Life in Armenia

August 28th: On Thursday and Friday I made a short trip to Georgia, better to say to Tserakvi. It is a small village in the border region to Armenia and Azerbaijan that hosts every year a festival called "One Caucasus". The concept of the festival is really great as it aims to connect people from all three Caucasian countries. Instead of fighting each other they make music, dance and celebrate together!

On the way back I also got to know a rock musician from Azerbaijan who is somehow a famous person in his country because he got second when he was participating in the qualification for the European Vision Song Contest.

You see, there are more and more reasons to visit the spectacular region of Caucasus ;)

August 18th: Last week I spent five days of my holidays in Georgia and I went hiking with some friends from Tbilisi. It was really an amazing tour through the Kazbegi region! Once I got wet feed because I didn't manage to cross the river (see below) in an appropriate way :D

Here you can watch more pictures I took from these days.

July 28th: Last Saturday we had guests from Yerevan. Anna and Konrad, also EVS volunteers, visited us in Dilijan and we decided to went for a short hiking tour not far from our home. It was a really nice day and we met not just the horses you can see in the photo gallery. Also cows and many insects accompanied us :D but it is always worth going for such a hiking trip and enjoying the nature :)

June 25th: Today I will present some photos that I took already last month. They show the military parade in Dilijan from 28 May, the Republican Day. For me as a German such a military parade feels a bit strange as we have almost not such events in Germany. But, of course, the situation in Armenia and its history is totally another. Not just that military parades were very common during the Soviet time but also the current conflict with Azerbaijan increases government's will to show one's own military power to the people.
But to be honest. I don't like such parades and I was happy that not so many people attended this event.

May 19th: Maybe you didn't know about this - but after the departure of our two Italian volunteers we (that is Marcel and I) moved to another flat. The flat and also the furniture is very old and some things were or still are broken. For example water is always flowing out of the tap in the kitchen. We need to close the main pipe in order to stop the water flowing. This leads to very high consumption of water (I can read the water use from the meter in the bathroom) and I hope that this problem will be solved soon. Another reason for our high degree of water usage is also that we have to wash our clothes by hand. It is a bit annoying but more or less I got used to it :D

So in the end I decided to show you a picture of the view from our balcony ;)

View from our balcony
View from our balcony

May 4th: With this emotional video Roberta said "Good bye!" after 6 months of EVS in Armenia, Thank you Roberta for the time you shared with us. I wish you all the best for the future!

April 27th: It is already a few days ago that I updated my reports about my life in Armenia. So, below you can have a look at our activities during our free time :D we used the nice and hot weather to make some traditional Armenian barbecue (khorovats) and warm our hands on open fire. That were really joyful evenings with very tasty dishes!

March 30th: On last Sunday the members of the YCCD Youthbank project and YCCD staff and volunteers celebrated together. It was a really hilarious party with delicious food, good music and interesting talks. Below you can find some impressions from this day.

March 21st: After our midterm meeting in Misaktsieli we stayed two more days in Tbilisi. We wanted to spend the time for both cultural activities and discovering Tbilisi. Thus we decided to visit the Georgian National Museum where we could learn about the Georgian ancient and late history. The museum is quite interesting but out of my eyes the concept was not very convincing. More convincing were the two evenings in the old town of Tbilisi :D

On Saturday evening we met with two French volunteers and after enjoying delicious Georgian wine we found a nice club for dancing and getting in contact with locals. The next evening Andrea, Roberta and I spent in a traditional Georgian restaurant with live music and traditional Georgian dishes. A very joyful evening as well!

Below and here you can find some pictures from the trip.

End of February: After I spent 10 days in St. Petersburg where I met with some of my friends and visited the Faculty of Sociology of the State University, I came back to Dilijan where we just a few days later hosted friends from Minsk and Yerevan. Khachatur from Yerevan just came back from his EVS in Italy and supported our Italian volunteers with their photo project. Katya and Olga from Minsk took part in an international training course in Armenia and caught the opportunity to visit us in Dilijan. We spent two really nice Armenian-Belarusian-Italian-German evenings together :)

January 31st: Usually on Saturday at 12 we have our European Club and direct afterwards the English Class. But due to the rampant flue, unfortunately, nobody came to the European Club. And since we decided to start the English Class one hour later, we had enough time to go for a walk in Dilijan.

When we passed the old centre of Dilijan, we saw some men sitting on horses and were really interested what is happening there. Roberta wanted to take some photos and so we asked the men what they are doing. To our surprise these people were shooting scenes for a new film about a famous Armenian writer (unfortunately I already forgot the name^^). This is not the hero on the picture, he is an marshal. We were lucky because they just had a break and allowed us to take some pictures with them. That was a really nice and unexpected experience as we just wanted to have a small walk in Dilijan! :D

January 9th: As time flies, 2015 is over and 2016 started. And it started very well!

I decided to spend the New Year holidays in Dilijan and to discover the Armenian tradition of New Year and Christmas celebration. New Year's Eve I spent together with my host family. Right at the beginning I got to know the first unknown "tradition" at New Year's Eve. From Germany I am used to that celebrations on this evening start around 8 pm with the countdown and highlight at midnight. But in Armenia before midnight there is no party, there is just preparation for that what happens after 12 a.m. Because after we welcomed the New Year with the first toast at midnight, the neighbours visited my host family and we visited also the neighbours. (First 5 photos)

But, of course, visiting doesn't just mean to come to one's home and have a small talk. No. As you can see, in every house there is a table full of very delicious cold and warm dishes. And I can promise you: it is very tasty! As you might also see Armenian cognac and vodka is a must have on every table ;)

Maybe you think "Who should eat all this food in one night?!". Good question! The answer is: People in Armenia don't just celebrate New Year's Eve at 31 December and Christmas at 6 January, but also at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 January! :D Within these days relatives and friends visit each other and spend great hours together. Also Roberta and me (Andrea left over the holidays for Italy) visited our friends Shushan (photo no. 6), Nelli and Alik (no. 7), and Aida and Artur (photo will come soon).

I have to thank all the people who hosted us in such a kind and lovely way during these days!

(On the last picture you can see Christmas wishes from one of the participants of the Do-It-Yourself Club for me ;) )


December 25th: While in Europe most people celebrated Christmas, in Armenia there was - nothing. Due to the fact that the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrates Christmas on January 6, the most important celebration is New Year Eve and the following days.

Nonetheless we used the Thursday and Friday to visit our EVS friends Anaelle and Magali in Yerevan. We found a really nice Spanish restaurant and had a great evening with delicious Spanish dishes and sangria

December 3rd: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

November 11th: In the last days we had two celebrations. The first was a great welcome evening for the Italian volunteers (Roberta and Andrea) and me. It was a really great evening! We danced, sang and had lot of fun. And I got to know many new people from Dilijan, and I really like getting to know new people :D

The second celebration was yesterday: my birthday. Now I am already 25 years old, a quarter of century...  but it's a nice age ;) My colleagues as well as my host family made nice surprises and presents for me :) So I had really exciting last days!

October 18th: After a one day stay in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, I arrived in Dilijan. It's a really nice small town situated in a valley and next to the river Aghstev.

Yesterday I already moved in at my host family. A really nice family consisting of the father Ararat, the mother Armine and the two sons Tigran and Hayk. Today Artur, my mentor from YCCD, visited with Ararat and me the famous Haghartsin Monastery. It is a monastery built between 10th and 14th centuries. I was really overwhelmed by the high mountains and the nature surrounding this area. During autumn the forest shines in beautiful green, brown and orange colours.

After we went home I started to learn some basics of Armenian language with Ararat. I almost know the whole alphabet :-D  Also Ararat taught me how to write my name: Ռիկարդո. I think after the first hours of learning it is not that bad... But there are still some problems of pronunciation I hope to solve in the next months ;-)