Sunday, March 30, 2008

Broken Glass

The first week we were in Armenia Jonelle accidently broke a plate, I
thought, "no big deal it is a common pattern we can replace it."
The second week, she broke a china cup, and to that I said, "now that
is going to be a little harder to find." That same week I broke a
glass of which we had a bunch of and I said, "we have a lot no one
will miss it."
The third week, she broke a mug, and I said, "I didn't really like
the pattern or style, no big deal." Then she broke the saucer to the
china cup, to which I said, "Well now they are even again." Peter
broke a shot glass, and I said, "Now what was the Peter doing with a
shot glass?"
The fourth week Jonelle broke another plate different pattern of
course, and I just shrugged my shoulders, and then I broke another
china cup, and although no one saw, they are uneven now. Jonelle then
proceeded to break a ice cream bowl, and a coffee cup, I said nothing.
The fifth week Judi broke a coffee cup (she said it was the boys
fault) and then she dropped a jar of strawberry jam, Jonelle said
"couldn't you have dropped the rose hip jam?" Later that day I
dropped a jar of natural juice mix in the same spot, to which Vram
said "we can save it, quick get a strainer!" Jonelle then moved the
dresser away from the wall which cause the mirror that was neither
attached to the dresser nor nailed to the wall to fall and break both
mirror and frame! I shouldn't of said anything but what ever I did say
wasn't very helpful. Later that day the boys were fighting over using
the computer and attempting to get Frank out of the way Peter decided
to push the whole table over! Fortunately the laptop did not break,
but one of the two glass inserts from the table did, to this our
friend Gohar said, "You just need to break one more thing today to
stop the cycle." Jonelle obliged her by breaking a tea cup in serving
her tea that night.
I'm publishing this now because either the cycle stops, or we will be
out of dishes soon. If Serop's wife only knew...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mexican Food

This may look like black beans, rice, salsa, chips and a Corona....
...but really it tasted like dolma and vodka.
No really it wasn't Corona, not even close. We were so disappointed!
The chips...fried lavash! Really the whole thing was pretty bad.
Mexican food is going to be harder than we thought.

Pride Comes Before The Fall

Monday night we were scheduled to have Sam (remember soorj-mart
(coffee-man) and his family over for dinner. We met his family on our
first offical night in Yerevan at Judi's birthday party in Nork but I
was sick and jet-lagged and really wasn't positioned to talk with
Sam's wife, Angel, at all. Judi enjoyed playing with their two
daughters Serpoohi-6 1/2, and Susie, 4 1/2, and we loved seeing their
new Zweekner (twins) Allen and Ellen who were 3 months old at the
time. But that was more than a month ago and we really needed to have
them over...Kalem called Sam Monday at noon to confirm dinner and the
time...5pm was decided upon (note: I was so excited by the early time
since things usually don't start too early and it always means a long
night). I was in the kitchen working my magic, CornFlake Chicken (A
few notes on CornFlake Chicken(let me know if you want the
recipe : )...Greg Haroutunian introduced this delacy to me in the
early 90's for a church function...easy, fun and truly you cannot
screw this up. I had tried my CornFlake chicken with our family in
Nork and with our new beloved friend, Gohar (not MRS. SEROB : )) from
the Habitat office. Both groups had never had this crazy chicken
before but seemed to like it very well (even though I usually get
chided for not putting enough Salt...I need to devote an entire blog
to SALT in Armenia!!! But this time I would not be chided for not
enough salt, for this time I not only put salt but I also put a VERY
GENEROUS portion of CHAMAN (for those of you Hyes who know chaman it
is NOT the red, soft, granular paste that blankets basterma, but
actually the dry spice of chaman which is actually yellowish in hue).
Sorry to be pedantic but the details are necessary)...SO CornFlake
Chicken , Gananch Loubi with Dzu (ginormous long, wide, green beans
with scrambled egg, Pilaf, Cabbage salad and the coup de
etat...chocolate chip cookies for dessert (really Nestle chips &
baking powder even though there is still no brown sugar...) PRIDE.
My meal was perfectly set to be hot and ready by 5:30pm (leaving the
customary...Hello! we're Armenian and we NEVER get ANYWHERE on TIME
cushion). The house was clean, Peter and Frank were taking a late
nap, Judi was pleasantly sitting at the computer, as the clock struck
5pm. Then we waited. 5:15, 5:30, 5:45...NOTHING. Now to my awesome
American friends who show up at 5pm when they are invited somewhere at
5pm or to Mark & Julie Fagundes who would probably show up at 4:45pm
and wait in their car in the drive-way!!! For you this is craziness,
but for (some) in Hayastan this is NORRMALL! At 5:50pm, I, Jonelle,
the loving, patient, demure, soft-spoken, and lest I forget,
SUBMISSIVE!!!!!! wife demanded that Kalem call Sam and see if they
were dead, super late or just not coming. Of course, the conversation
went like so, "Sam-jan gallees es?" "Ha, Kalem-jan gallees em!".
Translation, "Sam are you coming. Yeah Kalem I'm coming!" Now I know
I just might have been a little cranky but the operative question for
me would have been WHEN? When are you coming?...women, we are so
punctilious! 6, 6:15, 6:30pm..."KALEM, PLEASE call Sam and find out
WHEN they are coming PLLEEESSE!!!!!" Phone call #2, "Sam-jan gallees
es?" "Ha, Kalem-jan gallees em!". If I hadn't cut all my hair off
(yet another blog) I would have PULLED it all out after that! So our
peaceful and prepared meal of perfection had slowly become a cold
gelatinous and over-cooked mess. Our peace was replaced with chaos as
Frank and Peter were roused from, what had turned into, deep REM
sleep, whines, whimpers, and cries for Daddy to hold them and all
manner of craziness in volumes which only we can produce in the echo-
chamber in which we dwell. Next, Kalem's phone rings and it is Sam
and his family...they are ACTUALLY at our house and only 2 HOURS after
they said they would be there, oh and one more side note, Sam brought
his Dad and Mom too!! Pleased be advised that I am TRULY an advocate
of THE MORE THE MERRIER philosophy and USUALLY I prepare more food
than anyone can ever eat (baring Peter's baptism lunch and Frank's 1st
birthday...may we never speak of these again....) But you have to
understand in ARMENIA the Chicken are actually naturally fed and they
don't have hormones so they are 1/3 of the size of our botoxed birds.
The chicken would feed us nicely but two more adults and again I was
hanging on the precipice of being inhospitable this time by LACK OF
FOOD!!! As the group made their way up I sprang to the kitchen to
whip up some pasta for the kids. I was working the boiling water and
Peter crying, Kalem had Frank-O and was welcoming the guests and
getting them settled. From there we made a steady descent into the
worst night of entertaining I have every produced in TWO COUNTRIES!!!
We were trying to eat, I was up and down with the food, the crying
boys, and the extra plates. Judi bonded again instantaneously with
the girls and the mayhem continued up and down the stairs, yelling,
running, slamming doors, INSANITY, and then Peter and Frank joined
into the mix. At one point the kids were in the breezeway between the
apartments jumping down from ledge making thunderous sounds. Yep,
Mrs. Serob came out to investiage and chide. I just wanted to crawl
upstairs and hide. There were few moments of good conversation and
peace and then the chocolate chip cookies...flat and anham (tasteless)
except when you got to the chocolate. The evening only lasted 2 hours
but it seemed like an eternity. Our guests departed vowing to have us
to their home for kufta...we closed the door. We got the kids to bed
after they were instructed, lectured, chided, punished, prayed for and
loved good-night. I came down to the table. I slumped into my chair,
disheveled, distraught, and throughly disappointed. I had barely
eaten in the confusion and much to my shock there was actually food
left over. I took a piece of cold lifeless CornFlake Chicken in my
hands hoping to find a morsel of comfort. Once I swallowed I looked
at Kalem in utter disbelief, "This tastes HORRIBLE!" His response, "I
KNOW!!" God is so precious how He puts us in our place, how He shows
us that we are not "ALL-THAT" and how in our defeat He shows us His
Jonelle (aka Mariam Stewartyan)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Me Ara

May of you have asked how the kids Armenian is progressing, well let
me tell you. Judi, aka "Voch" (No), Peter aka "Che Garalee" (can't),
and Frank aka "Me Ara" (don't), are learning just fine. Collectively
they have picked up the majority of the words spoken at the
kindergarden. Which are those mentioned above, in addition to
"che" (no), "em-na" (mine), "ee-ah" (mimicking the sound of a donkey,
you get the idea), and the there is the famous "ts" (kind of like
tisk, or a polite way to say ee-ah, or a stronger way to say no). The
other day Frank, arrived when he had his first complete fight with a
classmate completely in Armenian! It was hard not to smile when the
teachers explained that Frank had said, "Voch, em-na, voch, em-na" as
I cared more about him learning and using Armenian than the poor
sharing skills at this time. And so it has been around the house with
"Me ara" here and "che garalee" there and every where "Voch, voch,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Round 4

As most of you know I LOVE COOKING! Any chance I can get in the
kitchen and try a new dish or make a "Jonelle Concoction" and I am
happy. Last week we had invited our new friend Mairel Howsepian
Rodriguez over for dinner (she is a wonderful 28 year old wife,
teacher, writer, and coolest person ever since SHE BROUGHT US Baking
Powder & CHOCOLATE CHIPS in her carry-on!!!!!!) She was here for a
whirlwind-Easter-Week-historical-sightseeing-meet the Armenian
Relatives she had never met before-writing research-extravaganza
week. We were blessed to meet her (Al & Barbara Howsepian's
niece...and as you would all expect YES she to is BRILLIANT!) I
digress. She was set to come over for dinner and we were waiting her
call so Kalem could pick her up from her flat. At 5:45pm Kalem came
in with the few final touches I needed for my meal and with him he
brought our cousin, by marriage, Sam! Some of you know and love Sam
and met him in Fresno some 9 years ago when he visited lived on the
ranch with Mom & Dad Kazarian for a week or so. Sam is hysterical!
He speaks English with a "Sam" flare that you really have to hear to
appreciate! I greeted Sam with a hug and kiss and asked him, "Sam,
soorj oozoom es?" Do you want coffee? For those of you who know Sam
that is like asking would you like to breathe or would you like your
heart to continue beating (now that I think about it, the coffee is
PROBABLY THE reason his heart KEEPS beating...remember the frogs in
10th grade biology?) Alas, in the midst of my dinner prep I stopped
to make soorj. Sam and Kalem sat outside and I set out the coffee and
the confet (candy). Another side note...a good Armenian wife needs to
be ready at a moments notice to prepare soorj and have some simple
treats when guests drop in...I was baptized into this one afternoon
and learned quickly. I felt like I was a pro at the drop-in-soorj-and-
confet-gig. But I had NEVER had someone drop in at 6PM!!!! In my
country that is called DINNER TIME! Nonetheless, I made the coffee
and then washed the Jazveh (coffee pot which is a metal 'mug' with a
wooden handle affixed to the side! I needed the Jazveh because I was
creating a tremendous new dessert for my guest! I needed the Jazveh
to melt some chocolate for these tiny tartlets (let me know if you
want the recipe!) I no sooner got the Kisses into the pot when Judi
comes in (out of breath in Judi style...very dramatically) and says,
"Serob and his wife are outside to visit too. They need coffee!" OH
MAN!!! Now look at the mess I'm in...I have no Jazveh, no other small
pot (believe me there is a dearth of pottage here (DEANNA!!!!) so I
have to scramble since my arch nemesis is outside waiting for her
soorj. One more thing. In Armenia a woman's whole worth is judged in
the split second her coffee reaches another woman's lips! I sent Jude
back out to ask if they like it dar (no sugar), sorvoragan (medium
sweet), or karxer (sweet). She reported that they wanted it
"Norrmall" (medium sweet). I just had to get the melted chocolate
into these blasted little tartlets and Kisses DO NOT MELT WELL!!!! Be
Warned! I tried to apply the hardening chocolate as fast as I could
and get the Jazveh washed. I finally got the pot cleaned, the coffee
dust in, and the perfect amount of sugar in (Iron Chef I laugh at don't know pressure until you've been in my gosheegs!) I no
sooner set the Jazveh on the stove when Kalem came in and stated, "She
beat you to it!" "WHAT?" "She beat you to it, she already made the
coffee so don't worry about it." DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT are YOU KIDDING
ME?????? This was akin to a Frenchman slapping me across the face
with his thin leather glove! Oh, no lady. I don't go down that
easy! I pulled out all the stops. I plattered olives, cheese, and
salami and sent Judi out with the dish. I started heaping Mock Kehyma
on another dish and sent that out too. I arranged 3 different types
of bread and even sent out my melted cheese & green onion tartlets
(same shell appetizer filling!) that I made for our guest MAIREL!!! I
dared not go out there, I am scrappy but I am still a wimp! Kalem
said when Mrs. Serob saw all that I had prepared, "she was
speechless...her mouth just hung open!" YES!!! I may be a new
Armenian Lightweight but I can hold my own in the kitchen! Score:
Mrs. Serob 2-- Jonelle 2 1/2!!!! : )

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Resurrection Cookies

This is a great way to worship on Holy Saturday.
Blessings of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior 

1 c whole pecans 
1 t vinegar 
3 egg whites 
pinch salt 
1 c sugar 
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. (this in important - don't wait until you are halfway done with the recipe!)  Place pecans in a zipper bag and let children beat them with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces.  Explain that after Jesus was arrested 
he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. 
Read John 19:1-3 
Let each child smell the vinegar.  Put 1 vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. 
Read John 19:28-30. 
Add egg whites to vinegar.  Eggs represent life.  Explain that  Jesus gave His life to give us life. 
Read John 10:10-11. 
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand.  Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.  Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. 
Read Luke 23:27. 
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing.  Add 1 sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us He wants us to know and belong to Him. 
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16. 
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.  Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. 
Read Isa.1:18 and John 3:1-3 
Fold in broken nuts.  Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. 
Read Matt. 27:57-60. 
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. 
Read Matt. 27:65-66. 
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.  
Read John 16:20 and 22. 
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow!  On the first Easter Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. 
Read Matt. 28:1-9. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Phone Call

So we have our Fresno phone which anyone can call using our local
Fresno phone number and we have a house phone that is the local
Armenian phone. Mostly when this phone rings it is Kalem calling me
from our relative Roseanna's house and so I usually answer with the
typical, "AahLow". I try to banter on with him as much as I can in
Armenian and then just move into English when my SPANISH fails me!
BUT sometimes this phone rings and it IS NOT KALEM. These times are
usually hysterical for me and very frustrating for the person on the
other line. I start off with, "AahLow" and then when they say who it
is and whom they want I usually respond with, "Yes, Jonelle Em" (I am
Jonelle). They go off for a while in Armenian and I try to catch
every ninth word. I usually respond with, "YES, JONELLE EM!" They
try yet again thinking if they continue to talk with even more
difficult Armenian vocabulary that I will miraculously understand and
answer their pressing questions. I respond with, "Yes Chem
Haskanoom" (I don't underunderstand). They mutter something which
must be a blessing, I'm SURE! and then hang up. This happened quite a
few times before Kalem taught me the phrase, "Scala Hamar" (Wrong
Number) but I still would get call backs. This one guy tried three
times and finally I just said, "I'm an American named Jonelle and I
really DON'T understand a word you are saying!" He Hung Up on Me! So
the other day a woman called and she started talking. I listened
waiting for a break to insert "Scala Hamar" but to my SURPRISE she
said Kalem's name and a few other words that I UNDERSTOOD!!!! I was
very excited in fact I understood that it was the woman from Star
SUPERMARKET calling about Kalem's "Club Card" (the ones that take only
TWO MONTHS to process). She was wanting his American AND Armenia
Passports, his Social Security Number, and I think she said something
about his blood type too; not so sure on this point. I actually
responded to her in good enough Armenian that she confirmed what I
said to her!!! (I felt a wee bit like Bart Simpson in the episode
where he was the "foreign exchange student" to France...I need'nt say
more...for those who know KNOW and those who don't...well...). I felt
really good about that phone call soooooooooo, two days ago the phone
rang at 11:30am; thinking it was Kalem I answered with my best
Armenian-Man-Deep-Coffee-Cigarette-AahLooow" unfortunately it was NOT
Kalem but a woman who was looking for Serob. I again understood and
was trying to let her know that this was not his number. She sounded
like she really needed to talk to him and since I was feeling
confident I told her, "Me Rope" (One minute) and I set down the phone
(remember it is plugged into the wall...not cordless), opened the door
and ran up the stairs to Serob's door. I knocked and waited but their
was no sound. I made my way down the stairs when I heard the door
open and Mrs. Serob call out in a most annoyed way, "Inch
Ah?" (Basically what do you want?" I ran back up the stairs to see
Mrs. Serob in her jammies and bathrobe (like she just got out of bed!
oh I love this country....I just wish someone in my house would let me
sleep until 11:30am!) Needless to say she did not look pleased and
you already know of my fear and trepidation when it comes to her! I
told her in Armenian that a woman wanted to talk with Serob. She
asked me Who the woman was. I told her sheepishly that I didn't
know...the annoyed look intensified. But as I motioned her to come
down to our place she reluctantly agreed but asked me two more times
who was on the phone (did she think it would somehow come to me
because she was using Armenian Annoyance Torture on me?) So here is
Mrs. Serob in our apartment talking on the phone with the mystery
woman and I was pleased to say that her annoyance was not only
reserved for ME! She talked for 6 minutes in her bed clothes in our
apartment with the door open and me standing next to her (I am not
sure why I did this?). When she finally hung up she ranted about how
the woman was crazy and she wouldn't call again. Mrs. Serob walked
out the door and was half way up the stairs when I yelled,
"Shnoragalootoon" (Thank You!) She stuttered a half step turned her
head only a fraction but WITH A SMILE she replied, "Shnoragalootoon"
TO ME!!! Score: Mrs. Serob 2- Jonelle 1 1/2

Vodka and Garlic

    Before we came to Armenia we were warned about some local medical practices we might find in the villages.  This American who had lived in one such village for five years said, "don't be surprised if they offer to rub garlic on a broken arm as a remedy."  So, yesterday, I was pretty stuffed up with a sinus cold, and I saw my cousin Vram rub vodka on his nose.  Investigating further I found out that this, and garlic, are remedies and protection from colds.  Ashot who is married to my cousin Nana has been insisting for days now that drinking Vodka will cure anything.  The following is a list of all of the local remedies I tried before the days end:
1) rubbing vodka on my nose
2) drinking vodka
3) eating garlic
4) drinking vodka
5) stuffing Q-tips dipped in chopped garlic and vodka mixture in my nose
6) drinking vodka
7) eating vodka and chopped garlic mixture
8) drinking vodka
9) stuffing chopped garlic and vodka in my nose
10) drinking vodka
11) hot water on my face
12) drinking vodka
13) sleeping
14) Oh, and did I mention drinking vodka!
I feel a little better but not sure what really did the trick, I don't really recommend these cures as they pretty much all burn quite a bit!  After witnessing the events of yesterday, Judi now wants to rub garlic on all of her sores!  -Kalem

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


"Ch-ga" means don't have. This is a very popular term here in
Armenia. For example some popular uses; choor chga (no water), gaz
chga (no gas), luys chga (no light or power), pogh chga (no money),
afto chga (no car), khords chga (no work), voch me ban chga (don't
have anything). What we do have here is a lot of time to discuss
politics, the pros and cons of both Armenia and America, business
ideas, and drink coffee. I recently learned that "Armenian" coffee
(served in small cups with fine grounds mixed in), was introduced to
Eastern Armenia in the 60's, by neighboring countries, and was given
out free on the streets for the first year or two. Back to the chga.
The reason I write this is because our power was off again tonight,
and the power is the worst of all the utilities to go out. When it
goes out it takes with it the water (storage tank on first floor, with
electric pump), and the water radiator heating system which has an
automatic electric pilot, the oven, our fancy electric garage door
(with no release), the internet, our computers, our phone to America,
and the lights!
This usually sparks the conversation again with our landlords or
cousins, about America and why we would come to Armenia to live. I
share with them the misnomers of American freedom, namely credit and
insurance, let me just name them all for you, car loans, personal
loans, home loans, home equity loans, credit cards, retail debt, cash
advance, and life insurance, auto insurance, fire insurance, theft
insurance, liability insurance, disability insurance. On the other
hand you have the misnomers of Armenian freedom, no need for
insurance, no definite lines of traffic, no seat-belts or car-seats,
no littering laws, limited building codes, time to talk politics,
owning what ever structure you live in. Each time I have this
conversation, I struggle to make sense of these two very different
systems as the lines are blurring everyday. -Kalem

Visiting Friends

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit some of the families I had
met last year on our week long building project in Khor Virap. Three
of the houses were on the same street and the families were all close
friends. We enjoyed our time in this tight nit community very much,
and the families appreciated our help as well.
I met with the first family and had coffee and looked through the
house. It was such an improvement to when we left, interestingly
almost everything was new except their kitchen cabinets which aren't
usually included in the habitat house cost. They didn't even have a
kitchen sink yet. They said that after this next harvest they would
have cabinets and a sink. Serop also just had a hernia surgery which
has limited a lot of his recent work. Despite these small obstacles
the family thanks God everyday for habitat's interest free loans, and
A small note about these interest free loans, donor around the world
give money to habitat international and they in-turn distribute this
money to the local habitat affiliates. There has been controversy
over Habitat International's new policy to charge interest
percentages, on the loans to keep up with inflation and their motto
that a house builds a house. Affiliates like Habitat Armenia face
disaffiliation with habitat international and a loss of their assets
and supporters. After talking at length with many of the staff and
homeowners, it looks like Armenia Habitat will hold out until the
bitter end in-order to provide interest free loans. As they have been
put on probation and the flow of funds has been stopped as of the end
of last year, the first round of layoffs happened and salaries will be
reduced this month. The habitat staff here is committed to their
original vision of, of providing actual homes to those people most
affected by the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and those still
reeling from the affects of the earthquake in 1988. Habitat
International is attempting to reach more families by working on
smaller projects or building homes room by room.
Reconciliation in this situation is something that you all could lift
up in your prayer times, and now back to the village...
As we left Serops house, Sevadad, the neighbor across the street,
brought us into his house, after explaining we didn't have a lot of
time and we just had coffee, we settled on bread and fresh home made
yogurt and cheese, with toasts of his best cognac. He is a very happy
man now even though they are still all sleeping in the one room that
they are able to heat with the small wood stove. They say gas is
coming in a month or so, just in time for summer, ha, ha. The family
is very happy now, I was both honored and amazed that the photos I
left this family last year comprised almost half of all the photos
they owned! This was the first time that I toasted and did not drink,
mainly because I was driving and we were just stopped at a check point
on the way to the village.
About the check point, we got flagged over by a very serious military
officer, not the local police, I produced my documents and he asked to
open the back of the niva to check out empty cargo area. He then
insisted that I have my drivers license translated into Armenian, to
which I explained how the international driver's permit worked and
that it was written in Russian. He had never seen one before but was
glad once he figured it out, we left laughing and smiling. Not
knowing where we are going, I rolled the window down, and as he was
leaving I called out "Aper" which means brother. This is the common
greeting for asking some one for directions, but as soon as I said it
my cousin hit my leg hard and said "NO! He is a 4 star captain, you
should say Baron Capitan (Captain Sir). He graciously gave us
directions and sent us on our way, I don't think he heard the "Aper"
That day my cousin Vram and I were offered coffee at 6 different
places 8 if you count the place we went twice and the place we stayed
at for three hours and were offered lunch too.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Our Little Missionaries

I am always amazed at what things stick in Judi, Peter, & Frank's minds.  From random facts to gross details on any number of topics.  But, the last week I have been overwhelmed with joy, gratefulness, and love as they have shared their hearts in different ways.  

JUDI: Judi came home from school and said, "Mommy, I don't think these people know about Jesus."  Why do you say that?  "Well, they never pray before they eat."  Jude, that doesn't mean that they don't know about Jesus it might just mean that they are not in the practice of praying before they eat.  "Well, we need to tell them about Jesus!"  Okay Jude.  How about the next time you eat at school YOU can pray before you eat.  Maybe that will remind them if they have forgotten.  THE NEXT DAY Judi came home from school and said, "Mommy, I prayed before I ate today.  Nobody else did but I'm going to keep on doing it!"

PETER: We were eating dinner at our relatives home and just as we were sitting around and talking Peter said in a half whisper (which is just below yelling for Pete!) "Mommy let's tell them about GOD!"  Okay Pete do you want to share one of your favorite stories?  Samson, David & Goliath, Elijah?  "No.  I want to tell them about Jesus!"  Okay what about Jesus?  "That He died on the Cross for our sins so we could be in Heaven with HIM!"  Okay Pete, you tell Daddy and he will translate what you want to say.  "No Mommy.  YOU DO IT!"

Someone please let Mrs. Duncan, Mrs. Saul, Mrs. Scrivner, & Mrs. Forrest their work in the BSF Children's program brings glory to God through out the WORLD!  Thank you and we love and miss you all...Franko's teachers too!!!

FRANK: Frank has been enamored with Judi's Polly Pocket Toy Cell Phone with dial tone, ringing, and of course Polly, herself giving "secret" messages to meet her at the mall.  It is the one thing he loves to take from Judi's purse and walk around talking to Polly.  The other night Frank picks up the phone, opens it and starts dialing.  He put the phone to his ear and said, "Hello JESUS!  It's Frank!"

We have been praying daily about opportunities to talk with people about Jesus and learn about their relationship with Jesus.  Armenia has always boasted about being the 1st Christian nation accepting Christ in 301AD.  We have a rich heritage of loving Christ, serving Christ and dying because we WOULD NOT renounce Christianity.  God has given many gifts of talking with those we love most about Jesus.  We are learning about the place of tradition, who they believe Jesus to be and the meaning of His sacrifice on the Cross.  It is so wonderful to share our relationship with Jesus with them and encourage them to know Jesus truly by reading the Bible and having a relationship with HIM.  Tradition is wonderful in it's rightful place and knowing that we have come from a lineage of martyrs is an amazing blessing, but the joy of the daily, living, communion with Jesus is the gift we want to bring to our homeland.  We have been told that Armenia doesn't need to know about Jesus, they are CHRISTIANS already.  To that we say, we all need to know Jesus, deeper and deeper daily and know who it is we worship, live for, and serve.  Thank you for your prayers and the ways that God works in us to encourage, grow and deepen our love for Jesus TOGETHER.  God is so Good!  Love Jonelle;)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Great Finds in Armenia

1. Clothes Dryer: Energy efficient, environmentally friendly,
portable, easy to use.
2. Instant Hot Water Pot: Heats cold water to a boil in about a
minute, auto shutoff, auto stay warm feature.
3. Water Heating Element: Warms single cups of coffee, tea or water in
minutes, pocket size, great for reheating.
4. Gas/Electric Combo Range Oven: Single electric burner, electric
oven, three gas burners, you never know which utility will be off.
5. Jazva: Small pot for heating Armenian coffee (with fine grounds
mixed in), careful it doesn't overflow. (on stove, notice spill)
6. Single Blade Razor: Economical, (Band Aids not included)
7. Folding Table: Great space saver, versatile, excellent for parties
(plant and card sent for Jonelle's birthday, from sister Kim in Fresno!)
8. Wood Handle Mop: Local product, use special cloth or any old
clothes. (notice kids art work wall)
9. Mini Broom: Economical, local product, great for kids. (Peter
really likes it!) And another reason everyone walks hunched over!

I got pulled over!

Finally, I got pulled over today.  The funniest thing was that I knew I was going to get pulled over some where some time during this little adventure.  The reason for this (besides divine) is that I did not follow any of the simple routes I have memorized, nor did I have my cousins directing me, but rather tried to head in the general direction of the multiple stops I was to make (maybe over confident, with humility enough to know I would probably make some mistake).  This is like when you are learning to ride your bike and you just go for it.  So here is the conversation:
"I supposed you didn't know you could make a left turn there?" He said, as I handed him all of my documents before he asked for them, which all seemed to get in the way of the cigarette he was casually smoking.
"No, I didn't, I am still learning, I just came here. Was there a letter (I meant to say sign) that said that?"
"yes, it was written on the street" (remember you can barely see the lines after winter)
"Oh, there was a big truck there and I didn't see it"
"Okay, this time, but don't do it again, you are a guest" as he gave the papers back.
And that was it.  It was a good experience, and I thank God for breaking me in slowly!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Birthday Celebration

Just to let y'all know. I had a great birthday. Kalem finally let me
go out in public! He took me to dinner very near to Republic Square
to a restaurant frequented by American's. It is called Square One.
We dined on onion rings, chicken Caesar salad, and tagiatelli Alfredo
with chicken and mushrooms...I mean it was no Macaroni Grill, and for
surely not Palintino's but not bad attempt at American Fare. We
walked around the square and found a book store that sells Russian,
Armenia and AMERICAN books. We bought a little paperback of Wind in
The Willows, by Kenneth Grahame (born in SCOTLAND...Diller's is there
a memorial to him there?) We have been at a loss as of late since we
only brought one "chapter book" to read together as a family (the rest
are homeschooling and great books I have had for 20 years and not yet
cracked). On Sunday we finished reading Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (of
which Frankie calls it, CHITTY-BITTY-BANG-BANG) by Ian Flemming (I had
no idea this was the final book of the legendary JAMES BOND author, in
fact he died BEFORE it was printed.) Another side note, the book, as
always, is Very different from the movie, of which I STILL AM SCARED
OF THAT BLACK CLAD CHILD-CATCHER!!! It was so fun to read this to the
kids. Of course I had to read it in my very best English dialect,
Thank you JANE SEYMOUR! All that to say we were done with the book
and bed time was a little sad without the adventures of the Cracctacus
Pott Family. So a new book for our family reading time...all of us
piled into our bed (I HAVE to blog about our BED sometime!!!)
listening so intently to the twists and turns and if I have learned
one thing from the countless Bible Missionary Stories from KNAR
GUEKGUEZIAN, at VBS is you have to stop each night at the most "Cliff-
hangery" place possible. When I stop the kids, and Kalem erupt into a
chorus of, "Noooooooooo, read more Mommy Pleeeeeas!" I love that
part! So, back to my birthday. We went back to our relatives house,
where Jude, Pete & Franko were and the whole family had assembled
around one of NANA'S FAMOUS CAKES!!! Each one is a masterpiece, a
unique work of art. It was HUGE, vanilla cake with a layer of
delicious pudding cream and a layer of MARANGE...I don't know how they
do this but it is crunchy and light, and another layer of cake on
top. The coolest thing is that we have available to us a myriad of
amazing pyrotechnics available for common household uses
like,,,,,CANDLES!!!! The Sparkler SHOWER ON TOP of my Cake was just
like the 4th of July (perhaps the shower was so large because of my
advanced years???!!!! I will have to look into this also! Needless
to say it was an amazing display of dessert goodness! And our
relatives bought me very cool drinking glasses, like theirs, with
oranges all over them. Our other cousins, Vram & Jemma (more on them
later...they are OUR ARMENIAN TEACHERS too) bought me gorgeous
demitasse, Armenian Coffee cups. So beautiful and generous of them
LILLY from MY SISTER KIMMY from FRESNO!!!!!! She's got more
connections than the mafia! (and I should know!) She and her boss,
Lily arranged for Lily's sister-in-law in Armenia to get this amazing
plant to my front door! I was blown away by their love and ingenuity
to make my Armenian birthday so 38-SPECIAL! Thank you LILY & QIM!!!!
Thank you all for your wonderful gifts, calls, emails & faxes!!!! It
truly was a special birthday, I will place it at #11 on my list...A
note to you all...Diller has NOT been DISPLACED from his birthday
giving Throne! : ) Love you all, Jonelle!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Miscellaneous Points

The highlight of taking the kids to the year round fair last weekend
(like Roading Park), was not the dragon ride although we did have fun,
but rather coming down from the fairs-wheel I saw the operator spray
underarm deodorant into his jacket in the vicinity of his armpits on
to his clothing.

Today was the first day that all three kids walked to school, and no
one cried.

Today is the first day in the last two weeks that jonelle is not
soaking some grain or legume or her feet...

Most restaurants and stores pretty much every where, has a general
smell of cigaret smoke, including food handled at our small
neighborhood grocery store. It is not uncommon for butchers, or
clerks or even waiters to light up a cigarette while they are working.

The litter has been driving us "environmentally friendly" Americans
crazy, as well as the local solution of burning everything including
plastic bags. Stray dogs dig through plastic bags looking for food
and litter it everywhere, drivers of cars blatantly throw trash out
windows, people standing talking just drop trash. Just a few days ago
we saw the first wave of "city workers" cleaning up this littered
trash from the main roads.

Speaking of main roads it is also not uncommon to find about 5 or 6
guys huddled around a small hole they dug in the road, re-welding some
pipe, only to leave, yes... another pot hole!


Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

So today, March 11th, I am celebrating my 38th year of life. As I was
pondering this I was thinking WOW I can't believe I get to celebrate
my birthday in a foreign land (I have never done this before!) Then I
started to think about all of the great birthday's in my life and I
thought this would be a great time to honor some of you as I stroll
down memory lane. And of course to honor David Letterman, I will use
the Top Ten List! This is just a list about actual birthdays and not
gifts because the best gift I have ever received in my Salvation in
the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of my husband Kalem, the lives of
Judi, Peter, & Frank, my tremendous family and now on to

10. My 13th! I had a boy/girl party and Darrin Marsella, Henry
Latanzio, Tony Stamolis and John Dealer came (these were the 'popular'
boys and I actually still looked like a boy!)

9. My 17th! My mom bought me a cake from Simpson's bakery with a
girl surfing on the top...great beach scene...I thought that was so

8. My 15th! Randy Jorgensen and Alan Hartman used balloons to "T.P."
my house and wrote Happy Birthday in shaving cream on the grass.

7. My 20th! My very first boyfriend, Karl Dean Ingeman!!!! bought
me a gold bracelet. I had never had a gift like that from a BOY!

6. My 14th! My sisters Kimmy & Judy bought me brand new sheets,
pillow cases, a comforter and throw pillows for my bed and put them
all on so when I got home from school my whole room was redone! I
felt sooooo special!!

5. My 30th! My brother Phil, sister-in-law, Melineh, Sister, Kimmy,
and my Dad & Mom bought me a brand new, shiny red, hybrid mountain
bike...two of my other bikes had been stolen!

4. My 11th. 11 is my favorite number and this was my "Golden"
birthday. My best friend, KENDRA HOPPER (now Fletcher) sent me an
anonymous package with a note that explained I would be getting 11 of
something each month on the 11th to honor my 11th birthday. She is
still too cool and has THE BEST IDEAS and ways to LOVE PEOPLE!!

3. My 16th! I was all scheduled to take my drivers license exam in
my dad's junk Datsun King Cab when the examiner noted that the right
rear turn signal light was out and I couldn't take my test in that
vehicel. My mom and I drove super fast to my Grandma Lillie's house
to get her 1978 Powder Blue Cutless Supreme with power steering and
brakes. I had NEVER driven a car with power ANYTHING and when I took
the test I thought I was going to fail just because of the severe
whiplash I created in starting and stopping. But I PASSED!!!

2. My 37th! Kalem knows how much I love Skee-Ball on the Santa Cruz
Boardwalk and he found out that Chuck E. Cheese gives free tokens to
people on their birthdays. We were all dressed up and we pulled into
this pizza joint...I was confused. We walked in and got 37 free
tokens and played Skee-Ball. Then he took me to Roger Rocka's Theater
and we saw "The King and I". (obviously not as good as NYC with Lou
Diamond Philips in the third row behind John Lithgow with you KENJI
but wonderful none the less!)

1. This one has yet to be topped...25! I was at school at Princeton
and my great friend, Kevin Diller, put posters, I mean 8 1/2" x 14"
sheets with pictures of me and some insane silliness that told
everyone in crazy ways that it was my birthday and I was 25! He put
them on trees, poster boards, in the dinning commons, in the halls, in
the dorms, EVERYWHERE!!!! One sign I will never forget, "Now, I'm not
saying how old she is but If Jonelle were a tree she would have 25
rings". Later that night Kevin Diller, Jimmy Flowers, Gregg
Valeriano, Tim Dobe, Neal Magee, Paige Wilson, Stephanie Hansen,
Emilee Berman, Cyrus Peterson, Dan Birchfield, and others threw me a
Surprise Party. I got great gifts but the best one was my favorite
episodes of The Simpsons on VHS! Many ManyThanks Devin Killer!

Now I celebrate 38 in ARMENIA and look forward to the events and
memories today will bring. Thank you already for the emails, phone
calls, and Cards! I love you all. Jonelle--38 Special!

Third Time's A Charm

You know we have been trying to go to church since we got here and every week there has been some crazy story why we didn't quite make it there.  WELL, this week we were determined!  Kalem had the map and pretty well thought he knew how to get there.  We were clean (without draining the ENTIRE water tank), well dressed and ready to go.  Kalem found the church and about 19 potholes's funny how he finds the ability to avert the ones on HIS side but not mine...I must look into this at length!?!  We were about 15 minutes late but Kalem said it would be alright.  We walked into a packed facility with almost no seat available!  We were waved to a particular row with only two available seats (mind you there are 5 of us still), I didn't know if they expected us to sit on their laps or if each family was only allotted two seats.  As we stood in front of people trying to get seated we were finally allowed a third seat!  Kalem had Peter on his lap, Franko on mine, and Jude had her own seat (lucky duck!)  We were between a row of 5 ladies on Kalem's side and two two-year olds (boy and girl...twins perhaps) and their medz-mideeg on Judi's side.  We had no sooner sat down when the grandma and the two-year olds were offering Judi a bag full of GOLDFISH CRACKERS!!!  Now I need to digress here and for good purpose.  If you don't know this, Kalem and I have been working out teaching our children to worship God WITH us in Church every Sunday.  When I was in school in Pasadena, I took a parenting class as a part of my Marriage and Family studies course work.  In that class I read countless books on communicating your faith to your children.  We had NO children at the time but we were abundantly aware of God's desire to train up our children in HIM.  During my studies I found a book called, Parenting in The Pew, by Robbie Castleman, she is a pastor's wife who writes helpfully and candidly about this wonderful process.  Those of you who worship with us in Fresno at Pilgrim, see Judi, Peter, and Frank every Sunday and the BLESSED ERITZIAN FAMILY!!! in the front rows of the church "TRYING" to get this worship thing down (answering the Kazarian Kid questions of, "Why does so and so get to bring stuffed animals to church?  Why is what's her name drinking a juice box?  Why can't we have crayons and paper?" is a process!  We don't just want them to be QUIET we want them to learn what worship is, why we are in Church and what God expects from US!  Now all of you parents who do this or are attempting to do this KNOW how difficult this can be with small children (or teenagers for that matter).  We have a 6, 4, and 2 1/2 year old sitting next to us for 60 or 70 minutes regularly and we know how difficult that hour can be.  I now return you to present day Armenia, Sunday, March 9, 2008!  No sooner did we sit down and the grandma is offering Judi Goldfish crackers to which she said, "No."  (I was SO proud of her!)  We were doing alright, the service started at 10:30am, we were there by 10:45am and by 10:50 we had resisted our 1st temptation.  The service was wonderful with worship music for the whole congregation, their AMAZING 21 person choir (that tours the globe), songs and poems from about 100 children for Woman's Day, Prayers, lots and lots of prayers, offering, more prayers, and of course the sermon.  About 15 minutes into the service Frank decides that he wants DaDa and that the WHOLE CHURCH needs to know this also.  No sooner did the words come out of his mouth when the grandma with the crackers was on the scene offering Goldfish goodness to quiet the child.  Another friendly "No Thank You" from "THE MOTHER" (that's me), and a hand off of Frankie to Kalem and Peter to me.  All is well.   I am not sure of the time of the next infraction but it WAS NOT was the grandma with the twins...they were nuzzaling (sort of between crying and wimpering) and every head turned to look at them.  The five ladies next to Kalem all leaned over at varying degrees and sounded like a barber shop quartet +1 with the series of "TTTTTHHHTHTH" [I don't know how to write it but if you are ARMENIAN you KNOW this sound! it is like a "tisk, tisk" but the meaning can be anywhere from, "How sad, to "You are the biggest dope on the entire planet!" and anywhere in between.]   Then they make their assessment and what should be done in the situation.  You see in Armenia there is no "Privacy" or dealing with anything on your own.  If you exist there is always another Armenian to witness your existence and to let you know how to do it BETTER!  The grandma just smacked both twins on the head!  and told them to "SOUSE".  I just whispered to Kalem, "Thank you LORD that wasn't us!"   Oh, silly girl...A few minutes later Peter was trying to punch his way through my skirt and the FIVE women next to Kalem leaned over to investigate.  The one closest to Kalem pulled out 3 TOOTHBRUSHES to appease the little warrior and grandma was poised and ready with the blasted GOLDFISH!   {Now I have seen a lot of ways to get a child to quiet down during worship, but I HAVE NEVER SEEN TOOTHBRUSHES offered EVER!  Perhaps this is what the Fletchers, Eritzians, Kharahadians, and Bramanti's have used in the past.  Again I will have to have you all confirm the role of the toothbrush in training up a child in the LORD!   At the 1hour 15 minute mark the pastor asked all 1st time visitors to if we didn't stand out enough! : )  Along about the 2 hour mark EVERYONE in the Kazarian family was ready for church to be over.  I'll admit it...we are rookies when it comes to Marathon Churching, and try it all in another language, with everyone looking at you.  And now Judi had to have her moment.  Judi begins to whimper, "Mommy I am sooooooo hungry."  "This is the longest church I have ever been to."  Here we go.  Now I'M LOOKING FOR THE WOMAN WITH THE CRACKERS!  The service ended at 1:05pm!!  I think we more than made up for our three missed attempts!!!  When we regrouped I asked the kids if they thought this service was longer or shorter than Badveli Ara's at Pilgrim Church in Fresno.  Judi thought the one in Armenia but PETER was CONVINCED Ara was far more long winded!  : )  But they both agreed they liked the 5 Minute Church the BEST!  Loving This All Jonelle;)  oh, I can't wait to tell you about lunch after the service!!!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Happy Woman's Day

So Armenia has a few things totally right that we have missed in
America. (The Dillers, Laws, & Bantas will have to weigh in on their
experiences from around the globe). In Armenia March 8th is called
Woman's Day. In America we have Mother's Day so you only get
celebrated if you have a child...pretty lame. In Armenia all women
and girls are honored, loved, and celebrated today. Kalem and I were
discussing this "holiday" and Kalem said, "I wonder when Man's Day
is?" My reply, "In ARMENIA the other 364 days of the YEAR are MAN'S
DAYS!!!" I must say it was a nice day and I received a small bouquet
of purple crocus from our cousins and Kalem bought me a ring and
matching earrings from the Verneesage (the coolest open air market
with all of the wonderful things that artistic, crafty, talented, and
shrewd Armenians bring to sell. So Be Armenian TODAY and CELEBRATE
YOUR WOMEN & GIRLS. I night out to dinner, a movie, etc...go all out,
its WOMAN'S DAY! love Jonelle;)


We got home from our day trip to the village and we were all very
tired. We walked in and attempted to go to the bathroom and wash our
hands and low and behold THERE WAS NO WATER! No sooner did we
discover this when Serob's wife, (her name is actually Gohar, but keep
them straight because we have about 6 Gohar's in our life right NOW!)
came over...we immediately pleaded innocent and told her we had been
gone ALL day and there was NO way she could pin this one on US! She
was coming over to let us know that both the water and the gas were
off because they were working on the gas line. She told us there
would be no gas or water for a day (now if that meant this day that we
just had or the next, was anybody's guess!) The next thing that came
out of Gohar's mouth I did not understand but apparently she said,
"Your children are sitting so nicely and quietly, good job!" Praise
GOD! I guess the 6 hours in the car, no real naps, delirium,
sedatives, good parenting and the tranquilizer gun had really been
paying off! Thank you for all your prayers. I don't think they are
looking at us with SO much distain anymore. In fact, Gohar even asked
me if I wanted a new vinyl tablecloth for the kitchen table...We are
SO in! Love you all! Jonelle;)

Friday, March 7, 2008

She Said...I HEARD

This is our new Landlord-To-Be! She is a darling and gracious woman.
When we got to the village I met her and she said her daughter and son-
in-law and four children lived in this house. It was a good house and
anything we needed she would get for me. When we got to the house and
the doors were finally opened I walked in to get a good look at our
new digs. I think she saw my eyes widen as I took it all in. She
came and stood before me and said, "Don't be scared. I will clean it
all before you come. I will wash the beds and sheets. Don't worry I
am not a bad woman and a dirty woman. It will all be clean when you
come to live." Now remember my track record with translations! For
all I know she was saying, "I am so worried! YOU are going to live in
my house?! But you are so scary and dirty? What will my daughter and
son-in-law say when they know I have rented their palace to "these"
people?!"...You never know...not with the "Armenia" I hear! : ). And
for those of you who don't read or get my humor I want to be crystal

Pen-Pals & Care-Packages

Some of you have expressed interest in sending us things.  Let me first say you do NOT need to do this.  I do not know how LONG it takes to receive packages and post nor do I know the COST.  Saying that you may feel free to send whatever you like to the following physical address.  Postal Blessings jonelle;)

Kazarian Family (or individual)
C/O Roza Nalchajyan
48 Amerakyan St.
Nork-Marash, Yerevan 0047

After May 1st

Kazarian Family (or any individual)
Lusaghbyur Village,
Lori Region

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Village Trip

Well we finally made the trek to the village. By trek I mean, a
2-1/2 hour drive up hill (+3000 feet) through near blizzard conditions
for half of the trip, around the town of Aparan (these people are the
butt of many a joke here). With 6 people in our mini SUV, which
became more of a RV for Jonelle and the kids in the back since no one
had seat belts and the kids were up, down, forward, and backward.
Seat belt training is going to be a challenge when we get back to the
states. Only once did I loose control when a huge gust of wind blew
the car sideways across the slick icy road into a snow drift. I
quickly backed the car up and proceeded on. On the way back I
hydroplaned over a small lake that had formed in the middle of the
road. So now that we got all of that out of the way...

The village was covered in snow and soon our children were as well, as they were not accustomed to this much snow they jumped out of the car and into a huge field of fresh snow maybe thinking they walk across it, well they sunk to their short little waists.  And thus started the downward spiral of being wet, cold and uncomfortable. The crying soon followed, but not before we got a look inside the house.  The condition was a little worse than we thought, but not bad for no one living there for ten years.  There were some temporary wooden walls that divided the house into rooms, and beds in every space including the kitchen!  The only source of water was from a small sink in an enclosed portion of the porch, which was to be a future bathroom.
The homeowners mother, showed us around and told Jonelle not to worry about the present conditions and that her own daughter had lived there, and everything would be alright, and if she needed anything just to ask.  We came up with a rough plan with Habitat and hope to start work in a couple of weeks. We also had a look at a neighbors house who will be the next to have work done. There were about fifteen adults huddled around the wood stove in the middle of their living room, as Jonelle was already in the car with the kids and the heater on, needless to say it was absolutely freezing outside! I actually was thinking I might have had frost bite on my finger tips as I had them out while taking notes and drawing a floor plan. As we were leaving the neighbor two houses down approached us and verified that we were believers as if he had been expecting us, and invited us to the Bible study that mets in their home every week. What a blessing!  After a quick tour of the school we were off back to the warmer weather of Yerevan!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Frankie Got Kicked BACK IN!!!

So have any of you read this book, "Potty Training in LESS Than a
Day"? The authors assert that 4 hours, lots of water, a doll that
pees, a potty chair and you are bound for success. As you can see by
the photo and my total determination to NOT have my 2 1/2year old
Genius Kicked out of Kindergarten, I have deftly taught Frank who's
the boss with regard to Elimination! And he is so happy about it
too...can't you tell from this is a great picture! Okay I am lying.
Frank actually DID go POOP in the toilet this BY NO MEANS equals that
Frank is potty trained! I have begun my first of many books expressly
for parents: It is entitled, "Potty Training In Less Than a YEAR!"
Monday we took Judi and Peter to Kindergarten and the teachers said,
"Where is Frank?" Kalem told them that I had explained to him that
Frank was not to return until he was Potty Trained in about 2 or 3
weeks. "CHE, CHE, CHE" (NO, NO, NO!!!) they replied. Then they
proceeded to tell Kalem what they ACTUALLY said to me on Friday.
Apparently, they were merely OUT OF HIS DIAPERS and they wanted a 2 or
3 week supply. What can I say...this is a New Country and a new
Language for me. All is well once again...but, but, but, we will go
to the Village tomorrow....I can only imagine what stories will
follow. Stay Tuned! Love Jonelle;)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


And if I thought it wouldn't get worse...Ha! Silly Girl. On Sunday morning we got up and ate a delicious breakfast of Scrambled Eggs with Basterma, Salty Cheese, Warmed Gata, Coffee, and Fruit (oh, know I am ALL about Food in EVERY COUNTRY!) We finished our breakfast, I washed the dishes (by hand...even though we have been provided with a the by...our local grocer was trying to tell us that we could put laundry detergent in the dishwasher, "Ha, Amen Makeena!" (Yeah. All Machines!) I don't think I want my dishes smelling like some overly perfumed elderly Armenian woman!...again, I digress. So as I was washing the dishes I put Peter and Franko in the shower/tub combo and filled up the little tub and let them play. I finished the dishes and then scrubbed up the boys (oh, they had not bathed in 3 or 4 days...we are trying to respect the "Customs" here!) After they were done Kalem shaved and showered. Then the phone starting ringing. We heard all about the riots of the previous evening, gunshots, tanks, burning cars...(for those of you who are following my Armenian Sleep Depravation Experiment...that night was the ONLY one I fell right to sleep and didn't hear a sound! Go Figure.) So while Kalem was getting the info and the warnings I was in the shower taking advantage of our "endless" hot water tank. Massaging my stiff neck (this will be an entire blog but no room now) and shaving the primate legs! By the time Judi started her bath we knew we were not going to church AGAIN because of the army with automatic rifles on every corner and the tanks in Republic Square. [If you don't recall, our church expericnce last week was hysterical. We made it to the church around 11:15am and walked in to everyone standing up and beginning to pray. Two Badvelis prayed for no more that 5 minutes and church was over. The kids said, "THAT WAS THE BEST CHURCH EVER!"] So two weeks and no church for the Kazarians. Back to the shower...pretty soon Judi says, "Mommy there's no water!" So we got her washed off with spare water we had in buckets and bottles and at last after many days the whole family was clean and ready for Church which we had in our own apartment replete with worship songs, call to worship, Scripture reading, two sermons, confession, prayer, and the doxology. Now why? you ask is this called Busted...AGAIN? Well, when we were fresh and clean and finished with worship...SEROB'S DAD came over and let us know that we had used the ENTIRE WATER TANK FOR THE WHOLE APARTMENT and we would have no more water until the tank refilled...the NEXT DAY!!! Again the embarrassment. Again the shame. But Serob's Dad offered us some friendly advice: 1) Don't Flush the Toilet!, 2) Don't wash clothes or anything until the night, AND 3) One person should shower a WEEK!!!!!! That means I am due for my next bath sometime in April! Lord help us all!

Monday, March 3, 2008


So we got home from our family's house late on Saturday night.  We parked the Neva and quietly as mice...Large, Loud, Crying, Screaming & Yelling Mice we made our way up the one flight of stairs to our section/apartment in Serob's three-section House.  No sooner did we pass by Serob's Dad's place did the door fly open and there stood Serob's wife with some strong suggestions that we control our children a little better, oh, and to lock our door (the door that wouldn't lock because the key, which is about 4 inches long, didn't actually LOCK the door), turn off our computers, and a few more things that we might not have understood fully.  Of course, like a good Armenian Mom I was MORTIFIED.  How embarrassing, yes my children are loud (there are many factors that contribute to that state that we will not ponder at this time), yes they cry when they are tired, frustrated, just woken up, hungry, happy, content, have a gunshot wound, etc, but to be told by this woman, our landlord's wife, was too much for me.  I of course went and hid in the bathroom with the children while Kalem took the list of complaints.  But to quote Clarice the Reindeer (voiced and sung by Janet Orenstein), "There's always tomorrow for dreams to come true..."  Red faced jonelle signing off.  Oh, and by the way, Serob's Dad promised to fix our door on Sunday...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Finally Some Pictures!

Judi's 6th Birthday Party, 1st day in Armenia

City Diner, Yerevan - special family treat

Dinner with family at our house, our first party

Niva in the garage, it needs a bath!

View looking down our street towards the store