, eating on average 3 feasts a day. Each meal, like the others, started with a toast and ended with sliced fruit and homemade pastries. Two common themes around the table were: "You don't eat meat? What about BBQ meat? Chicken? Aren't you hungry?" and "How is New Year's celebrated in America?"
To counteract the calories brought on by New Year, I have started focusing on my fitness a little more, with the help of my site mate. We are taking free boxing lessons at the Culture House (perhaps I shouldn't say free; I have compromised my "Armenian womanliness" and my back is aching).
I also found an apartment to move into after our Project and Design Management conference in a couple weeks. I look forward to the freedom of grocery shopping, bare feet, and showers on a more regular basis. However, I will miss living with the best family in Sevan (pictured below).
*** To everyone who has sent cards, letters, and care packages over the holidays, thank you so much. Know that you are appreciated and reading your well wishes and updates about life back home brings a smile to me! I love you all! ***