I rose early Sunday morning to bring some things over to the Peace Corps office; it was nice to walk around on the cool, quiet morning. I went to Swan Lake for a bit, and then journeyed out to Etchmiadzin. I’d thought about it and realized that it would be nice to hear the sacred music one last time. Live, that is – I bought (and also received) some CDs so that I will always have it. The voices, harmonies and acoustics are special. I hear that Georgian sacred music is also worth seeking out….
Upon my return from Etchmiadzin, I did one last cruise through the Vernissage. You can add that to the list of things I will miss. I got a little choked up walking around today, for the last time. I may not have found all that much that I had to buy, but I enjoyed looking. It’s especially all right that I didn’t fall in love with a painting, a rug, or anything else that would have caused stress over how to get it home. I’ve found a couple of treasures, and I like the Vernissage vibe. Then I climbed the Cascade again.
Sunday night, I went to the closing orchestra concert of the season, a Tchaikovsky concert with a cello soloist. The 1812 Overture may never have sounded better; I teared up a bit there too. It’s been great to see so many concerts here! I bought a ticket for Zina as well, as a thank-you present. I’m ready to leave homestay, but she has been a wonderful host. And every night this weekend, I went to see the dancing fountains at Republic Square for a little while – okay, add that also to the list of things I will miss.
An A-10 who had stayed with Zina in the past called to see if she could stay at the beginning of August and again in mid-September; I’m glad Zina will have another guest soon. The A-10 had seen a mention on the internet – my secondary project’s first impact! And Will, the A-14 is back in town. If all went smoothly, he’s now a married man – congratulations and best wishes to the happy couple.
I did my interview with the MCA-Armenia CEO yesterday. That went well! The bulletin should be posted on mca.am/en in September – I have worked on several pieces that will be in it! As I said, a nice way to go out.
I have my exit interview with the Country Director tomorrow, my exit interview with the Program Manager on Thursday, and then a farewell dinner with the other PCRVs that night. For that, I created conversation cards with award topics – best moment, best place, best dinner and the like. We’ll see if everyone is in a reflective mood (already there’s been some discussion over whether it is one last time to vent or if only positive comments can be made). I have to finish packing, and then on Friday morning I will bring all of my luggage and the space heater that I used as a towel rack, fire extinguisher, water filter and CO detector to the Peace Corps office (can’t bring the extinguisher or detector before the last day so I may as well make one big trip) and have my final paperwork checkout. I asked Zina to throw a glass of water out the door after me when I leave her home for the last time.
About the only thing I haven’t done is seen my tutor again – we had said goodbye when she went off to PST, but with the thought that we might see each other one more time. I’ll post the summary haiku (and it is just a summary – as I reviewed my calendar, so many wonderful places stood out! But I had to stop somewhere) that I know you are eagerly anticipating, and then I’m off! I don’t plan to post while I am traveling, but since I will still be in the Caucasus region, I think the posts fit with this blog and not travelsintheoffseason.blogspot.com. I’ll write when I can (and I still have past travels to write about there… once again, I thought I would write about elsewhere while here and once again I have ended up living in the moment!).
I want to thank you for reading and for sharing this experience with me. I’m grateful for your support. Writing this has been a part of my Peace Corps assignment (it’s Third Goal!), but more, it’s been a way to feel not so far away from loved ones. And it’s also a way to share Armenia and Peace Corps Response with people I don’t know – I hope you too have enjoyed it. This isn’t the end, but it’s a good time to say all of this. Shnorhakalutyun!