Friday, April 4, 2008

Mrs. Serob: The Last Battle

The first time I ever met Mrs. Serob was one week after we arrived in Yerevan.  We were hosting our first dinner for our relatives and Kalem asked her if we could borrow some chairs and possibly a table for the festivities (this is totally normal and not rude in any way shape or form).  She came over with her brother who carried the table and he and Kalem brought the chairs back and forth.  I was unaware of all that was transpiring because I was in the kitchen, of course, preparing the food.  My hands were dirty and the counter was full of bowls and dishes of my latest creations.  Kalem seemed to be carrying on a lengthy conversation and finally called to me, "Jonelle, I want you to meet Serob's wife and her brother."  I washed up and came out to meet them.  Mrs. Serob eyed me up and down and asked the standard, "Hyeren haskanoom es?" and "Hyeren chosoom es?" Do you understand Armenian and Do you speak Armenian?  I replied my standard, "Me Keech" (a little), we smiled and then the conversation shifted to her brother who wanted to know if I was a Christian and if I spoke in tongues.  (Apparently he had already interrogated Kalem)  God is so good since I had just learned the word for gift "Noover" earlier that day.  I said, "Voch.  Lezoonera em noover che, bites em noover hospitality."  Translation, "No.  Speaking in tongues is not my gift, but hospitality is."  He looked at me with a half-cocked head and an air of disapproval.  So I quickly got my Bible and read, in English of course, 1 Corinthians 12.  The whole while Mrs. Serob was rolling her eyes and trying to get her brother leave.
            The second interaction with Mrs. Serob was the night she came to tell us to turn our computers off and lock our doors when we left (since she had been inside of our house for some reason or another snooping around), but when I heard her coming I hid in the bathroom with the kids!  So the next time I actually saw her was the night she had come over to tell us that the kids were quieter.  She came into the kitchen and asked me, in a very leading way, "Don't you like Armenia SOOOO much better than the US?"  She followed up with, "Our food tastes so much better here too."  "My sister lives in LA and she says the fruit looks good but it tastes like nothing and everyone is fat in the States."  Of course this was all in Armenian but between Kalem and myself, we GOT what she was saying.  Of course, I got defensive and made some joke about how I really didn't know how good the fruits and veggies were in Armenia since I had been eating only CABBAGE, BEETS, POTATOES, and more CABBAGE (since it was winter) and I would get back to her once the tomatoes, cucumbers and other fruits were in season.  I did agree that we have a lot of overweight people in the States due to poor eating habits, and all the preservatives in our food BUT the thing I just couldn't get over was…was…was.  Well, you see I have never really described Mrs. Serob's physical attributes; she is about 5' 3", black hair long to her shoulders and bangs, and, and, and she weighs about 170lbs.  Now, I would not consider her huge but she is a bit plump so I couldn't see where she got off talking about Fat Americans.
            You have read all the other interactions with Mrs. Serob and some of you have "weighed" in on your feelings about her.  She's mean, crabby, annoyed, cranky, scary, and angry.  Others feel sorry for her since she has to put up with the KAZARIAN'S for the past 6 weeks.  You maybe wondering why this story is coming after all of the other sparing matches I have had with the woman, but this piece had to be put in place before this contest could produce a victor.  Being the sensitive, caring, compassionate, intuitive, therapist, pastor, and friend that I am I usually can figure out what is going on with a person pretty readily.  But something about Mrs. Serob eluded me.  So I decided to look at all the pieces in order:
  1. She is cranky
  2. She sleeps until noon
  3. She doesn't want to hear kids making noise
  4. She's fat but doesn't seem think so
  5. She's annoyed
I guess she might have a self-esteem problem, or not like Americans, or reverse anorexic imaging disorder (I made that up) but after I pondered and pondered and pondered the answer came to me like a clear voice…Actually it was Sam's (the way late coffee drinker) voice saying, "Jonelle-jan, she baby is going to have!"  EEAHHHHHHH.  I am soooooo lame.  I mean I move to another country and I totally loose my mind as well as all my gifts??!!  I'd better look into speaking in tongues!  Mrs. Serob if you ever read this, "I AM SO SORRY!"  GAME OVER you won!

No comments: