Friday, August 5, 2011

Vartavar Holiday

I was sitting in my garden. Literally just sitting there staring at a flower. All of the sudden I see just the heads of a couple Americans bobbing down the path. Joining them are the heads of three Armenian boys from the village. Seconds later I am doused with buckets of water. Happy Water Day. After engaging in an entertaining water fight with my family, my mom handed me a bucket and the Americans ran off through the village intent on proving their worth. We were attacked halfway down the street but managed to hold our own. After emptying our water supply, we ducked into Lisa’s house for a refill and were promptly attacked by her mom. Filling our buckets in their front gate bathtub we ran outside and after a few minutes of battle with the village kids enlisted them to help ambush the last two American girls.

The next two hours consisted of the following: 100s of buckets of water being dumped on my head while the boys yelled “Kelli-jan is showering!” We broke off for a bit to douse our language teacher with water and also to chase somebody’s older cousin and his friends through three of their houses. After finally deciding to go home, I ran out the back gate of a friend’s house and started a steady jog home, hopping to put some distance between myself and the kids with water. They didn’t notice my escape until I had at least 100 yards on them and I was able to outrun all of them until I reached my turn off where two girls were waiting, ready with buckets. They got me once and I just barley dashed in our gate and slammed it in some other kids’ faces before they hurled water over our gate in one last attempt to get me.

I didn’t leave the house for the rest of the afternoon. However, at 7 I had to get all the way across town to our language teachers’ house where we were going to make pizza. I put my supplies in a ziplock bag and set off, thankful the streets were peaceful. I took with me a nalgeen full of water, for drinking naturally, but to be used in case of needed defense. I ran into a small child, no older than 4 halfway down the street and when he saw my water bottle, he ran over to me and punched me in the thigh. I told him I wasn’t going to pour water on him but he just punched me again. I wasn’t really sure how to handle him so I just kept walking, chuckling a bit. He ran after me and tried to pull down my shorts. I heismaned him as gently as possible and continued on my way. As I neared the main street I could hear the kids out by the running spring so I made my friend’s tatik let me in their back gate and got a bucket. Once I got out the front gate I was dry for all of 5 seconds.

Now, not only were the Americans mercilessly attacked but everybody was fair game that day. Tatiks, mamas, small children, store owners, cars driving by with open windows, bus passengers. I saw an old man run faster than I would have believed and jump a wall (cigarette in hand) when we chased him through his garden. I saw Lisa’s tatik take a whole bucket of water to the face. We dumped 6 buckets of freezing cold water on our language teacher’s head, one after the other.

I think we earned the respect of the village boys. We proved that we could not only take multiple buckets of water to the head but also that we were willing to chase them all the way down the street and throw our own bucket of water right back in their face.

The holiday occurs 98 days after Easter. Needless to say, this holiday makes my top 5 list.

1 comment:

  1. that. was. awesome.
    i always appreciate a good verb use of "heisman," whether in Kunming or Armenia.
    also, i'm sure there is reason to it, but "98 days after Easter" seems superbly random.

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