About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.

4.1.18

Trip to Tbilisi

We arrived yesterday in the afternoon. The bus ride was a little tiring but we made it safe at around 4pm. Friends were accompanying us. It is their first trip to Georgia, they are really excited to discover the place.     





Even though it is not my first trip to this city, it is going to be interesting to explore it once more through my kids. I often travel to this place for work, since it is the most neutral space in the region where we can meet with our partners from Azerbaijan and Georgia, all together. So Tbilisi has been over the years, a place of meetings and conferences, but this time i will enjoy it this time as a complete tourist. 

We have rented a cozy affordable two-story house through airbnb, which is very well located, near Rustaveli; one of the main streets in Tbilisi, where the parliament, the museums, the ballet and theatre are located and many restaurants and stores.  
For our first day, we took a short walk down Rustaveli, where we met many Armenians. For the past years Armenians are favouring spending the New Year in Tbilisi, running away from the hustle and bustle of Yerevan and the exaggerated prices of short getaways in resort towns in Armenia. After the walk we ended up at the Lolita restaurant a trendy place with an outdoor sitting area. It was great enjoying delicious burgers and cool music, with the kids outside in January. 

We ended up the day with a short visit to a donut place(a favourite of my daughter) for coffee and sweets then bought some basics from the nearest supermarket and headed back to the house for a good sleep

2.1.18

Celebrations 2018

It is our 15th Christmas and New Year in Armenia. Things have changed over the years; in 2003, we wouldn’t see a single decoration on the streets, on the windows of the shops on the streets, or on the balconies of apartments. We could find some lighting decorations here and there but nothing majestic. The markets, restaurants, bars, shops would all close from the 31st to the 13th of January, until the old New Year. Local friends would advise us to buy bread for a couple of days, as well as food, to survive the long holiday. The whole country would stop for 2 weeks; rest, celebrate, eat, drink, and visit each other. Mothers, aunts, daughters would spend days cooking the traditional food; the Bood (porc leg/thigh), dolma, blinchiks, “olivye” salad and many other meals essential to the Armenian festive table. 




Things are changing over the years. Today unfortunately, larger supermarkets appeared everywhere, with longer opening hours, more products. You don’t need to buy extra bread and stock up on food before the holidays since most places open up earlier. The holiday period shortened as well, with capitalism gaining more power in this tiny post-soviet republic. Everyone is back to work around the 7th of January. For next year the government adopted a decision to close for the holidays from the 31st to 2 January and then for the 6th for Armenian Christmas, shortening even more the holiday period. Walking on the streets of downtown Yerevan, You can see more decorations on the streets, some nice others with less taste, but definitely more people and stores decorating earlier.

The sad part is that poverty is increasing but people still insisting on taking loans to prepare an overloaded festivity table. Everyone complains about the situation, but as usually rarely people will change their attitudes and behaviour. 

Nevertheless I enjoy the  simplicity of celebrating New Years in Armenia. This year we opted for an Italian night with seafood pasta (with frozen seafood available at carrefour:) and an authentic Italian lasagna and for desert carrot cake and ice-cream. Being a Repat and still considered more a diaspora living in Armenia than a local, still gives me the privilege on deciding which traditions to keep which to avoid. The dinner will be followed by lots of singing and music. Having super talented kids passionate of music makes our celebrations even more fun and joyful; so Vayk on drums, Varanta on base, Vocals by Amassia and entretainement by Yeprad, we are set for a nice cozy evening welcoming the New Year.