Zwischenseminar

Well now, let me tell you a bit about my experience in and my time after my „Zwischenseminar“ in Georgia !

After a short transit day in Tbilisi with the other Georgian volunteers we all met up on the next day to get transported to our Seminar location in a place called Saguramo , around 30 Minutes outside of Tbilisi.

Before the meeting up and all actually started , the people in the apartment got ready, packing all our stuffs and doing last-minute shopping. I bought some snacks and a Pomegranate vodka , distilled AND bottled in Armenia so i was looking forward to trying that haha .We all met up at the meeting location and not going to lie, I wasnt really feeling it at all haha. I just wanted to sleep. WE met our driver and the landlord of our place ,Dato, and we packed out stuff into he back of the van before we all squeezed everyone else onto the Bus. Me and Martin felt really tired and kinda nauseous because of the heat ( It was much warmer than expected in Georgia and us Armenians packed for a weather situation similar to Armenia ).

(Ugh im really not in the mood to write this but i have too hah)

Anyways, we arrived the place, and while we where driving we all kinda where disappointed and underwhelmed by what we saw driving by, but when we arrived at the place we where staying it was actually a very pretty establishment.! Sadly i do not have any pictures of the Place but if in the future i do get some, ill post em here xD. So we arrive and we get greeted by our Seminarleaders, Sarah and Nina , both pretty chill people and we get led to our rooms. ( two big sleeping halls, one for the men and one for the lady’s) and right after that lunch. It was funny since the first thing the guys did was make their beds while the girls where like “ we havent done shit“ haha.

But yeah theres not a lot of talk about the seminar really, I havent told you guys  about the preparatory seminar, but i hated that shit kinda ( partly because I was sick) and this was also like meh. We started with a two-hour sessions in the morning after breakfast, had lunch, then some free time before having another session after 6 again untill dinner, and occasionally we had something after dinner. What was interesting though was the story of the place we where staying at and the history of the couple running it. So the couple is Dato and his wife ( a german nurse whose name ive forgotten) who moved there like a long time ago, probably in the 80s. There they started a kind of alternative fostercare thing, which over the years changed its name and meaning etc.. but it was always used for a good social cause. The children they took in normally stayed untill they where ready to be an adult and start their life on their own and yeah. While we where there, theystill had a guy( probably 20 isch, scary looking) who was with them since he was a child and a little girl called “ Perro„( or one of the other three names she had hah) wh was relatively new and who we all came to love very much. She was shy at first always hiding under tables and such but still listening to our seminar but as the week passed she opened up and starting chilling in the room and playing with us. Whats crazy though is that that kid was clever as hell. Like straight up, she could speak german, Georgian and russian fluently and the way and mannerism she used while she spoke wasnt that of a child. It was fascinating but kinda creepy at the same time.

But now what did we actually do during the seminars?

We talked about our past experiences, how we have adapted and fit into our place,e if we have fit in at all. Any interesting experiences we would have liked to share, any problems we would need help on. So as you understand it was basically about how it is being a volunteer now.

Surely that can’t be all?

Well contents wise that was the very broad basic  description. Aside from that we also had a day trip to Tbilisi which was guided by the volunteers in Georgia and we visited a small church, about 15 minutes from us away. Also we enjoyed the bomb ass food from the kitchen. It is probably under my top 3 places to eat since ive started my year haha.

So yeah, im behind on these posts, ive been working my ass off for them so cut me some slack on this one by accepting these photos from the Seminar week with descriptions where they are needed, Thank you in advance 😀   :

These were the 4 Main house animals, The cog was mainly at the other house while the cat kitten always used to chill with us. The Cow and the Sheep where in the barn with another donkey and a few chickens.

Below are some pictures from the actual seminar session. Participants which can be seen are  Elisa, Alexandra,Lisa,Elina, Josh, Martin,Clara,Rosa,Aljosha, KitKat (katharina) and Kira. Additionally there are also Nina,Sarah and Perro.

 

Next are just pictures from when we had some free time:

Then we have a few pictures from our excursions. First the ones to the little church:

Aaaand then the ones from our day trip to Tbilisi:

And to finish this long and visuals post off id like to conclude by telling you about our guest Mouse we had. On the first night, there was a mouse wrecking some havock in the girls sleeping hall and there was a big fuss, they moved into the seminar and slept there and from the first night on, there was a slight paranoia of it.  Now and the following picture was taken in 2018 picturing the with hate fueled efforts of the mouse inquisition through an extermination squad:

 

Haha now i apologize for the text-less post, nevertheless i hope you atleast enjoyed the pictures and Ill see ya next time xD

Andrej

 

German in the Musuem and some more lovely stuff

Alright so this little update  will be spanning about two weeks again.

Theres not a lot of Interesting things to document haha, just a lot of work and stress.

The first week started off with me finishing of and finalizing the work for my “ Deutsch im Museum “ Project ( Seen under the Project tab). Additionally I was also working on a new Project which will probably start Mid-January, more of that Project coming in the project tab later so watch out!. Beside that I have still been doing some work in School of course. I Have a small reading club with the 5th or 6th graders on Monday or tuesdayIts not very set into stone yet because we have to tell them each week in school like : “ Yo, yall are having a small book club in the 8th Period with Andrej“ so i will have to better my efforts there so they know it’s a regular thing. For the book club we ussualy use small children magazines  but since we don’t have 15 copies for each child , ive decided to take the matter into my own hands. Ill make a small A4 Page with a simple text and a few visualisations so that they also have a small picture as a reference with a small additonal slip of paper on which 3 or so VERY easy questions are printed. My first Edition of that was  Text about sea turtes seen here ( the future worksheets and class material will be in another tab under Projects 😉 ) :

(This is where i sleep in Yerevan by the way, lovely room isnt it 😉  )

What I also have done is , started a long-term school project which deals with processing the Book “ Emil  und die Detektive “ with a small handful of good and interested students so I can challenge them a bit more. More to that under the „Projects“ tab haha.

Now, on Wednesday I returned to Yerevan for the “ Deutsch im Museum “ project ( under the „Projects“ tab) but there was still an other matter which needed my attention. I needed to get the extended stay permit For Armenia since I would be here longer that 180 days at a time probably next year . So what I did after arriving in the outskirts of Yerevan was meet up with a Worker at the German embassy who was tasked with official translation our Passports, and thus I had to meet up with him to give him mine. While doing that I also killed another bird with the same stone and got the 3 Passport pictures which are required for the permit in a small shop around the corner. Those actions really exhausted me. I woke up early, walked 30 minutes to the meetup stop and then went to the Goethe-Centrum since no one of the other volunteers wouldnt be at the flat for another hour or so. At the Centrum I socialized a bit with the Lovely employees, they Even made me some Lunch which was very sweet and I layed in some of the bean bags for a while untill I had to leave to get to the Apartment. Once there I realized how exhausted I really was, I was shaking so I really just relaxed, ate and drank a lot of fluids to replenish my body.

( Then came the “ Deutsch im museum “ Project which I elaborated in the “ Projects „tab)

On one of the next 5 days I had to go to a Medical Centre to get  Medical approval for the permit, so that was a bit of extra stress but it had to  be done. There I realized that I have lost 4 Kilo since my 68kg around May-ish so I decided to get that and maybe more back so I really started to eat a lot more. During lunch at another cantine close the Goethe centum I ate huge portions of food and I started to spend more money on snacks and small foodbreaks at home. I Feel like I’m definitely progressing towards my goal though so I will see how well I did once I arrive in BErlin in DEcember.

Continuing my “ Deutsch im Museum“ Project has come to and end and after settling all the financial matters I am back in chambarack. The journey here was nicer than usual though. At the bus station i take the marschroutka from, always has the old dude who offers a private taxi for much much higher prices that a marschroutka and the last few times he always was like : You want a private taxi? But this time we had an actual conversation in Armenian like : How are you , etc.. so that was great xD and additionally to that, I was sitting to this curious old  lady in the marschroutka so we we traded a few questions and interesting words, in russian of course haha. But those two events really did up my mood and make my day haha. Here I worked a bit on my blog, had another two lessons, one yesterday (thursday) and one more “ Emil und die Detektive “ lecture lesson today ( Friday) at around 3pm. Otherwise ill have to clean up my room and pack up my things since im leaving tomorrow already again. Oh and where you ask? I will first of all be bringing some children from Chambarck to Gyumri for the “ Sayat Nova “ Project and after that I have my catch my Train at 00:30 to Tbilisi for the start of the Seminar on Monday.This is where I will be putting a small break. I’ll write more on sunday so I can recap the whole journey after ive actually had the experience.

Oh and what I forgot is that on saturday we had the reading out loud competition in the Geothe Centrum and my little desciples also appeared. Also though didnt win i still think they did absolutely well so i was really proud haha Below ia a picture with the organizers, judges and all the participants.

Alright, now since im in my little bed in Tblissi in the WG of the volunteers of Georgia , I can give you a slow and steady playback of the last tw days.

So the hard part of this week started on a cold saturday morning on the country side of Armenia. I woke up around 6:30 to be able to make myself a small warm cup of tea and a small breakfast before having to make a last check of my Items in my backpack. We were all set. I walked down the streets to the meeting point where the driver would pick me up with some of the students which I will bring over to gyumri. My breath was visible while I trotted down , occasionally being afraid for the dogs staring and barking at me furiously. At the meeting point we waited for 10 Minutes untill our driver arrived. While there was enough pace for all our bags there wasnt enough really for the children haha. Lucky me i guess for getting to sit in the front seat as the chaperone. What was really funny was that since the car windows were covered in Frost and ice, the plausible action would be scraping it completely off for the security of all sitting in the car but no, things are done in chambarack haha. He just rubbed out a patch of frost in front of the driver seat while the rest was still ice white and he drove us while looking through that hole for a good amount. Just a small thing which amused me haha. So we drove all the way to the Yerevan train station , got off and met up with Dana who was waiting there for all participants of the Sayat Nova Project. Soon after the smaller group from the ,in a previously written and mentioned post, Ayb school joined us and we boarded the train.

It was a pretty fun ride to be honest. I sat with th kids from chambarack we just had a conversation. We talked about many topics and they taught the words of colour in Armenian while we busted out UNO and played a few rounds. They also showed me some Armenian “ gangster“ music which was pretty amusing but yeah. Not even that bad to be honest. There was like an employee who would like give us dirty looks and always threaten us not to leave any crumbs or anything so that was funny to haha. But at the end I was still kinda bored and just wanted o get off he train so that was a relief in the end. We got out and BUM! the ice-cold air hit you, it was lovely at first but while the chaperones where greeting and welcoming each other and assigning each child a partner from the local school it became pretty freezing and we all happily started walking towards to school once all the organisational stuff was done and all the kids were gone.

I basically hung around the whole day, just checking out the school and a little of the town. I helped Dana with her planned „german city hunt“ around the town and with the FIlm shown in the evening. All in all a pretty normal day haha.

But at around 00:30 i had my night train to Tbilisi. So i lived my day up to that time to around 11:45 , where i left and walked to the train station, I didn’t want to come later after all. And 10 minutes later the train showed up and i was a bit nervous. I showed the train chaperone my ticket and he showed me my wagon. I got on the train and passed the compartments before finding mine and i opened the door to it. Luckily it was empty. The train itself was very antique and was equipped very well.  In each compartment, 4 people could sleep. Two on each side below and two on each side on top. Luckily, through out my 8 hour ride. Here is a very bad picture of the place haha: 

 

No one joined so I happily had the place to my self. I got settled in. Took of my shoes. Took my passport and ticket out of my backpack before putting it under my bunk and even a few minutes later. A guy was nice enough to bring me bed covers and such. So the train got into rolling and there isn’t much to say more. The only complaint i had been that the air was so hot and not really humid but like stuffy. When i tried to sleep i probably sweated all of my biological water out haha. I had like 3 Session of between 1 and 3 hours of sleep but i survived haha. At around hour 5 we stopped for the border control and the Armenian authorities checked me out and the Georgian ones checked me in. It was just like meh in the moment because i was just tired and exhausted. SO after a night of kinda restless sleeping and border control, I finally arrived in at Tbilisi main train station. From there i walked to the subway station near by and bought my self a subway card, which you could always recharge with money  ( a trip with the public transportation costs a 0.5 Lari) and went into the direction of the Goethe Insititut in Georgia. The Goethe institute there is like the headquarters for the Caucasus region and i had to deliver something from Dana to their administration so i dropped the package of there and got onto the subway again to finally go to the Apartment of the Volunteers in Tbilisi. Here also a small picture of the exterior of the building, the inner courtyard looks very good. They even have a small amphitheater thing haha ( sadly not visible on the picture):

The problem though was that , they had celebrated the birthday one one of them the night i arrived so i felt kinda bad for waking Julian who had only slept couple of hours. Nonetheless i ended up in their flat and had a really good morning cleaning their kitchen up and having a few good conversations and laughs with the Georgians. (really i did enjoy it haha, it sounds sarcastic as fuck). Me , Martin ( who was also staying there ) and Josh ( the guy whose birthday it was ) decided to spend the day by going into the city and went to visit the Georgian national gallery. There was a special exhibition about a specific kind of a italian church art and there where a hand full of really great paintings.

Some examples here :

 

After that we had a small walk through the main street up to a small hip restaurant since Josh really wanted us to taste the Siberian Pelmeni. We also ordered a surprisingly good tasting like green shake out of Tarragona. Mid-meal coincidentally the representative of the Kulturweit program who was supposed to visit us during the Seminar walked out and joined us , ordering the same. We talked a bit and got to know each other, but our little group decided to leave earlier since we’ve been in the city for a while and we just wanted to go home and sleep haha. And we luckily did , thanks to my efforts since he still wanted to get a DAMN coffee haha.

We came home and basically napped for a couple of hours before having a dinner with all the volunteers assembled at the apartment. After that we just basically went to sleep.

And that was basically the story of how i got to Georgia and how i spent my one day there before going off to the Seminar.

Filler

So dear readers, i haven’t been posting anything for a few weeks i think it is now ( probably around two) and thats because i am :

a) lazy

and

b) not really buy but kind of busy

so my millions of fans out there who are excitedly following my life here and counting on updates can gladly spam me with hate a trash mail haha.

So but what have I been doing? After i arrived in Yerevan with my parents ( they visited btw hah) I had a small day at the Goethe centrum, which also had a small event thing at the same day, I talked a while with my boss, broke my mouse which really pissed me off since it was a week Old and bought a new one and then luckily headed back with a group of the children from my school which was taking part in the event. The Center had all kinds of cute stuff: they had a crafts lesson, a small karaoke session and a very adorable and good Musical which really impressed me.

On the way back i had to switch my front seat with a student in the bad because she was feeling ill and so i was stuck with like 13 hyper small school children but it turned out pretty well haha. But by the time we where going around the Sevan those cuties where all so tired and quieted down haha.

Now i also got to meet the granddaughters of Emma: Nari and Emmi, both pretty cool kids, Nari is a bit hyper though. She always insisted that she could play a certain type of card game or chess and i was like: No you dont know how to. Those two kids also taught me alot of Armenian. I started making sentences on my own and connecting two and two and yeah, it definitely was a fun time! On halloween i even painted their faces ( not sure if i can post the pictures here so I wont , sorry :/) and took them to the small park in the center of the town so they coul hang out with the other small halloween freaks haha ( all under 14 , because they dont celebrate halloween in Chambarack).

Otherwise… they kids in the courtyard dont really sow up anymore and it kinda makes me sad, i really liked them and playing football with them and bantering around was fun and like i confronted one of em and they didnt want to tell me ;-; so yeah sad life. Haha.

 

I have been working on two new projects though, both able to be seen in the sub section.

If anything else happens or I remind myself of something ill be sure to post it in a short Post

The Ayb week

So after the little week of adventure i was spontaneously put to the school in the capital for a week ( to the annoyance of my „room mates“ hah), the Ayb school. The ayb school is probably the richest and best school anyone has ever seen haha. It has a very clean and polished appearance. Amazing architecture with integrated slides from floor to floor and laboratory rooms, robotics lab and much more. Basically my task there would be to help out and help start the Project they are having with the Elite Pforta school in Germany ( which i have never heard from before this ).

Not going to lie, i was pretty disappointing with what i did there the whole week. Sure a well made and healthy free lunch was nice but i basically always went there, sat a round for a bit, maybe did some small task like translating or helping the students sign up to the forum they are using for the project ( which lead to me loosing my USB for my wireless mouse. dont ask.) , talk with some kids or sit in a lesson but that was it haha. My expectations where much higher so thats my mistake 😉

But yeah i always went there with a GG taxi, something like a very cheap uber and took it back.On one ride , I forgot my headphones in it so that bummed me out alot.

Oh and on Wednesday we went to a gallery opening of a Armenian artists in the German embassy. Of course the food was lovely, i got to talk with Jacob a bit again and funnily enough the Italian ambassador and his daughter swung by which was pretty interesting. But thats about it. I am now currently in Chambarack again. I arrived a few hours and its Sunday. Lets hope the next week will be much better 🙂 Definetly not lying about that and probably not missing out any details because i want this done haha

The Weekend After

So after the adventure in the south, we had two days of like National holidayisch days in Yerevan since they  had an Event called Frankophonia, literally a big conference dedicated to like the french culture and language. It was so big that even Prime minister Macron and Justin Trudeu came to visit , it really was crayz haha. The hospitals where only partially operational and schools got the days off.Now the on Saturday, the 3 out of the 4 other volunteers in Yerevan decided to take a small road trip around the capital and look at a few things and just have a good day. I decided to join that group and we became a 4 man squad.

SO the day started with us dipping and renting the car. pretty obvious haha. WE got into the car and drove a bit and noticed that we gotta tank so we pulled into the station and then one of the service employees started to fuel up and one of out members started freaking out and was like : we gotta dip out of the car. First we were really confused but then she said that they where tanking gas ( pretty normal in Armenia) so we where like “ yes if thats the case we dip but can you smell that? Thats gasoline haha“ so that was resolved. So we drove on, with a full tank, and then we followed google maps which turned out to be a mistake since it led us to streets which didnt exist or where like too small and crammed . So we looked at the map without using directions and of course we found the way onto the high street 🙂

So our first stop was Khor Virap, A old monastery which used to house the imprisoned Gregor the Illuminator haha.  below is a picture of all 4 of us doing weird things on the top of the Hill where the monastery lies on. Three weird faces and one weird person taking the picture.

Now at the parking lot the locals where selling the usual stuffs. Souvenirs, religious items and food , so we indulged our self in some Gata, not the best but it did the job .After the we got onto the highway again and drove off to Zvarnots Cathedral. the cathedral was either destroyed by the invading hordes or an earth quake but the ruins are still standing, which already show how beautiful and impressive the whole building would’ve have been. We got in free with our little volunteer cards which had “ UNESCO“ on the corner so we cool like that. We walked through the heat and popped into the museum and looked around there for a bit before popping back into the car.

I dont really remember what we wanted to do after that but we all kinda wernt feeling it so we started heading to the one weird destination on our check list: The Metsamor nuclear powerplant. And as you guessed as we came to about 2 kilometers of it, there was a military check point, and we, the tourists asked the soldiers if it would be okey if we could visit the power plant. Lets just say that as we drove of we all knew that the soldiers would all be having a good laugh after turning us back haha.

Since out little radioactive plan failed we searched for alternatives and since we knew that we were close to one small town another team member of ours was working it, we decided to visit her school and a bakery near it for a small break. I do not know how the small city is called again but the school was nice enough from the outside ( it was locked , a sunday haha ) and the small baked goods we got from the bakery next door where bomb aswell.

So after a small break we updated out plan and decided to make it to the Alphabet Park, a park with small monuments of the Armenian alphabet ( they are very proud of it) untill sunrise. So we drove on again ( I apologize for the stale Blog entry haha) and right before we reached the Park we didnt manage to get off the highway at the right exit so our arrival was delayed by 20 minutes or so, making us miss the sunset. Buuut we did have enough light to make a little fun thing with the monuments. We decided to each take out pictures which each letters from our names so we coul arrange the pictures in such a way that they would spell out names in armenian. Now sorry to let you all down, but i dont have the pictures yet since they are on the camera from Martin,another Volunteer. But i assure you, as soon as I get them ill post em, and you all wont be dissapointed xD

So after that, we kinda where being harrased by some stray dogs which was fun haha but we all survived in the end and we drove off to our final stop, The Observatorium near Yerevan.

After a small complication involving us calling the observatorium for us to get into the place earlier we decided to stay and wait in the Parking lot . There we ate our food in the car haha. We chilled in the car, looked at the stars and just relaxed after a long day. When it was time to go in the guide even spoke english just for us even though there was a mob of Armenians. We found out a few cool stuff too. The telescope they where using for us to look at the starts was german and made out of paper maschee because it had some component to it which had some low like thing which helped us look at the starts better haha, it was probably taken by soviet soldier during their retreat back from WW2. Anyways, after that long day we made it back to the city and enjoyed a good nights sleep.

 

 

Voyage to the south with the German-mobile

So now to this:

This last week I was mainly occupied with one thing, a big trip to the south with the Goethe Institute, the DAAD and a representative from the German embassy. First things first (im the realest)  it started on a Sunday morning as I got out of the apartment of the other volunteers 30 minutes earlier since i was planning to go and have a quick meal at the Cantine across the Goethe Center, which was the meeting point. Little did i know that after i bought some juice and cookies while carrying my  heavy traveling backpack that the Cantine wouldn’t be open at 8:30 in the morning haha. So I opted for cookies and juice on the steps in front of the meeting point until the rest of the team showed up. So haha after dragging all the materials which we needed for the trip: Boxes of German books and materials, two banners and alot of info materials connected with the above-mentioned organizations, the van finally came since it was late 15 minutes. Then after packing it up and getting into the back of the van I got acquainted with the representative of the embassy and the DAAD , both very funny and friendly people, we finally hit the road! After a small talk with my contact person, I found out hat my task was mainly setting up and logistics, like counting the number of participants coming to our events and more.

On our way to our first stopYeregnazhorwe were driving on a street pretty parallel to Mount Ararat and it really is always an impressive sight. Then as we drove along the slopes of the slowly heightening landscape towards it, I realized that a little in front of me, a maximum of a dozen kilometers, was thee Turkish border , and I was like „woooaaaah“ haha.

 

Now after a few hourswe stopped at out first stop which was the small city called Yeregnahzor, there we stopped first at a small school and so i hopped out of the car and carried the banners and materials with the help of the guy from the embassy inside and set it up. We walked into a room filled with around 40 children, teenagers and teachers and so, after it was all ready, I snapped a few pictures and made my way to a chair in the back and watched as the rest of the team held their talks. After a very poor outcome from the „question round“ , most of the children and teenagers left and the only ones left over where the teachers so we all sat down around a small table and enjoyed some food. I had a coffee and some fruit. That little brunch was the first time I tried “ cornel kirschen “ *in German“ which are oval shaped small pieces of fruit which are very sour but taste lovely, the „gata“, a kin d of baked dessert , was also the best which ive eaten up until now. After we had realized that we had to get going, we got four bottles of Armenian wine as a present, which was very nice. After storing that into our already filled van, we walked around the school building up a hill to a faculty of a university focusing on the economy and business. There we did get greeted by the principal but no students haha, reason for that was that all the students came from the surrounding villages and the buses didn’t drive that often on a Sunday and since it was a pretty spontaneous announcement, sadly no one came haha. That didn’t stop us from looking around a bit and leaving the brought materials and school books there. I saw that the conference hall was renovated and equipped through the help of the American government and the efforts of the American peace corps stationed in Armenia so that was pretty cool:D

Well after having dropped that off, we dipped back to the car and left Yeregnazor and headed to our little temporary base camp, the small southern city of Kapan. So after around another three Hours of driving through the steps of Armenia and a last push of 45 minutes through high mountains and winding roads and a very sick stomach did we arrive at the small ex-soviet city of Kapan. It was already dark when we arrived, so we quickly went up and got our rooms. I was a bit jealous as we were in check in since my co-travelers had a „Diplomat Passport“ and an „Official passport“ and I only had a normal ass one haha. Anyways after we unpacked and settled down a bit we went downstairs to the small cafe/bar/restaurant next door and there we got some dinner. Me and Jacob (the guy from the embassy) both were eyeing a pizza and fries each and when we wanted to order that, the waitress looked at us with big eyes and after some clarification with the owner, we were assured that 1 Pizza would be enough for us both so we trusted him. The owner was wrong haha. The pizza was tiny so we ordered another one immediately and enjoyed very full bellys that evening. We had a very lovely dinner, very good food, lovely tea and good conversation.

Now to the next day, we had a pretty free first couple of hours since the only item on the plan was setting up and opening a new German corner in the local library. So we first we took a stroll through the city.Its main street is separated by a small river which is pretty cool. We walked for around 45  minutes and visited an old soviet swimming pool which wasn’t in order anymore but boy was it pretty. Then after walking back down, we went to the modern museum of art in Kapan. I wont lie, first when i heard that we are going too spend our time there I  was like omfg, haha i had like pictures of stupid and easy art in my mind but oh boy was i wrong!. The museum was in a pretty old and run down building but damn was it good. I really can’t describe it haha. Like I have been missing some artistic input and inspiration in my life recently but that did it. I was like fulfilled with ideasinspiration and thoughts about starting my second attempt at an art portfolio for university. I will probably put that into the header on my blog site so you all can maybe even see the process of how it comes to be. Of course the topic of it will be my time in Armenia and Armenian in general. Even though going to the museum was a crazy experience, it was a little sad. There where so many good paintings and rolled up canvases just getting covered with dust in a storage room and that really was a little heart breaking thinking about it. Ill try and change that by talking with my contact from the Embassy, he is in charge of cultural things and he has a budget, maybe we can renovate or at least get good storage equipment for the stowed away art.

After our little art high, we where invited to a small lunch at the place of the DAAD representative since Kapan was actually her birthplace, so we made our way over from the museum, a 10 minute walk to an old soviet housing complex and 7 flights later we where in a very snuggly , pretty and cozy apartment. Ive noticed , and i shouldn’t always be surprised anymore, but the houses always kinda look rundown, ugly and old from the outside but the apartments are always so well furnished and designed, its crazy haha. So there we met the mother of the Representative, ( whose really beautiful name ive forgot haha xD) who had even prepared some Jingalov haz ( bread filled with a handful of herbs and melted butter) which I tried for the first time, the cuisine in Armenia never lets down haha lets just say that. So she also dished out some homemade cognac to which I say: absolutely lovely; again. We talked for a while, and things took a turn when we kind of turned the topic over to the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. And since Kapan is very very close to the border it also had its fair share of attacks, bombing raids and experiences (the map will show.), the mother talked about how it was during the warabout interesting hypothesis why the first coupe of bombing runs over the city always missed, how it was with children in this war zone. It really was a very intimate and trusting atmosphere in the room and ultimately I was very grateful to be able to hear her storys and thoughts!

So I should really keep these posts short haha. After the lovely lunch we went to the library with all the material and started setting it all up. During our efforts an either drunk or crazy man came up to us and wanted to talk about politics which was interesting. So it took around 2 hours to build it all up, of course no without any mishaps haha. Around 1 hour before the ceremony started, we had noticed that the huge cake, which got delivered to us by some local bakery was missing the logo of the Goethe Institute, which was a pretty big deal. After discussing how we should cope with the problem we opted for cutting out the logo from flyers wee brought and just pressing them into the cake, and thats what we did and no one complained:).

 

 

Now the pictures on the top show how our final result looked like:) including us improvising with the cake haha. So we opened up the „German corner“ and well I think it was a pretty good success. At the start there where children from all ages, many interested teachers, the town major and some people who actually don’t even have anything to do with teaching or learning German but who are willing for a pen relation, for example an older gentleman who introduced himself as an owner of a local puppet theater who wanted to maybe start a partnership with the Goethe centrum. While the start was pretty spectacular, after around 2 hours, coincidentally when most of the buffet was eaten up, the people slowly started to disperse and the left overs where just people who really where invested. So my team held their three presentations while I was sneaking around and taking pictures and it took such a long-time haha. But about 3 hours and many questions laterwe had finally closed the event and tiredly made out way out of the building. After that we enjoyed a lovely dinner where we had a bunch of laughs. And that ended Day 2

Now to third and final day, this was the day I was looking forward too the most since I heard that we would be basically going to the border of Iran. So we got into the car and drove off! We drove or about an hour or two and we got to the first stop, The city of Meghri in the very very south of the country. There we visited two schools which taught German and had a small brunch at the second with some of the teachers. Thenwe got into our van with some other teachers, which then transported us along the Armenian/Iraki border to the city of Agarak where we would have our main event. WE got out and of course the guys had to muscle up and carry all the stuff haha. But once at the entrance we already saw the small reception waiting for us, so we made our way there. We got greeted by a lovely traditionally dressed girl who had like a piece of bread , from which you had to rip a piece of out and stick it into a pile of salt, probably a local tradition , and after everyone had their turn we proceeded to go inside and set up.

Again, after the whole presentation and question phase, the crowd dispersed pretty quickly and we were left with teachers again so we went to the library which was in a room next to the hall and we had a lovely buffet, full of fruits, baked goods and other good stuff. I may have spilled juice and made a mess with the pomegranate haha. Now after talking about educational topics for a while finally decided that it was slowly time to go and before we left, the Employees of the school packed us like a bag full of fruits from the school garden. Pomegranates, grapes, apples, and other treats. Overall the pomegranates in that region are supposed to be the best in Armenian. Which is pretty impressive since Armenia is pretty well known for its pomegranates.Now after we had arrived back in Kapan, we had a dinner i wont forget in a while. WE went to this really big but empty restaurant just 3 minutes of foot walk away and it started off with a good laugh when we sat down and the waitress started to recommend and state things we should maybe get in Armenian and that goes on for a while before Dana (our Goethe Partner person and my boss) looks over to Jacob and is like so does it sound good? He just responds with. „Is there a menu?“ . Now it was much funnier then it is now when you all read it.So basically, we ordered a very good soup, some grilled vegetables, a salad and horovatz (the Armenian version of like, a BBQ and a shashlik) and boy did I eat lot. It was a massacre. Everyone’s plate was filled a bit with crumbs and maybe a bone or two,but mine, no, i had like a pile of bones haha , i probably ate 40% of all the food ordered. It tasted amazingill definitely try to go to that restaurant again. Now after some toasts to the important people in the trip and after a good conversation and dinner without driver Vahag we stumbled back home to stomach all the nutrition absorbed, well i did haha.

Now the next day we packed up again and set course for home. On the way we stopped in Goris to visit the owner of a pretty famous hotel who spoke pretty good German since he wanted to spread the German culture and education in his city, two local German teachers where also present. I was busy playing with the hella cute kitten , if the requests for the comments are so overwhelming, ill post a picture of her too (or him) But over all that was a pretty short wrap up of the trip to the south. I made lovely acquaintances and friends and had fun with each one of the team members. Its a trip I really didn’t expect to have this early and I just want to thank everyone <3

This was our Journey.

Insider jokes our little group had during the trip:

1. Meghri not knowing anything about Armenia, despite being Armenian.

2.Ordering exactly five pelmeni

3.Our driver Vahag doing anything just not to sit with us and eat and drink.
4. And plenty of more I probably cant  remember

Out and About

Alright yall,

So the second week has passed. During this week i continued teaching the students, doing my regular 7th and 9th graders while also substituting or helping out teachers in their 8th grade for example. But due to the enormous amount of feedback ive received, ill be telling you a  little about the actual lesson:

A class basically begins with everyone standing or the children standing and the teacher sitting and then they greet each other and the teacher either says : “ sit down“ or just does like a down wavy hand gesture to the students. When i taught, i was very text book focused since i was actually taking lesson time for them to learn German which would eventually contribute to a examination of a entry exam. Thats why i didn’t have like my own topics and used the textbooks. I cant really describe what they learn abut since it really is like a huge variety of Topics, from Holidays to Collections ( kinda weird haha ) Now during the lesson i really only speak German with the children, since thats what im here for. Occasionally some classes would be loud but over the two weeks ive learned the words for quiet , which is “ Suck“, and write , “ gri“. So with that , i am a native speaker. We usually go through 2/ 3 pages of the book work during a unit which incorporates auditory,vocal and written skills to be used. Of course not all children are always the most eager ones to answer questions or tasks so i try to incorporate everyone by sometimes not letting the usual ones speak and deliberately choosing students who arnt volunteering or are just quiet. I have had pleasant surprises by using that method. There has also of course been more interesting lesson experiences where i had to tame the class instead of teaching them haha, there was one instance in a book club where  had a wooden stick and i was banging on the table so they would settle down, but it rarely worked.

 

So at the moment of writing this paragraph, i am not in Chambarack but in the capital since im having a little exploring week with the Goethe institute. Tomorrow morning ill be getting on a train to Gjumri, a town in the north, to probably check out a new PASCH school and from Sunday to Wednesday ill be traveling south with my contact from my the Goethe center. ( I have returned from that now haha and the next post will be covering all of that) hehe

Sadly i also have a few videos id like to post but they can currently not be posted in here since its too big and ill first have to find out how to do it.

Now to the actual topic of this Post, my three days in Eriwan before my little travel.

I got into a Marschrutka ( the small buses which form a major part of the transportation in armenia) at around 9:30 and we were off! First i was a little afraid that my big traveling rucksack was stolen since it was placed to the very front of the bus and i was having a window seat in the back. reason for that worry was the many warning from local friends and online readings which documented experiences where items and belongings where stolen very slyly on such marschrutkas, but it was all fine haha. It was just crammed behind a seat so my paranoia was unnecessary!  SO we tuckered around the Sevan lake and at the city of Sevan, our tire burst haha which was very anticlimactic and so we managed to drive inot a small mechanics workshop at the roadside and waited for like 20 minutes while they fixed the car. Once we drove for another hour or  so to Yerevan , we where ushered out at the last stop which for me was like in the middle of nowhere haha, i checked google maps and i was somewhere in he outskirts of the cities with no ideas how to get to the apartment of the others. So i imitated the locals! They where all standing, as i assumed for a bus, so i gave them some company and sure enough, the second bus which drove by was the one where the most people got in  sooo i followed them. The rest of the bus way i just checked my google maps to see where i was and the moment i was near to a subway station i got out and from there the way was easy 🙂 I was welcomed nicely and got shown to my bed room, the living room haha , but i must say that the couch is very nice and comfortable to sleep on.

Now the next day started with a very calm and relaxing morning after which we decided to go and visit Garni, a old religious site an hour or so outside of the city so we ate a light breakfast and went to Gai bus station , which even the taxi driver didn’t even know about haha ( taxi drivers in Yerevan are pretty bad in general with knowing the city’s) . There while we waited around 10 minutes we bought some baked goods as provisions during the trip and then we already got on the bus and drove off. he got some hachapuri , like bread with cheese baked into it but the real good one was like this bread which ´was fried and was filled with soft potatoes with herbs, it was fucking lit. The bus was a little crowded , maybe around 16 people, and during the drive we saw the pretty landscape of Armenia and even  had a good sight at Mount Ararat.

Once there we walked down a street to get to the entrance of the open air museum and we started to think of how to evade paying the hefty entrance fee for foreigners  (1500 Dram or 3 euros) and we pulled out our volunteer cards of kulturweit which were of course designed very official but actually had no value or power at all haha . And so Martin, another volunteer, did the big leap of faith and approached the ticket booth spoke a few words of English and handed in the cad. Interestingly enough since our program also is cooperating with UNESCO their logo was on the card and that caught the vendors eye and he said something with UNESCO and issued us inside. Either he thought we where some super official delegation or the Heritage site was part of a UNESCO branch or program and thus we where granted free entry hahaha, wont complain though 😉

The Upper picture is was taken while having our little hike after we looked at the actual heritage site, the walked for around 2 hours or so and the sight and landscape was crazy. You cant really say anything more, its just very very beautiful.

Now this picture is the actual heritage site, The main attraction is of course the ancient Temple, around there are more buildings like a destroyed palace and a bathhouse. The whole site is located on a small “ peninsula“ kinda rock thing while its surrounded by a winding valley, truly a lovely experience but ill leave it up to you to find out more by yourself when you visit yourself hehe.

Now the real interesting part was the way back haha. After our small hike , we walked back for about 20 minutes through a small village which was pretty interesting to see some if the rural lifestyle in Armenia. Of course we got some stares while walking through there haha from people and animals xD

Now so we are waiting at the bus station for the last marschroutka of the day and martin goes to buy some “ gata“ a kind of mixture of bread ad a cake, a very good dessert and snack and suddenly the bus appears! We kinda panic since its the last bus out of here but fortunately we see martin running towards us in the distance so that problem was solved, but there was another one! I luckily still got a seat when i got into the bus, it was already filled with around 17 people, but along our drive back, the little bus stopped again and again to pick up more and more people. Final count was 31 which is ridiculous haha, children where squeezed into small spaced , people stood bent over and there where like 5 people squeezed into the front, excluding the driver haha.  There was one chinese tourist who got one with whom er had a few interesting conversations. She worked for a airline company and had traveled a lot of the world and spoke Japanese aswell as English pretty fluently which was a delight for me of course hehe. After we arrived we took a taxi back to the apartment because we wernt bothered with going to the subway again plus the price difference really wasn’t that big , the taxi ride was around 3 euros. And there we had out next surprise person!

That person was out taxi driver. he first spoke Russian with us but after he recognized that we spoke German with each other he also managed to bring out a few German words and started explaining his past. It turned out that during the time of the Soviet union  that he was stationed in Germany and always liked the language but never managed to learn it. Later he also lived in Hungary and could speak fluent Hungarian which also was very interesting. That little encounter kinda like opened my eyes that , people really dont show what they have gone through in their life and that every person really probably has a very cool past.

And after we arrived we exghaustidly went to eat out but since im really fed up with writing this post, it will sadly be a part of my year here you all with never hear about haha.

Till the next Entry!

Andrej

 

 

The first real week

So after a very short drive through the first streets of Chambarack, my first impression was seeing lots of pretty run down houses, wild animals running around and a pretty bad infrastructure , except for the city center. Now we first stopped at the No.1 school where I would be working for the next year.

After coming through the drive through to the school, while not trying to drive over some of the chickens running around, i got out of the car getting greeted by the cool mountainous Armenian air.  Now the impression form the outside was a pretty solid one. A school complex with 3 main building, two teaching complexes on either side with a hallway and a sport-hall connecting all of them in the middle. But while we walked through the school, the more “ solid“ appearance degraded a bit by the more rural and raw outfitting of the interior.  Having arrived at the Teachers room, we get into a small conversation with the vice/principle, German teacher and my landlord Emma, who is this very short but sympathetic happy person. WE talked about the usual jazz, what ill do there, my impressions and a little small talk for a while until she called in two of the best German speaking students Mamicon and Nazahlie ( I hope thats how you spell the names) and they took the intern and me for a small walk around the city. Below, pictures of the school :

 

We walked down a small hill , crossed the „Getik“ river and walked around to the city center while visiting a small commemoration dedicated to fallen Armenians in wars before mamicon invited us to visit the house of a old Molokan woman. The Molokans being a religious minority group which settled in Armenia at the end of the 20th century. While the actual conversation was a little awkward since we coudnt speak any Armenian, the house it self was very pretty and unique. It turned out that she lived in that house her complete life, from birth to now, around 70  years. We did feel a bit bad through because we showed up out of the blue and kind of intruded haha.

Right so after we had our little mini/tour our whole group went back to Emmas place where i got to see my room and was treated to a group brunch.

Long story short, I ended up in my new home and arrived in Chambarack while the rest left for Yerevan.

So basically what happened i the following week  ( wow I really need to keep these short haha )  I managed to get myself a little comfortable in the school administrations life,  visited some  3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th grade classes to get a little feel for the teaching and started thinking about projects and workshops i could do for the Kids. Here are some of the thoughts:

  1.  A book club, maybe separate ones for different age/ level groups.
  2.  A Movie evening
  3.  A workshop connected with arts ( architecture , painting, contemporary)
  4.  A track workshop

Now It turned out that Emma needed to leave for 10 days with a group of students for a Cultural seminar on Georgia so i got the chance to take over her 7th and 9th grade German classes, which were from Tuesday to Friday. Of course the first lessons where a little rocky due to my inexperience and not being really able to communicate with the students but at the end of the week I was really having fun teaching the students and well it was cool haha. I also tried implementing the above mentioned movie evening on Thursday but due to the media player being a little weird , the film always reset every 5 minutes or so that sucked.

Number 1 thing i forgot : I was walking around the school premise with mamicon one day so i can get some reference pictures for my “ Blender “ Project and we arrived at the back of the big main building and we walk past this hole leading into the dirt, covered with like metal sheets, dirt and rubber tires and I ask him “ whats that ?“ and he was like : „Oh thats a Bunker “ and i was like “ Okeeeyy“ . Below a picture:

 

While im sure i missed to write a lot, if i remember it again ill definitely edit the post so y all wont even notice 😉 until next week my millions of readers,

Andrej

Arrival and first days in Yerevan

Dear readers,

So I have decided to write a little weekly update to keep memories for myself and record my developments here, since i doubt that many people will read this.  I know it been 10 days,but like i think the first time can be a little exception , so please forgive me O` humble visitors of this blog ( help me).

Looking back, my first paranoia which was partially instigated onto me about my parents at the check in counter regarding the weight of my carry on luggage ( it was more than 6 kg) and they thought the airport would check the weight of the hand luggage again before boarding the plane, and of course, it did not happen. during the flight i accidentally sat in the „Extra Leg-space“ area and i was questioned about it by one of the stewardesses and in a little panic I kinda saved myself . Now arrival at the airport was fine, only the line at immigration took about 45 minutes because two machines from Moscow had landed before us.

Coming to meet me were my Goethe institute partner and contact Dana, and the Institute employee Arthur at 4 am. Very thankful for that. After a drive through the dark capital of Yerewan i was dropped of at a Hostel which probably used to be a large family apartment turned into a Air BnB-isch hing. I got a room with three beds, one of them mine. The rest where empty during my stay. So exhausted after being awake for about 22 hours, i quickly got myself settled in before.

Now on the top is a picture of my messy room. I ended up using the second bed for a little table and spread all my things on that. Now In the next two days , i got to do a big variety of thing.

1.I helped with planning a school project which would happen in the Goethe Center, which would happen until the end of the year, and got to know the friendly staff of the Center

2. Went around town , seeing all the small things that make Yerevan a pretty interesting place. Especially the fact that armenians have probably invented the concept of going on walks since you can see the city being literally full with people at night! Another interesting and funny thing, especially since i live in a bigger city is the Metro system. While being similar in the monstrosity and the sound volume to the underground to Moscow , one gets tiny plastic chips to drop into the machines to get down low, which i found very cute and hilarious.

3. Got to do small errands for the DAAD ( Deutscher Akademische Austauschdienst ) and visit the German embassy where we coincidentally bumped into the german ambassador on the walk out which was funny.

Now after 3 days in Yerewan, my Goethe partner, a Intern, Arthur our friend from the center and I, set off to Chambarak for my final destination xD. One hour into our drive there, we stopped at a small Peninsula at the beaches of Lake Sevan so we can visit a small touristic site . After climbing a small mountain with the intern we stumbled upon a old religious site which was first established around if i can recall correctly, 300 b.c which is very impressive.

After our decent, we continued our trip and after taking a side road of the coast and driving throw a few valleys and up the side of a hill, we first got the sight of the town Chambarak. It was very idyllic, it reminded me very much like scenes from Studio Ghibli films if i think about it now .

Well, having that said, the actual arrival and the first week will be contents of a whole different Post. See you in a Jiffy,

Andrej

Foreword

First of all dear readers, I would like to draw attention to the level of Incompetence the developers of this blogging site have put into structuring and organizing the way content creators are introduced to this. I have literally not seen one helpful text while trying to figure out all the features and options I cant implement into this Blog and thus, would like to raise awareness to this problem since this platform has been used by the last 2 thousand or so volunteers and probably will be by the future generations. I will be struggling with the layout probably until the end of my service.

Having that said, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to welcome you all to my Blog. Posting will commence shortly , when I find out the basics of this platform.