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.