Saturday, June 5, 2010

You want me to WORK…really?

School for us in Armenia ended about two weeks ago and I thought that with the graduation ceremony we were done until September first. I guess that was a little ridicules of me since school in back in America doesn’t end for teachers until after a few days of meetings and stuff. So anyways, I went off to my old host village without asking permission from my school director to go. My director and I don’t see eye to eye on many things and he always wants me to tell him when I’m leaving the community. I feel like as an adult who lives in a foreign country on his own I don’t need to ask his permission for anything. So this past Monday I come to school to finish up a SPA application, more on that later, and find that he is pissed at me for about the one hundredth time this year. His question to me was “who told you you could go to Charantsevan” and I thought to myself nobody told me I could go because I didn’t think I needed your permission to do what I want to do. But this is one of the places where American and Armenian minds differ big time! For example in the United States if the principle walked into your classroom you would quickly act like you were diligently working on school work but here if the school director walks in everybody stands. I always get confused by the commotion that goes into this and I look around for the president or dignitary who must have just entered. But every time its only the school director and me having forgotten to stand in the first place is caught the only person still sitting in the entire classroom trying to figure out why everybody is making such a big deal out of this guy walking into the room. He is the type of guy who wants to be in charge and wants everybody in the room to know it. For example what have I done in the week since he has made me come to school? Well, I’ve caught up on my gossip, learned who is selling what vegetables at outrageous prices, inspected the hems of many skirts (the teachers I guess forget that I’m in the room because they hike up those skirts and compare linings and hems like nobodies business) and that’s been about it. A week well spent? I can think of more fun things to be doing. I did however finish my SPA project which is a way for me as a Peace Corps Volunteer to help out my school by writing a small grant that will hopefully provide a nice playground and football field for the kids. Lets hope it gets approved. My school director said he’s going to fire me if it doesn’t and while he thinks it’s a threat I secretly feel relief every time I hear him say that. If he fires me then I can go somewhere else where they don’t make you sit in the teachers lounge for three hours everyday during the summer.
On a different note this week was the 77th birthday of this lady in my town. I have been to her and her sisters house many times. Both ladies are very nice but I think a bit eccentric and senile. For example, at the birthday we are sitting at the table and one of the sisters decides to pour herself a glass of water. The entire time she is completely missing her glass and pouring the water onto a plate of tomatoes next to the glass. Another time I was over there she picked up a box of chocolates upside down and spilled them all over the field. Its funny to watch but sad at the same time because they can’t take care of themselves.
The next two weeks I will be a camp counselor and after that I’ll be teaching English in Artik. Thanks Jake and Melissa for the package. The students will be able to use that stuff for a long