Published: Friday December 18, 2009 in Living in Armenia
She has large, dark eyes that take up half her face, an infectious smile that rarely fades, and an inexplicable charisma that draws people to her. Her name is Arminé and her provenance is Artsakh. In Maria Titizian's "Living in Armenia" column, Arminé helps put the New Year in perspective.
Published: Friday December 04, 2009 in Living in Armenia
While we are often frustrated by what we see in Armenia, and while we may not always agree with its domestic and foreign policies, we must never abandon it, Maria Titizian writes in her Living in Armenia column.
Published: Friday November 20, 2009 in Living in Armenia
When we were little, most weekends my father would play Blot (or Belote), Maria Titizian writes: four men, sitting at a table, drinking scotch, and chain-smoking while the women sat around and complained that their men were playing blot, drinking scotch, and chain-smoking late into the night.
Published: Thursday November 05, 2009 in Living in Armenia
The confluence of big business and political leadership has created special challenges for a range of countries, including Armenia. Maria Titizian in her Living in Armenia column looks at the experience of the United States in combating monopolies.
Published: Friday August 28, 2009 in Living in Armenia
On a rare trip to Canada, "Living in Armenia" columnist Maria Titizian discovers that her parents and relatives seem to have aged overnight.
Published: Friday July 10, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Forty people, including a whole slew of children, in nine cars headed out for Aghveran the other day, “Living in Armenia” columnist Maria Titizian writes. As they drove north of Yerevan, the bright, blue sky started clouding over, but no one seemed too concerned about the impending rain.
Published: Friday June 26, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Living in Armenia columnist Maria Titizian discovered her license plate missing one day, taken by the police for a parking infraction. She learns many lessons that day. For example, her son is allowed to drive without a license if a senior police officer says so.
Published: Friday June 12, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Columnist Maria Titizian celebrates a milestone, the graduation of her son from high school in Armenia, achieved with much loving and caring support from an excellent teacher and school. And she contemplates how achieving other milestones in Armenia will be no easy task.
Published: Wednesday June 10, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Jason Paul Kazarian from Texas discovers Gyumri and its young talents in unique way. He is executive director of Gyumri Information Technologies Center. Taleen Babayan has a profile.
Published: Saturday May 02, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Watching Armenians in different countries commemorating the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, I realized we are so unbelievably strong when we are united, Maria Titizian writes in her "Living in Armenia" column.
Published: Saturday April 18, 2009 in Living in Armenia
The man in the long, tattered, gray coat is my friend, I think, writes Living in Armenia columnist Maria Titizian. We see each other daily. We have never spoken to one another. I don't know his name or where he lives exactly, but I have my suspicions. I'm quite sure he knows where I live. Small country, very little privacy.
Published: Saturday April 04, 2009 in Living in Armenia
We have the ability, through the printed word to relay stories that have significance and substance, Maria Titizian writes in her "Living in Armenia" column.
Published: Saturday March 21, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Living in Armenia columnist Maria Titizian is showing off the country to guests from Germany. Scenery that's breathtaking other times of year is bland now, and mudslides have brought about destruction. But the temple of Garni and the monastery at Geghard save the day.
Published: Saturday March 07, 2009 in Living in Armenia
What can you do, it's a funny country, Maria Titizian writes in her "Living in Armenia" column. Having gas-station attendants stare at their customers, and not having to pay for dental services or haircuts are part of everyday life.
Published: Friday February 20, 2009 in Living in Armenia
When columnist Maria Titizian occasionally complains about life in Armenia, some people assume she is ready to pack up and leave. That got her thinking, What if a million people had not left Armenia over the last two decades? Perhaps they too would see the twinkling eyes and bright spirits she saw in Yerevan's Lovers Park on February 16.
Published: Friday February 06, 2009 in Living in Armenia
"Living in Armenia" columnist Maria Titizian knows more than she wants to know about the lives of the men who drive Yerevan's taxicabs, and they know too much about her life.
Published: Friday January 23, 2009 in Living in Armenia
Strolling on the ice in the resort town of Dilijan, "Living in Armenia" columnist Maria Titizian runs into a little girl with twinkling eyes and an Armenian translation of "Le Petit Prince" in hand.
Published: Friday January 09, 2009 in Living in Armenia
In her Living in Armenia column, Maria Titizian describes a holiday visit to Yerevan's Malatya market, with its sights, smells, sounds, and crowded, vibrant atmosphere.
Published: Thursday December 18, 2008 in Living in Armenia
Last weekend we went to the village of Abaka on the outskirts of Etchmiadzin, Maria Titizian writes in her “Living in Armenia” column. Abaka – future – is a strange name for a village, she thought. But then she met Samvel and Sirun.
Published: Saturday December 06, 2008 in Living in Armenia
Did you know? A scorpion, hidden among the many layers of tulle and veil bit the young bride! In her "Living in Armenia" column, Maria Titizian takes on the pervasive phenomenon of rumors about anything and everything in Armenia' -- where many people are skeptical about everything except unsubstantiated rumors.
Published: Saturday November 22, 2008 in Living in Armenia
We live in extraordinary times, to be sure. I have contemplated the women in my life, the women in Armenia, and the women of the world with pride, with anger, with love, with anticipation, and loss and rage and expectation. They have given me the opportunity to feel moved, profoundly. They have inspired me with their strength and courage.
Published: Saturday October 25, 2008 in Living in Armenia
Swan Lake, nestled among weeping willows on the corner of Toumanian and Teryan is home to Arno Babajanian, sitting in front of his piano, one hand extended in the air immortalized in the form of a basalt statue. In her "Living in Armenia" column, Maria Titizian finds that Swan Lake is one of the things that keeps her attached to the homeland.
Published: Saturday October 11, 2008 in Living in Armenia
"This past year has been especially difficult," Maria Titizian writes in her "Living in Armenia" column. "Between the presidential elections, the riots, the war in Georgia, and the tentative steps being taken with Turkey, we have had our plate pretty full of internal and external challenges and threats. Many heated debates have taken place about all of these issues. The one thing we have failed to discuss has been the decimation of a value system, and the void it has left behind."
Published: Saturday August 30, 2008 in Living in Armenia
It has finally happened. I knew the day would come. I had fooled myself into believing that I would be able to manage the impending and inevitable crisis. Although my personal history had not prepared me, I believed I would have the fortitude of character to withstand the difficulties, the uncertainties. I now understand that I am ill-equipped on every possible human level to do so. I now understand what it means to live in a landlocked country which is under a blockade by two of its four neighbors.
Published: Saturday March 22, 2008 in Living in Armenia
The first day of spring is celebrated on March 1 in Armenia. It has nothing to with the tilting of the axis of the earth toward the sun, impacting the length of daylight as the hemisphere begins to warm. No, it's just an arbitrary date, like all things Soviet. Summer officially begins on June 1, autumn on September 1, and winter is December 1. It is an oversimplification of processes, both natural and cultural, which probably began when Soviet authorities decided to change our alphabet decades ago, allegedly to simplify the spelling.
Published: Saturday March 08, 2008 in Living in Armenia
The city of my dreams was not a place where armored vehicles and tanks roamed. It was not a place where armed soldiers guarded bridges, underpasses, government buildings. It was not a city divided. It was not a city that looted. Or burned cars. Or destroyed public property. It is no longer the city of dreams. It is a city in shock and in a state of emergency.
Published: Saturday March 01, 2008 in Living in Armenia
Armenia is probably the only country in the world who can boast that it has three presidents. Three. That's right. There's the incumbent, Robert Kocharian, there's President-elect Serge Sargsian, and then there's the self-proclaimed president of Freedom Square, Levon Ter-Petrossian.
Published: Saturday February 16, 2008 in Living in Armenia
Pollsters, political pundits, taxi drivers, sociologists, political scientists, journalists, vegetable vendors, students, old people, young people, co-workers, politicians, janitors, city officials. Everybody in Armenia is consumed by the upcoming presidential elections.
Published: Saturday February 02, 2008 in Living in Armenia
There is this phenomenon known as the Canadian snowbirds. The snowbirds are people who in their younger, more financially productive years had made sound investments. Their children have flown the coop. They are retired and have more money than they know how to spend. That generation were notorious savers of money, unlike mine (or perhaps only me) who have decided to live in the moment and not wait for the rainy day or for our retirement but enjoy the fruits of our labor. I was lucky enough to have wise people in my life who taught me that lesson. Nonetheless when the first signs of winter are in the air, Canadian snowbirds make the trek down to Florida in droves. Most of them have apartments in gated communities from Miami to St. Petersburg. And as the first snowflakes descend upon the Canadian prairies the snowbirds are already halfway down to Florida.
Published: Saturday January 26, 2008 in Living in Armenia
I once read somewhere that it took Europe 14 centuries to achieve relative stability after the collapse of the Roman Empire. To expect peace and stability in the Middle East today when the collapse of the Ottoman Empire happened less than a century ago then is to be overly idealistic and optimistic.
Published: Saturday December 22, 2007 in Living in Armenia
The holiday season has always left me a little befuddled. Having to deal with the rigid customs and traditions that Armenians in the homeland follow has had its ups and downs. Back in 2001 a single leg of pork had me stumped. We had only been in the homeland for a few months when we had to begin preparations for New Year's Day. I had managed to pick up the mandatory Russian terms and local jargon necessary for me to manage at the markets. But nothing had prepared me for the leg of pork.
Published: Saturday December 08, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Traditions, customs, rituals, and ceremonies. These are terms that are synonymous with being Armenian. At least they were in my family. There were certain things we just weren't allowed to question. Aside from the obvious religious and national observances, my mother had oddities perhaps peculiar to her generation, perhaps just peculiar to her genetic makeup. We always used to joke that even if the heavens heralded the second coming of Christ, it wouldn't matter to our extremely devout mother - every Friday we would have to go grocery shopping and then every square inch of our home would have to be dusted, washed down, and scrubbed. Although I look back on those days now with nostalgia, at the time I couldn't figure out certain obsessions that we Armenians, in the name of tradition, hung on to - even if those traditions involved housework.
Published: Saturday November 24, 2007 in Living in Armenia
My generation was blessed with witnessing sweeping changes in our world. As a child we were taught that the threat of nuclear holocaust was imminent. In eighth grade, The Chrysalids, a science fiction novel set in a post-apocalyptic future after God had sent "tribulation" (nuclear holocaust), was required reading in our school. We were instructed what to take with us in underground bunkers should a nuclear bomb be detonated. Images of the atom bomb exploding, obliterating everything in its path had become commonplace. Deformities caused by radiation was the stuff of our nightmares. I realized how dated I was when my children stared at me in astonishment when I told them about it. Foolishly, I thought they were taught about the potential of a nuclear war. Don't ask me why, sometimes I'm in a time warp. But that's when I realized how much the world has changed.
Published: Saturday November 10, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Northern Ray Boulevard: This past Sunday we took a stroll along Teryan Street, which cuts Northern Ray Boulevard, to get a first-hand look at all the buildings that make up this new neighborhood of downtown Yerevan. It has been under construction for the last several years. The architecture, the color, the glorious inlaid colorful stones on the walking paths were fantastic. I told my husband that 20 years from now, with some wear and tear and loving care, it would resemble a new Europe.
Published: Saturday October 27, 2007 in Living in Armenia
I often wonder what would happen if we had access to the sea. Let me state for the record that I ask this not from an economic, political, or strategic point of view. However, like many others I obviously do wonder how it would positively impact exports and imports; how it would no longer make us rely on the good grace and behavior of our neighbors; how business and tourism would flourish; how we could have access to larger markets and integrate into the global economy; how it would impact transportation costs; how we could import goods for much lower prices. We are not only cut off from access to seaborne trade, but are also cut off from the resources of the sea - alas, sushi restaurants are not in my top 10 picks of places to eat in Yerevan.
Published: Saturday October 13, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Camelot, located nowhere in particular, can be anywhere....
Published: Saturday September 29, 2007 in Living in Armenia
When I was a child I used to love going to the airport. Yes, I loved it so much that I usually made myself sick. The airport for me was the gateway to exotic destinations waiting to be discovered. I got the travel bug from an early age, and even now the idea of seeing new places and experiencing different cultures continues to be alluring.
Published: Saturday September 15, 2007 in Living in Armenia
For almost a century we have defined ourselves through our tragedies. We have occupied that space in our collective memory with ardent fervor. It is a place that is familiar. On a conscious level it is easy being the victim. You are never accountable; you were after all the prey. It's easy to preach from the pulpit, to declare to the world that you were subjected to the horrors of mankind. You can point your finger at the perpetrators and demand recognition and restitution. You can place blame squarely on the shoulders of humanity. For centuries you were the victim. It's the first thing you tell people about your people. You tell them about the Genocide, about the lost homeland of which only ghostly relics remain and which you have not claimed. We are a nation of emotional cripples, forever looking over our shoulders into the depths of our tragic past and secretly finding comfort and familiarity in that space.
Published: Saturday September 01, 2007 in Living in Armenia
"What a country. The crazy things that happen here. You know, when I was a kid, one afternoon a boulder fell on a boy, and killed him on the spot. Right in our backyard. We all shared a backyard, all these buildings shared one backyard, and there was a slope running along the edge of it, like a hill, with stones and boulders And the boulder fell on this poor kid and killed him.... I sometimes think there's a reason for all these freak accidents. Some message. A message from above....The place is dangerous.
Published: Saturday August 18, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Most of us become engaged only when we are outraged. All of us have a threshold which contains the series of outrages that life, in its arbitrary and obligatory way, throws in our path. And that is the twist that stops me cold in my tracks and forces me to question the choices I have made. In the past it served as the impetus that used to compel me to become engaged. But now I fear that this feeling of outrage that has taken hold of me is beginning to blind me, to distort my perceptions, and strike a blow from which I may not recover.
Published: Saturday August 04, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Isn't it time we had a serious national conversation about unifying the spelling of the Armenian language? This is a question which begs an answer. Life, however and its many perplexing and unexpected revelations has demonstrated that there is another national conversation we need to have before we begin public discourse on whether the Mesrobian spelling or the much later simplified spelling that was imposed by the Soviets in the beginning of the 1920s should be the official spelling of the official language of the Republic of Armenia.
Published: Saturday July 21, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Buying a home can be a daunting and emotional journey for most of us. So many hopes and dreams are tied up into owning a home, especially when it's your first one: "This is where we'll build a life for ourselves, raise our children, plant a vegetable garden, and grow old together." More than a real estate transaction, buying a house is a commitment, not only to the bank, but to our concept of family. Owning your own home is an intrinsic part of the American dream and according to the U.S. Census Bureau almost 70 percent of Americans own their own homes.
Published: Saturday July 07, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Being the unpaid tour guide that I am, I have on many occasions taken friends and family to various locales throughout Armenia.
Published: Saturday June 23, 2007 in Living in Armenia
I am in a reflective mood this evening as I sit in front of my computer struggling to write. Children are playing on the street, birds are chirping rather wildly by my windowsill and the sun is playing games with the clouds as it quietly sets. Mt. Ararat is settling down for a night's repose, and in a few minutes its faint silhouette will frame the evening sky and then softly disappear into the darkness.
Published: Saturday June 09, 2007 in Living in Armenia
A few days ago I was sitting at an outdoor café with some friends, enjoying the cool evening breeze after a blisteringly hot day. We were discussing the election results and the rumors flying about whether there would be a coalition government, which political parties would get which ministerial portfolios, and which ones would choose to go into opposition.
Published: Saturday May 26, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Making the decision to come was easy. Actually getting here with all our physical and emotional baggage was hard. Living here has been extraordinary, to say the least. I am not going to philosophize about our reasons for moving here, or describe in minutiae what monumental changes have occurred in our lives as a family since. Anyone who has lived here will intuitively know and anyone who dares to dream about moving here ... well, you'll just have to make that great leap of faith for yourself.
Published: Saturday May 05, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Parliamentary elections set for May 12, 2007 in Armenia will not likely present a significant increase of women in parliament. Although women's organizations have been lobbying more actively this past year to have a greater representation of women in the National Assembly and some political parties have been showcasing their women candidates on the campaign trail, it is unlikely that the status quo will change.
Published: Saturday April 21, 2007 in Living in Armenia
Can genetic material serve as the medium through which thoughts and memories are transmitted? Some would argue that it is scientifically difficult, if not impossible to prove. I on the other hand, have nothing to prove. All I know is that I ended up where he began. Not quite, but close enough. We came from different countries but we were both born by the sea.
Published: Saturday April 07, 2007 in Living in Armenia
When we first moved to Armenia, driving was a daunting daily ritual. Not so much for the cars, but for the abundance of potholes one had to be careful to avoid or risk facing substantial car repairs. That of course was no consolation for the shocks on our car that had to be changed frequently because on most dark, rainy nights we invariably ended up in a pothole. Strangely enough I don't recall ever changing the shocks on my old Japanese car which I abused while I sped along the absurdly smooth streets and highways of Toronto. But of course, nothing is ever simple in this complicated corner of the world.
Published: Saturday March 03, 2007 in Living in Armenia
A month of festivities and observances await women in Armenia. It all begins with International Women's Day on March 8 and culminates on April 7, Mother's Day.