Birthright Armenia, Musings

[Blog] Here I am in Armenia

BIRTHRIGHTHEADER

By the time this post goes up (and assuming I’ve done my math right*), I will have been in Armenia for almost two full days. Which probably means that I will have cycled through at least five more complete sets of emotions in addition to all the ones I’ve already felt. I will also, I hope, be slightly less sleep deprived and more able to write coherently, but I’ll save that for next week’s blog. This week, I’ll just have to revel in all the giddy thoughts running through my head.

And “giddy” really is the best way to describe it. Giddy and a little fuzzy and not quite sure that this is all real and so very glad that it is. Between packing and good-byes and more packing** and then the actual travel, I haven’t had much time to stop in the last week. Now, though, it’s all taken care of. Or not, and the world didn’t end. I can stop and breathe and look around and grin like a maniac every time it hits me that I’m finally in Armenia. Quite literally on the other side of the world. Getting ready to learn and get involved and even just live.

It was around 1am when my plane landed in Yerevan, so I didn’t get to see much from the air beyond the pattern of the lights. I spent the trip to the home of my wonderful host family doing my best to sound out as many words in Armenian as possible as they flashed by outside the car window, which was simultaneously encouraging (I could recognize and even understand a few!) and faintly unnerving. For every word I could read, there were a hundred more I couldn’t. To say the least, I have a lot of work ahead.

And speaking of the language, it is, for me, a strange feeling to look around a busy street and know that a large percentage of the people all around won’t necessarily understand you. I’ve traveled only a little before this, and that was to the UK/Ireland. This is an entirely different ball of wax.

So far, it’s all been a lesson in humility as well. There’s so much of this I couldn’t have done (and won’t be able to do) on my own. Again, see note ** down below. But it’s more than that. It’s the cousin who encouraged me relentlessly to apply for the program and is helping me around the city now that I’m here. It’s my boss who reminded me until I listened that this is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity. It’s having to accept that right now, I need the help, because I don’t speak the language, don’t know the metro/bus systems, don’t know where to find anything or what to avoid. It’s having to recognize that in some ways, I’m about as self sufficient as a little kid.

And, weirdly enough, I’m okay with that. Most of the time.

That’s all I’ve got for now, save that Yerevan is a beautiful city, and I can’t wait until I’m awake enough to explore it. There will definitely be pictures, starting with a couple down below. A quick note: as you’ve probably already guessed, there won’t be a short story going up to this week, as my time got eaten by international travel. I do have one started, and I hope to be able to finish it over the weekend, but you know what they say about the best laid plans. Either way, it’s time for me to drag myself off to bed in the hopes of wounding the vile beast jet lag. Until later!

 

History Museum of Armenia

 

A view from Republic Square

 

 

* If I haven’t, I blame jet lag and entirely too many hours (about twenty) spent on planes. And if you point out that the two of those are basically the same thing… you’re right. I’ll blame that on the jet lag as well.

** I haven’t had to move for five years. To say I’m out of practice on packing would be a severe understatement. I would have been in a world of hurt were it not for everyone who helped me pack and move out and gave me a place to store everything that I didn’t take with me, and I’ll never be able to thank them all enough. Friends, if you are reading this, thank you so much. You saved me from myself.

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