I recently had to go to the post office to pick up a package. Now, I would like to say that I have a horrible sense of direction, but that would imply that I actually had a sense of direction to ascribe an adjective to. So, I went to what I incorrectly assumed was the correct location to pick up my parcel. After a quick chat with the employee, she promptly called her taxi driver friend to take me to the correct post office location and actually joined us on the trip, obvs, because this is Armenia.

Anyway, after getting through all the requisite niceties of where I was from etc., the driver immediately started going into “something, something, Armenia will never change, something, something.” And before my eyes glazed over completely my new post office bestie decided to shut him down. Hard.  She told a little story that I’d very much enjoy recounting.

There was and there wasn’t.  One day my new friend went for a walk with her friend, her friend’s husband and their child.   The husband was eating a banana. After peeling said banana, he disposed of the peel on the sidewalk. She couldn’t hold in her anger and reprimanded the man whilst providing him numerous options of what he could have done, foremost among them simply holding onto the peel until they reached a trash can. She then said, this is the type of person who will then visit Europe and come back lamenting how dirty Armenia is and how clean and well-kempt Europe is. “Akh, Yevrobah…” She continued loudly reprimanding her taxi driver friend saying that all change begins with the individual and that the only fault Armenians have is that we never feel we can make a difference ourselves and just sit back and lackadaisically accept whatever fate we think we deserve.

I wanted to take her delightfully chubby face into my arms and kiss her forehead, but I refrained. I did however yell out “jishd es!” and just made some loud, inaudible noises out of excitement while clapping my hands together like a toy monkey. “Ayo! Ayo! Jishd essssssskkkksdfsafa;sdfasdf;as”

monkey

This loud and proud affirmation of self-empowerment came from a woman who most would probably have written off as this or that. And this has been the trend of most of my experience in Armenia actually. I’ve learned never to underestimate or count someone out. Because you never know when you’ll come around a middle-aged post office employee who has the answer to pretty much all of the nation’s problems and will defy whatever stereotype you have set in your head about how people are supposed to be over here.

 

*****If you have any funny, interesting, swashbuckling, thought-provoking, heart-warming story that you would like to share about an experience you have had in Armenia, please either email me at notyourgrandmasarmenia@gmail.com or message me at https://www.facebook.com/NotYourGrandmasArmenia?ref=hl  I will post them anonymously on the facebook page and spread the good vibes and perhaps dispel a stereotype or two in the process.