Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Here it is, the triumphant and actual start of the blog! This is Jason Chandler writing from Armenia, in case any of you got here by accident. I've now been living in Armenia for three months and I've moved to a town called Martuni on the Southwest corner of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan). But to start us off, I want to share some pictures and words from Gyulagarak, my first stomping grounds and home here in Hyastan.

Brothers Narek and Garnik in Gyulagarak


She stands in the garden
Among the Cartopheel plants
Smiles, says Barev.
We gather close
And look at each other
And speak some words
And say Hajor in parting.
We smile
We know that we are friends
And we will see each other again soon


The morning was cold, but the day quickly turned hot. Now the clouds have built over the lush, green pasture hills that surround the valley. The forested hillsides are a mossy green, it is bright and warm, and a few raindrops have begun to fall. A young cow grazes on grass and bushy flowers, the vegetation thick with rich, damp soil beneath. A hen picks its way along, bobbing and pecking at the earth beneath the apple and pear trees.

An old Land Rover nudges by on the muddy road. Its passengers smile, honk, and wave at me. Garlic, onions, peas, cucumbers, and potatoes grow in neat rows in the garden plot. A young boy, four years old, pushes his bright yellow convertible up to the "Kochrosh" bushes, where he stops, picking and munching on the tiny tart fruits. Rows of tall sticks rise out of one plot, and over the summer pea plants will wind their way up towards the sun. An old, gray-green dump truck sits by the shed, in between the garden and the house. It is propped up with one tire missing, and faded white Russian letters decorate the driver-side door.

A bald, grass and rock pyramid rises from across the river to the west, standing to the garden in partial view. A higher ridge rises to south, massing the big billowy clouds that often stretch over the valley. The neighbors' brick and stone house stands quiet across the path next to a house made entirely of rusted sheet metal. More structures stand in all directions with shingles or tin roofs, trees everywhere. The smell of cows, rain, and the garden fill the air.

the local church and school


dburkey said...

What a great running commentary. I love your descriptions of every day events. I recall events, chance meetings while living in Kenya and how everywhere I went a chicken had to die as the white guy needed a meal. It's nice to see values that don't include so many of the things that consume my day.

dburkey said...

Hello Jason,
Not being a regular blog commentor I really enjoy reading your blog as much to drink in your enthusiasm for all aspects of the experience from family, work and environment. Khachkars to soil samples to language expressions is living life to the fullest.