It was a rocky Christmas. There was some holiday tension, complete with festering resentments, all culminating in a good old round of familial yelling. This was good, though -- it's how my people operate. Once things boil over, you stand around and yell at each other for a few minutes ("Hellooooo!", "GAA!"), let the storm pass, then hug and resume a life of nicknames and old familiar jokes: my sister dropping the ketchup, me spitting a cherry tomato at a lady at Sizzler, Dad being too intense at putt putt, Mom making seagull noises. All happy families are alike, in terms of occasional moments of discord and the old webs of stories and family lore that make up a shared life. On that you can rely.
With the holidays behind us and happily resolved, though, tomorrow L and I embark on a journey to Armenia. You know, Armenia: it's at the corner of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran. I've been to Iran and I was raised in Azerbaijan, of course, but this will be my first time in Armen-- oh wait, I don't know where the hell I'm going and have never been anywhere near any place close to where I'm going. I guess the closest I've been to Armenia would be... Italy? Or wait, what if I came the other way -- is California close to Armenia? I don't know. Seattle?
I'm excited for the trip, and have not yet succumbed to the travel anxiety that will undoubtedly hit very soon. It's going to be cold out there, cold and utterly foreign, probably the place most distant to everything I know -- and that's exciting too. I'm picturing the ice planet of Hoth, from Star Wars. In any event, I've never been less prepared for a trip -- I haven't read any books, haven't looked at the language or seen a map other than the one below. I'll be relying on the expertise of my savvy mother-in-law and the fundamental decency of the Armenian people. January 6 is the date of my return, to start my last semester at school, and there will be more to report then.