Thursday, December 31, 2009

a brand new year

This picture comes from New Year's Eve last year. I was living with an Armenian family, following the patterns of their life and just getting a grip on speaking their language without coming across like a toddler: "Do you love water?"..... "I love water much right now." ....."No I don't eat because I much full, but thank you I love yours food." ..... "I think I must come to my house later right now is very late." It was worse than that - but anyhow New Year's is the biggest day of the year - gifts are given, people spend 5 days celebrating with all the food and drink they have gone into debt to give and share. The night begins at midnight, and lasts a good while. It's a bright full moon as well, which I can't help but think is a good sign for the start of a new year, around the world.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

road side wine tasting

The wine in Armenia isn't awful, but it's totally unpredictable. In my experience, one bottle of what I usually buy will be alright, the next slightly carbonated, and the next so sweet I have to spit it out. But the best wine here comes from the region I live in from a village called Areni in Vayots Dzor Region. On the side of the road there are small stands for about half a mile selling homeade wine in Coca-Cola bottles along with fruit, honey, and other things. My friends Emily, Henny, and I went wine tasting a few days ago in our preparation to buy 10 liters of the best roadside wine we could find for our Christmas party. So we walked from one stand to the next, testing all of it - getting happier and happier at each stop. We ended the day by carrying our 10 liters of wine up the steep hill to visit the church in the village, take a photo and celebrate on our success of getting 4 liters of wine for free. The audio is complete with drive by trucks, so listening to it twice might be a good idea.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

and so it is christmas

A few nights ago a few of us sat around a small table and drank homeade wine and hung out with an art professor from the university we teach at. He sang us an old traditional song while we held each others pinky fingers swaying back and forth like the way they dance here; I don't think the song has much to do with Christmas but it went well with the night. Merry Christmas to all!

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Piano Lessons

This is the piano I am learning on - the only one in the culture house used for lessons that is missing half the keys. And it sounds horrible, but then again, I'm as green as they come right now. My teacher, Susanna, is a really patient woman but she often just likes to play or sing for me rather than teach, although she praises how fast I am catching on. I'm learning Ava Maria, and I recorded her singing and me playing (with many mistakes). One of these keys sounds so bad that it makes me twitch when I replay it. It's a lot of fun learning to play the piano; the best $15 I spend every month.

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Where's your audio thing Paige?

These girls are obsessed with my audio recorder. And because I'm over at their house quite a bit, they bug me to play with it. They know it's in my bag, and even if I tell them I didn't bring it they know I'm lying. The first time I let them use it, they recorded 62 recordings. 10 second clips of silliness within an hour. So I stitched a few of them together - Russian TV in the background, my voice, them saying dumb things like" Listen to me, I'm telling you something." And then just laughter or silence. You'll see....

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Monday, December 7, 2009

girls' gym class

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I had the girls' 5th grade gym class to myself, which usually makes them wildly excited - because in the last 3 months we've played games that are new for them. Relay races with buckets of water, my suitcase of clothes they have to put on, running like a bear and a crab, and so on. This time though, the weather was bad and we got the gym to ourselves. So we played the old standby - dodgeball. The audio is like you'd expect, echoed screams and shouts that fill the space of a gym, so don't turn the volume up too loud.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

adding audio

I'm excited to put my pictures to audio. I brought back a cool little audio recorder with me so that I can record and remember the stories and voices from Armenia. Also so I can listen to myself speaking Armenian ten years later when I've long forgotten how to. This is my first piece, my friend Jon messing around on the guitar - learning minor and major chords one step at a time. He's not too keen on being recorded, but was a good sport. More to come.....

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the cafe father

My University class students keep standing me up! I come all prepared, and everyone has already left the building. They just don't know how cool my charts and graphs are that I made for them. So I killed some time in this cafe and took a few pictures of the others inside drinking tea, eating fattening potato stuffed fried dough biscuits. He looks like a character from The Godfather, or so I thought. Good thing he didn't notice me shooting his way.