Tuesday, May 29, 2007

tarberutsyun chka

I suppose life is really just a series of events to look forward to. I know that I’ve always kept my sanity through boring stretches of work or school by looking forward to the next fun event. These events are relative… in my previous life I would look forward to the golfing weekend with my college buddies, or the beginning of the Woodland City League basketball season… You know…. Big Things like that. I think I can gauge the descent of my life by what things I look forward to now. Things like the eggplant (which is phenomenal here) coming back into the market next month or finding a roll of paper towels in the market can set off a rush of endorphins shooting through my body. It’s sad really.
But one event will occur this week that is the mother of all events in the life of a Peace Corps volunteer. Bigger even than the eggplant… seriously. The arrival of the new group of volunteers.
47 new American, English-speaking, Freedom loving, pop-culture informed human beings will be flying into Armenia on June 1st. They will bring with them glorious things like new DVDs, new stories and new books. They will also be bringing way too much stuff, from which many useful things can be instantly plundered by the more experienced volunteers.
Some of the current volunteers are looking forward to the infusion of new friends, others to potential life partners (tons of these fools get married over here), still others to being in a more “expert position” no longer the “new” volunteers. I… I just look forward to having some sort of concrete threshold, some marker to have passed. Technically I’m not even halfway done with my service yet, but with the arrival of these new volunteers I feel like I’m finally summiting and on the downward slope of my service. Secondarily I am looking forward to a much needed infusion of unfounded and uninformed idealism. I hope it is refreshing to all the older volunteers. I should also mention that there is a cool party that accompanies the night before arrival.
I remember vividly meeting the new group of volunteers last year. After such a long trip from New York the group of volunteers was bleery-eyed and sleep deprived. The Peace Corps shoved down our throats the idea that we needed to get off the plane dressed professionally, as that is how everyone in Peace Corps Armenia dressed. As we disembarked our bus (all dressed in suits, ties, and dresses) we approached the most rag-tag bunch of scruffy Americans I may have ever seen concentrated in one area. It was almost like they had done a sweep of the underbelly of the overpasses of San Francisco and collected all the sodden and downtrodden and plopped them down just outside of Zvartnots airport in Yerevan, Armenia. It’s been a long time since I read “the Lord of the Flies” but approaching this scene I must admit that my mind leapt immediately to this story. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to be on this island.
This year I’m sure it will be no different. I sure as hell ain’t wearin’ a suit. What a difference a year makes.

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