Friday, March 02, 2007


Hello Everyone!
Sorry it has been a while since my last update. As I write, on this wonderful first day of March, I am experiencing my first evening in my new place, new home. I moved out of my host family, into an apartment in the village. I live close to my work and have met my neighbors which eases me with my safety and security. My host family is absolutely wonderful as they have provided me with so much. My host brother, who is 9, insisted that he stay with me this night, as he wanted to make sure that I am safe, though he, himself is afraid of the dark. I took me up on his offer, and put him to work; cleaning the house, hanging some curtains, etc. The night ended with some SWISS MISS hot chocolate and some studying. I went to wash my face only to come back to my little host bro asleep with his Armenian textbook on his head. I must have worked him too hard! I have a picture, it is priceless.

I really love my host family and it has been a wonderful experience. I am just ready to have a little more independence…(you know I love this). I am confident in my language skills though I study every night and still see a tutor. I just want to be perfect at this language, but it is impossible!!

School is going well and my clubs are thriving. I hope I am not jinxing myself by saying this, but it is a blast! The students, of any age, can be rotten at times, but I get to have complete control of my clubs and have my own rules, and I think that they are scared of strict Miss Merz; yes, I am Miss Merz and it is weird! I really enjoy teaching, more than I ever thought. I have also team-taught with my good Armenian friend at a university. There is just something about higher education that continues to magnetize me in that direction.

Funding has been approved for the summer youth environment camps, so another volunteer and I are currently translating (WITH HELP) the curriculum, applications, etc. Trainings are schedule and soon will be underway. We hope to start the camps in June, depending when the school session will end. The next group of volunteers will be coming around this time, which is crazy to even think about, as it will mark the year anniversary of my group being in service. CRAZY! I looked back in my journal from last year, and it was in February when I accepted my Armenian service invitation. Time is flying and there is so much to do here!

So I have written one grant, and WOW, that was a challenge. I hope to write another soon, for the repairs of the school’s basketball gym/floor/ it is not really a floor or a gym. The grant requires a lot of help from the Armenians, and they are quite busy right now, so I will keep on persuading them, and we will see what happens. The basketball clubs have helped me gained some respect in the villages, especially from the men. So I props goes to Prich( my bkb coach) for developing my mad skills..hehehe.

Lastly, I have been pretty active in developing a teacher’s activity workbook for Armenian English teachers. We are having a conference in March, and I will be presenting some ideas and this workbook with my counterpart. It will be a wonderful opportunity for her and others.

It is still cold here, but warming up. We get random snowfalls here and there, and I am told this will continue until May. Not bad, expect there are no concrete roads, which makes a complete MUD MESS. And knowing my gracefulness, I am known at the dirty teacher, as my pants always have mud spots from walking to school. Oh well, I cannot change who I am. If I am not covered in mud, I am covered in chalk. It is simply a no win situation for me, so why bother, eh? Hehee

So last time we chatted, or shall I just say, I wrote a blog and you read it; I have found out that the Indianapolis Colts have won the Super Bowl (YEAHHHHHHHH) and that Peter Pan Peanut Butter is being recalled, especially with the code starting with 2111. Well I hit that jackpot, as I am starting at the 2111 on my Peter Pan can that with a kind and generous heart, was sent to me by a wonderful friend. Rats. I am have tempted to just eat it, but then again, I am just a wimp in when I am sick. Such a small tragedy. A whole can a Peanut Butter that I can’t even give to the dogs. The main Peace Corps Staff has sent out an alert to us about this, as it tells you the how many cans of peanut butter are being imported to Armenia!

Other than that, I am sorry for a boring update. Things are going well and wish you all could come and see some of the small process that I am starting to see. It is so humbling realize that a smile can make such a huge difference in a day.

Thanks to all of you who continue to show your support through emails, letters, packages, goodies, and words of encouragement. It really keeps me going, especially on those days where I wish I could flap my arms and fly back to my comfort zone in America. There are many rough bumps on this journey, but then again, the Deck of Life is a fair game, it is just how you place your cards. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose, sometimes the odds are continuously against us, and sometime a little bit of luck comes our way. I hope I make some sense here…basically just live life no matter what curveball comes your way.

Congratulations to Katie who was just recently married, and Laurel who will soon tie the knot. All the birthdays here and there and everywhere. Many special things are happening to you all, and I wish I could be there for you, during the highs and lows. Nevertheless, know that I think of you all often and the village does as well, as I tell them lots J They all send their wishes to you.

Happy Spring,
Your Syd
PS Don’t yell at me if I have grammar errors... no one has yet. I know I teach English, but internet time is precious…