This post wont be long. As the title implies, I have been at my permanent site for one week. School doesn't start until September 1st. I have been reading, taking naps, studying (a little), making tea, and amusing myself with any activity I can create for myself.
I have been lucky enough to work with my counterpart for an hour or so every day at school. I will be team-teaching grades 3,6,7 and 8. In Armenian schools, the students stay in one room all through school and the teachers move from classroom to classroom. We are lucky enough to have an English Resource Center which is a small room with a white board, printer, projector, one computer, a few desks and chairs, and various English resources my counterpart has collected over the years. My main job will be to help my counterpart effectively teach English despite the textbooks we have to work with. Hopefully we’ll be able to get the students more involved in the classroom with games, activities, visual aids, etc. Other than teaching I’ll be helping run an English club for students and possibly one for teachers. As time goes on, I’ll pick up other projects as well.
My new host family is just one host mom who is wonderful. I will most likely rent her second house from her come November when I can finally get my own place. It is right next door to where we are living now, close to school and my counterpart’s apartment and has a view of the mountains surrounding us. It is also completely furnished and has indoor plumbing.
Dilijan is a pretty spread out town but I don’t mind the walking. The Armenians think I am crazy but I try to point out to them that I walk 10x faster than they do and I don’t wear 4 inch stiletto heals all the time so walking is much more enjoyable for me than it is for them. It is about a half hour walk to downtown Dilijan where I can get some shopping done, get mistaken for a Russian tourist, and visit my sitemates for a bit. Judy and I are taking our time off before school starts to slowly explore the town and see what is available in various stores. So far we have found some small grocery stores, and a few warehouse-esq buildings with as many Chinese and Turkish products as you could want. I know where to go when I want to buy a lime green housecoat.
Because Dilijan is a larger tourist town, most people just ignore us assuming we are just tourists passing through. Some try to sell us tablecloths. Living in a town is different from living in a small village where EVERYBODY knows who you are but we still have our micro-communities in Dilijan. The other day when I was walking home, two different neighbors stoped me and asked me if I had eaten that day because they knew my host mom was gone and that I was home alone. Only after assuring them that I had and that I was in fact headed home to eat right that minute did they let me continue on my way.
I’m enjoying the relaxing pace of settling in but am also excited for school to start and to begin working.
If you want my address, let me know and I’ll send it your way!
I’ll be uploading more pictures soon!