More specifically concerning: armenia
ἀρχαιολογία δέ τίς ἐστι περὶ τοῦ ἔθνους τοῦδε τοιαύτη· Ἄρμενος ἐξ Ἀρμενίου πόλεως Θετταλικῆς, ἣ κεῖται μεταξὺ Φερῶν καὶ Λαρίσης ἐπὶ τῇ Βοίβῃ, καθάπερ εἴρηται, συνεστράτευσεν Ἰάσονι εἰς τὴν Ἀρμενίαν· τούτου φασὶν ἐπώνυμον τὴν Ἀρμενίαν οἱ περὶ Κυρσίλον τὸν Φαρσάλιον καὶ Μήδιον τὸν Λαρισαῖον, ἄνδρες συνεστρατευκότες Ἀλεξάνδρῳ· τῶν δὲ μετὰ τοῦ Ἀρμένου τοὺς μὲν τὴν […]
at the mercy of confusion
In Jerusalem, I had spent much of my time among the books of Gulbenkian library, following the loose threads of Armenian history. But the massacres, I put off until the end. What I’d been reluctant to start absorbed me at once; it was that that I had been afraid of. Everything else seemed meaningless when […]
at a loss
There is something outrageous in a person’s misdirecting a traveller who has lost his way and then leaving him to himself in error, yet what is that compared with causing someone to go astray in himself? The lost traveller, after all, has a consolation that the country around him is constantly changing, and with every […]
The rooster runs across the bare uneven ground towards the barn like a samurai from some black and white film you can half remember seeing, sunlight pooling on his rusty black feathers. In the kitchen there is hope for another cup of coffee, thick with sugar, and lavash with a hard-boiled egg, yolk apricot-colored, and […]
The family cow ate some noxious weeds and fell and was butchered. The neighbor’s dog ate five of the youngest chicks and was thereafter executed. One chicken wandered into the latrine and drowned. Ten chicks mysteriously died in their box. For the anniversary of a death in the family, they slaughtered a sheep, slitting its […]
a cross bearing
We had mock language proficiency interviews the other day, just so our instructors could get a better sense of where we were in our language interview and whether they need to panic about our chances of passing the actual language proficiency interview at the end of training.1 The format was simple, the first part being […]
Though ethnie and nationality might be distinguished in any number of ways – size, attachment to territory, secular versus religious identity, ‘soft’ versus ‘hard’ boundaries – the most fundamental difference is not some ‘objective’ characteristic internal to the group, but rather the discursive universe in which it operates and realizes itself. A modern nationality, with […]
A view (24)
From the balcony.
In the morning we wake to the sound of the neighbor’s two cows walking up the road to pasture. They walk slowly, as though their feet hurt. That’s at about quarter after six. The temptation to stay in bed, rather than venturing into the dismal cold of the room (especially shocking after a night of […]
The room is warm and smells of expatriates, a peculiar blend of locally unavailable spices and foreign laundry detergent. There is a pile of completed books by the door, dwarfed by the stacks still unread beneath the window in the opposite wall. I am finishing up a few things I’ve been meaning to do for […]
winter’s dragon-voiced storms
We make the rounds, going from house to office to house to office, from tea to coffee to tea again with fruit and runny syrup. Mostly we talk about the weather. It is a never-ending source of conversation. The weather and health are the sacred fonts of social feeling. One is always cold, or has […]
The journey from the capital to the southern cities has an allegorical feel, especially when leaving through the equinoctial twilight. We speed along the straightaways through the floodplains beneath the summits of unattainability, then slow to twist and turn through the vale of woe, night and snow falling hard through the trees. We rise through […]
When the sun is shining in the morning it is warm enough to drink coffee on the balcony with a book, perhaps something on regional politics, and listen to the swifts cross the sky. I had thought at first they were starlings, because the starlings paused on the wire linking the apartment building to the […]
She’s down on the street, and she says it’s a good bargain. The woman on the second floor shakes her head and makes a sleepy downward swat of the hand to signify disagreement. The woman on the fourth floor shouts down and asks how many there are. The woman on the street flings her right […]
PF took this picture looking out over Goris. The test included an essay question: ‘write about your fall holidays.’. Although I correctly translated ‘vacation’ into ‘holiday’, I forgot to change ‘fall’ into ‘autumn’. One of the students asked about it. Made me think about what a ‘fall holiday’ would be: bungee-jumping – or Halloween.
Crambe repetita (15)
a visual interlude.
A view (27)
A view (28)
More winter is on the way.
We’ve been waiting for the school to be remodeled for a long time. We were supposed, at first, to move in on the first of September 2008; this was quickly adjusted to 1 Sept. 2009. Knowledge day1 came and went and the building was still not ready. The director clenched and fretted in her tiny […]
The passes are probably closed.
of an age
I find nothing objectionable in the fact that the young scholar, as may be observed even in my retelling, was flirting a bit with erudition. Later on, scholars began to flirt with illiteracy and achieved in this regard a suspiciously natural effect. – Fazil Iskander, ’The Story of the Prayer Tree’ (Sandro of Chegem, p. […]
A cup of over-steeped tea brings back the memory of student days, bent over a book, surrounded by papers, the tea overdrawing and becoming tepid, forgotten, on the desk. Legs crossed at the ankles, or sitting on one foot, it is possible to forget time itself, to say nothing of a cup of tea. A […]
The view from the kitchen.1 The landlord came to the apartment to repair the leaky sink in the kitchen, which was leaky because the neighbors are doing some remodeling and wanted to separate our plumbing from theirs. The landlord works long hours, and has to deal with people who don’t always want to do what […]
A view (29)
graves in old Goris.
View from Tatev Village
Right around the time I was reading that fibers from the cornel tree were used to make the Gordian knot, I realized that I was losing track of what I was interested in: how the cornels are used in Armenia.
Watch the sunrise. Up and coffee, mending the lining of a jacket,1, attend sessions at conference, re-pack bags,2 knit on the fuzzy short-sleeve pullover, go out to coffee and read, finally finish all the tagging & categorizing on this very site that I have put off for two years already.3The fabric is almost rotten, and […]
the heart of the matter
Cowpaths The image occurs to me: Odysseus’ men eating the cattle of the sun; because they are hungry of course. But they do not see that the cattle are sacred, and more to the point, do not belong to them. The word returns to me: νήπιοι. And it felt good to say it.1Which is not […]
We look in the taxi. If there is a meter: fine. If there is not: ‘do you have a meter?’ ‘No – it’s a hundred dram a kilometer, we’ll go by the odometer.’ ‘Well how much is it to point B from here?’ If he says: ‘I don’t know, we’ll go by the odometer’ – […]
A view (30)
Boiling the kettle for tea steams up the windows. Still no snow, though.
pears before նոր տարի. These pears were remarkable both for their color and their flavor, and the pigs had already been slaughtered.
Thomas Goltz. Azerbaijan Diary. London: M.E. Sharpe, 1999. You cannot persuade a party of frenzied nationalists that two blacks do not make a white; consequently, no day went by without a catalogue of complaints from both sides, Armenians and Tartars, of unprovoked attacks, murders, village burnings and the like… —C.E. Bechhofer (1920) (qtd. in De […]
1 February 2011
a snow day Guests were supposed to arrive in the afternoon, but the constant snow made the passes dangerous and the roads, if not actually closed, perhaps should have been. The students were restive and fussy, as were the teachers. Snow kept falling, and managed to find the gap between my scarf and the back […]
fresh your feeling
the local library
NB: This entry was initially published as a page to solicit donations to fund a project supporting the library; the campaign was successful. Goris is a small town located in the rugged mountains of Syuniq marz, which is the southernmost region in Armenia. Once the cultural center of the region, its situation on the road […]
aydqan mard es
The more languages you know, the more of a (hu)man you are.
the importance of reading long books.
woke up to rain, which turned to snow, which I had to walk through to get to work
remarks on teaching
Students in the English club. After five years of teaching and team-teaching and teacher-training and observing lessons, I look at this picture and still cringe that one of the students is texting. It’s a club, sure, but do me the favor of paying attention.1 Students paying attention isn’t the point of English classes or clubs, […]
A view (43)
the cruelest way
On travel writing and leaving things behind.
It was the mention of baklava that made me dubious. It was mentioned as quintessentially Armenian, yet baklava is a pastry I don’t recall encountering once in three years – except in Yerevan (admittedly, I don’t recall many weddings). I read the book quickly, enjoying the familiar but disoriented by details – famines and December […]