Saturday, July 19, 2008

Too much time between posts

As I told a friend whom I emailed recently, I won't apologize for my blog posts being so far apart; I would waste far too much time if I did. I may, however, start blogging more. I just found out that Blogspot has a mobile blogging service. This is extremely handy, because I now have a cellphone and can easily access the internet, though only the mobile web. Life has become considerably better since I got my phone.

I am just going to make a general post about what's been going on the last month or so instead of focusing on a specific topic. I won't be making a post with pictures for another month or so, unfortunately, because PST (pre-service training) has become even busier than it was before.

We all recently visited our permanent sites and stayed with our new host families for a few days. I love my new site. It's a large city (at least, what's considered a large city in Armenia, meaning about 100,000) with tons of stuff to do. While there, I visited a large church and watched the service (Armenia is home to the oldest Christian state church in the world, the Armenian Apostolic Church), went shopping at the supermarket and finally bought good chocolate, got decorating ideas for my eventual apartment from the home furnishings store, went to an art gallery, and went to a rock concert--a fucking rock concert, y'all. I know that's nothing in America, but here it's a pretty big treat to be able to live somewhere with easy access to something like that. My permanent site is also incredibly beautiful, nestled between mountains that actually have trees. That's fairly significant, as deforestation is a major problem in Armenia. After the energy crisis of 1988, the country went from about 10-11% forested to around 4%. It used to be 25% forest long ago.

We recently visited Dlijan National Park, which is incredibly gorgeous. It's set in somewhat rugged mountains (though not nearly so rugged as Idaho's) and is completely covered with trees. It looks a little like the Appalachians, but a bit more rugged than most parts of that particular range. It was so nice to just go hiking again for the first time since I've been here. I had missed it greatly.

In the coming weeks we'll be doing our nine practicums for Armenian school children. Six will be in English, but 3 will have to be fully in Armenian. I don't in any way feel comfortable enough with my Armenian yet for that not to be a huge deal. I think most of us feel that way. I'm incredibly anxious about the whole process. Frankly, I don't like kids that much to begin with, but I've been assigned to an educational NGO so I'll be teaching kids for the next two years. I'm sure I'll adjust, but it will be a challenge. It's made slighly better because I'm working with disadvantaged and at-risk youth, so at least the work is much more rewarding, if maybe even more difficult.

By chance, I stumbled upon the town muscle head and have begun working out with him, which is just fantastic. I was going out for a short run before my body weight/water-filled buckets workout that I've devised, when a fellow volunteer stopped me on the street. He was talking to this guy and told me that he had a workout bench with barbell, weights, and dumbells, and the guy invited me to come workout with him. Even better, the guy seems to really know his stuff, so he's acting as a trainer for me. He's a really nice guy, and I'm so glad to have run into him.

Lastly, I'm happy to be able to say that I have less than a month left of PST (pre-service training). It has been an incredibly stressful time, but from all accounts life becomes much simpler afterwards. It will be nice to slow down a bit. I am, however, going to miss my host family in my PST site incredibly. They have become family to me, and they are dear to me. I am going to miss them, I'm going to miss my room, the wonderful garden, my little piece of heaven in Armenia (it's a fabulous little spot under the cherry trees where my host mom has a little glass table and a stump for a chair where she and I both read and write), and all my Armenian friends that I've made. Such is life, I suppose, but I will be keeping in contact with them for sure.


EmpCaligula said...

Teaching at risk kids is more challenging. If you keep them actively doing something the whole class they shouldn't be a problem. Put them in pairs, never in groups, and don't take their shit for a second and you should be ok.

Congrats on finding the muscle head. It sounds much better than all isometric stuff and water buckets.

Michele (Razzy) said...

Good luck with the next stage of training!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that things are going so well! That's amazing! I love reading your blog and can't wait to hear more when you actually begin the "service" part of your commitment.

Keep it up!

tdmiracle said...

I did some work with down syndrome kids before I thought they were remarkable pepole Give the kids a chance You just might learn something your self and have some fun doing it The pst host home sounds like a wonderful place would love to see pics of the garden if its possible Glad to hear everything is working out so well I dont know why but its getting harder and harder to access the blog I have to open a new account everytime and this time it was almost impossible will keep trying to stay intouch Tim in Tn.

Mex said...

From my experience of working with kids, I found that the ones that are easiest to work with are the ones that are not little kids anymore, but certainly aren't teenagers yet.

Hopefully, you won't have any crazies.

Ari said...

Glad to hear you're doing well! Your experiences sound a little like mind in Japan... only even more "foreign." That's awesome in a lot of ways!

Good luck out there, and stay safe.

Becky sue ru said...

Oh It makes me so happy your updated your Blog! I miss you tons!

It does rather amuse me that you will be working with kids but I think it will help you in the long run. On the plus side, you've spent tons of time with me, so you have lots of experience! :)