Date: Wed, 8 Jul 1998 15:02:56 +0400
From: "Katy Pearce, live from Yerevan" <>
Subject: Re: parev!

Everything is going so well. I wish now that I would have taken Eastern- at least the letters don't sound exactly alike! But I'm doing well with the language- I can conjugate -5L (ye-el) verbs, know a lot of vocabulary (50 words a night!), count, read, write, etc. It's going too fast for some people, but with all of my language background, it seems to be a bit slow- we go over and over again all of this grammar that people really should have learned in high school. I have a few friends who speak Armenian (Western or Eastern) fluently, and there are a ton of people who speak "kitchen" Armenian- straight from their grandparents. There is another odar here- Richard, a Russian/Soviet Studies major w/ an interest in Armenia. Otherwise, Richard and I write our names Bryanian and Pearcian... everyone's really in to their heritage. I wear sunglasses outside, because supposedly I "pass" if people don't see my blue eyes. Nayiri and I get asked all the time, "What time is it?" Can you help me?" by young guys wanting to know if we're just stupid Americans. We answer (obviously Nayiri faster than myself) and show them up. I'm amazed how women are treated here not only buy men but by women too. The guys' room in the dorm gets cleaned everyday for free. We had to beg and beg and pay $30 (for two months of weekly cleaning) to get someone to even sweep our room. The guys get their laundry done for free, etc. etc. I joke that since the language is non-gender specific for the most part it justifies, but obviously it doesn't. When it becomes apparent that we are American girls that demand respect (specifically in the villages) people relax their ways a bit. Speaking of the villages- it's so amazing. People are cool in Yerevan, but it's a big city, just like any other big city. We go to a village and people feed us, DEMAND that we drink with them, make us great lavash and spicy green bean sandwiches, beg us to take pictures and more. Of course we occasionally run in to people asking for visas- voche voche, che, che... we often try to play dumb, like we're stupid American kids that don't understand politics, especially the politics of visas/passports/immigration... Everyone in the group is appreciating my history background- they know church history and slanted history.
The Turk jokes I've heard- sheesh!
It's great being able to see all of these places that I've read about or heard about-- Republic Square- gotta go to Hotel Armenia to use the phone (it's been bought by Mariott- Hotel Ani may be soon too,
did you hear yet?) and it's amazing to think of all that happened there. Same with the Opera House- yeah, it's a big piano filled with roller blading kids- but it still bears its history to those that know.
I've also talked a lot of politics with kids that go to AUA and YSU... there is an international club at YSU that gets together with us a few times a week... we drink Kotayks, talk about music, language, etc...
But I've thoroughly discussed things with a bunch of them... their takes on the situation of the past 10 years- basically what has been going on since they were old enough to comprehend it, it totally unique. Reading Malkasian, Yost, Suny is great... but speaking with kids that have had their lives totally twisted around is so much more powerful. Their parents too- although with all that they have lived through it's not suprising that they just roll with the punches...

I have to go now- language lab and flash cards...

by the way- your map has helped 12 confused college students find their way everywhere... and, no one told me that it appears that Coca Cola and Marlboro own 1/2 of this country ;)

Talk to you soon... reporting from the 6th floor of the AUA

Katy Pearce

Armenia Live :)