01 January 2009

Welcome, 2009...and let it snow!



It snowed quite a bit this week, and it's still coming down. Our coworker Eric invited us to spend New Year's Eve with his family, so we went to their apartment for dinner and conversation...oh, yes, and a 20 year-old bottle of Armenian cognac. Eric was also drinking his favorite beer -- I believe it was called Kotzah, a Russian word that means 'goat' (don't ask me why anyone would name a beverage after a farm animal). Anyway, in Armenia, to call someone a goat is to say that he is a stupid idiot, so most Armenians wouldn't want to drink this beer...but Eric loves it just the same. The family of Eric's wife Rada attended the party, too, and we all had a great time, including Nathan and Eric's 2-year-old son Alex, who played together very well despite the fact that neither of them had done any substantial napping during the day. By the way, Nathan really loves black olives and pickles -- what a strange baby!

We didn't turn on the TV until about 10 minutes before midnight. In sharp contrast to what we're used to seeing on American television on New Year's Eve, we first saw the Catholikos (head of the Armenian Church) giving a speech, followed by the president addressing the nation. Apparently, the Armenians who were in the room with us are not very fond of President Sarkisian and they told us all about how he is not a true Armenian and how he stole the election. We still have much to learn about Armenian politics, I suppose. Immediately afterwards, an image of a clock striking midnight appeared onscreen, and the fireworks began outside. Many people were shooting fireworks from their balconies and everyone's car alarms went off. From the kitchen window, we could even see some of the fireworks display put on by the city (Eric's building is about a 5-minute walk from Republic Square). The kids loved all the commotion! Eric, who is from Indiana, joked with his father-in-law that since Armenia was now in 2009 and the U.S. was a year behind, Americans were the "bloody savages" for once. Then Rada's brother Sam reminded him that Australia is ahead of us, so we're still the goats after all!

Finally, we called for a taxi and headed home...Nathan passed out immediately and slept hard through the night.

Today we've been invited to celebrate the New Year with our friend Maria at her parents' home, just a few streets away from our apartment. We are looking forward to more delicious food! These festivities should continue for several days until Armenian Christmas on the 6th. During that time, most stores and businesses will remain closed, so a couple days ago we stocked up on diapers and essential food items, just in case we can't go shopping for a while.

Happy New Year...or as they say in Armenia, (be sure to roll the Rs) shnor-haVOR nor TAri!

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