Welcome to my home

Welcome to my home

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In case you were wondering...

I would like to start this entry by formally dedicating it to my habitual readers. Many of you have expressed some interest in knowing what I do on a day-to-day basis, aside from going to class and teaching. Well, as I have neglected to discuss many of these smaller details of my life in Armenia thus far, I would like to take a moment (a.k.a. this entry) to spell out some of the more minute moments of my day that get me by.

1— Get born. Having a birthday party is a great way to pass an evening. I recently had one, and it worked out pretty well. About 15 Americans and 10 Armenians came into town to have what’s called a “khoravats”, or an open-flame barbeque. This type of cooking is pretty standard for any celebration, and my family and I decided it was best to just buck up and have one to celebrate my birth. Great idea, right? I thought so. Anyways, we cooked a bunch of chicken and prepped a bunch of veggie dishes and threw back a bunch of vodka. Although there were many epic moments, I believe the high point of the night was when 16 Americans around the dinner table around about midnight belted out the Start Spangled Banner.

2— Get twisted up. You all know that I have language class everyday for 3.5 hours. Although these are incredibly helpful/important, they have a tendency to get a tad bit tedious. 3.5 hours is a long time for anyone to sit still and be attentive, especially when there is a fabulous view of Snake Mountain (I’ve decided to stick with it…for irony’s sake) right outside the classroom window. So, when I’m not taking notes (98% of class time falls in this category), I have to think about things to keep me from going insane. One thing that has been fairly popular with, well, me, has been to come up with nonsensical tongue twisters in Armenian. I work pretty hard on these in my head, and then, when my teacher calls on me for an answer on whatever it is that she’s talking about, I proudly recite one (much to the pleasure of my classmates…or so I like to think), thereby successfully derailing class for at least ten minutes. I have decided to type the translations of my two favorites here. I would type them in Armenian, but I don’t have the right kind of keyboard, nor can any of you read Armenian…unless you can, and then you would know what they sound like. A: Spicy cat secretary
B: Accountant counts cow-leg soup
Awesome, right? Yeah, I’m mature, I get it.

3— Enter an obscure bet. Jay, a close friend of mine here, and I decided early on that the best thing to do would be to not get a haircut while in country. My last haircut was about the third week in May. Lest one of us should wimp out, or Peace Corps administration should intervene, “Hello August 2010.” It’s the return of the curls.

4—Keep track of obscure English phrases that many think are proper English. Although English classes begin in the third grade here, not many people really know English. (I guess when the Russians were in charge they didn’t take kindly to that kind of talk.) Anyways, even the kids learning English in school seem to know an amalgamation of interesting English phrases. For example, when I walk down the street, I am frequently greeted with a friendly “Hello Moto,” not as a joke, but in sincere belief that that is a proper greeting in the English language, which it is.

5— Influence small children. My family currently has extended relatives that have been staying with us for about two weeks now. The father is away on work, but the mother has three boys: 12, 11, and 2. Although the 12 and 11 year olds are entertaining to watch beat each other up, the 2 year old seems to be my main source of familial entertainment. I have recently taught him to growl like a bear every time he takes a bite of food. It’s pretty awesome. Also, we hunt flies in the house with matching fly swatters. This is entertaining and practical, as 5 pigs and a passel of chickens (and a nameless rooster) live directly below the house, and our 10 goats live in an adjacent pen.

6— Get a dog. My family has a dog named Alex, and he is stellar. I love the little bugger, and wish I could take him with me to my permanent site. But, as I am living in an apartment there, I cannot. So, I have to get all of my dog time in now. However, now is probably a good time to mention the Armenian outlook on dogs. I am the only one in the house who doesn’t kick the dog. This is not to say that they don’t like the dog. But it is to say that their outlook on animal treatment is different. It’s a tough life for Armenian canines. The result of this type of treatment is obedience, but not affection. Because I feed, pet, scratch, and play with the dog, the dog returns affection, and, as of late, protection. I don’t need protection, but Alex has taken it upon himself to walk me everywhere (kind of like Mary’s lamb). However, if he is the lamb to me, then he is the tyger (see William Blake’s “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”) to anyone near me. The result of this is that my host parents have started to tie him to the tree in an effort to prevent him from attacking neighbors, whom he believes intend to do me harm.

7— Get a deadline. After much reflection, I have decided that I need to give myself a deadline in order to ever finish my book. I intend to have a completed manuscript by Spring. As a method of holding myself accountable to this deadline, I have decided to make it publicly known. So, if I do not have a completed manuscript by Spring of 2009, feel free to mail me a brown paper sack of burning fecal matter. Or, if you happen to be in Armenia, just leave it on my doorstep, knock real loud, and run away. I made this resolution about a month ago, and since it’s implementation, I have been fairly productive. So, so far, so good. (60% of the words in the last sentence were identical.) I’m excited at the idea of finally getting it finished, but nervous about sending it off for review. But, stay tuned for an update on that.

If you have any suggestions for day-to-day activities, please leave them in the comments. Also, Allison, shoot me an email with your blog address so that I can find you. These computers won’t let me search.


Alli said...

I feel like a total stalker since I subscribe to your blog and comment every time, but what's a girl to do?

Regarding tongue twisters: I'm incredibly impressed that you come up with your own in Armenian. They give them to us in Russian as phonetics practice. An old favorite: Mama Milu myla mylom, Mila mylo ne lyubila. (Mama washed Mila with soap, Mila didn't like the soap).

Glad to hear about the self-imposed manuscript deadline. I look forward with impatience to reading the words of Scott Moore published on some swank paper with a clever photograph on the back of the dust jacket.

My blog address is http://rusallika.blogspot.com.

I'm interested in knowing what more you've learned about your site, since, as you've mentioned, you're boldly going where no PCV has gone before. When do you leave? Also, tell us about the food.

Stay safe and learn lots of Armenian.


Maggie said...

Hello Moto,

Since you're better than Cesar the Dog Whisperer at coddling cantankerous canines, I am sending you Teddy, who made a valiant attempt at severing my right arm earlier this evening.

I am really proud of you for setting an official, public deadline for your book. In fact, I think your official deadline should be March 23, 2009. I'll consider it my birthday present and be deeply offended if it is not done in time. :)

Keep the stories coming, they're always great! Miss you tons!


mom said...

scott, maybe you can bring alex home with you. he and jack can compete for top dog. there was a 1940's mystery called "mr. moto". aren't you clever with your tongue twisters?!! bored? my mystery is plugging along, but i'm not brave enough to put on a deadline. good for you! love, mom

Sarah J. said...

Greetings, Scott. I'm a friend of Allison's (from Russian at the U of I). She turned me on to your blog. Good GOD but aren't you hilarious! I've loved every word I've read, and even though I do know how to diagram a sentence, I haven't tried yours. Some of your sentences are real "snake mountains." I've taken to reading your posts out loud to myself and performing them as if they were a comedy routine. I have to stop often to LOL. Really loving your adventures!

Alli said...

That mountain view is fantabulous, Scott. Excellent job. Good idea going with the contrasting white shirt, too.