ереван

That’s “Yerevan” written in Russian letters. It the capital city of Armenia, but it is also the name of a magazine written for Armenians in the diaspora. I wrote it in Russian letters because I just found out that the Russian edition (there is also an English and French edition) of this magazine recently had an article devoted to my village, Lor.

Yerevan Magazine's December issue

When I went over to my mayor’s house for dinner, he mentioned that this article existed, and that there was a picture of me inside. I vaguely remember some journalists arriving in the late summer/early fall, but I had no idea they would include me in their article (either the picture they snapped or the short conversation we had). In the picture found only in the print version, I’m standing near the village akhbyur (water source) in my flip flops with a red bucket. I could only understand bits and pieces of the article, as it is in Russian, but using Google translate I managed to decipher the following in the section that mentions me: that I am introduced by another villager as John, the American spy (they knew it was a joke), that I’ve been here for two years teaching English, and that I speak the local dialect of Armenian fluently.

Their photo of my village taken from one side of the valley

If you take about the part about being a spy, the rest is almost true. My name is Joel, which is almost John. I am American, but at the time had only been here just over a year. And while I can manage with the local dialect, my fluency is more in the standard Yerevan dialect. They also asked me if I would stay, and I replied that I would be leaving after completing my two years.

There are five pictures of my village in the online version of the article, all of which are of good quality. Once I obtain my own copy of the magazine, I will try to scan the picture and upload it, but until then I recommend checking out the pictures on their website to which I linked above.

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