Sunday, September 4, 2016

Pink Shorts or a Letter to a Neighbor

Dear neighbor, 

I don't know your name, age, gender, occupation, but I do know that you are a special person. You must be... What you did the other day got eternally stamped in my memory and made me remember that creativity doesn't need invitations, that magic moments are made out of small acts and these small acts can make the person want to pay it forward and before you know it, you might be in charge of creating a whole community of  "wannabe better, kinder" people. Sounds big, doesn't it?! I don't want to throw big words, I can't really, especially when I'm emotional and I am emotional at the moment. I just want you to know that I'm always going to be grateful for making this one of the best stories/memories of my life. 

I'm very much looking forwards to meeting you in person. 

(apt. 44)  
~The Story~

The past few days have been the most stressful, vulnerable, emotionally draining days of my life. My father has undergone a serious surgery and I've come to realize that I'm an immensely emotional being.  All these days I've been trying to have myself pulled together, force a smile of my face, distract myself with work and family duties, think positively but all I could do was to cry every minute I thought about it. But this is not what this story is about, the story is about my neighbor from upstairs whom I've never met and who has managed to put a permanent smile on my face.

A few days ago, I was hanging the laundry outside and accidentally dropped my daughter's shorts to the outer side of our balcony. I tried to get it with a stick, then a hook, then some handmade devices that I thought would be helpful but in vain. Since nothing worked I could either leave it there or maybe drop it down on the ground, go downstairs and pick it up, which I did, but apparently I tried too hard and my daughters little shorts ended up getting caught up on the electrical wires or some sort of wires on the height of the second floor which was unreachable to get. "OK, well.. forget it" I thought to myself and moved on. 

For the coming few days I observed Mia's shorts just hanging there in the same position, which is also a testimony to hot and windless the summer Yerevan was and then I just forgot about it. 

Few days later...

I come home after one of these consequent long and stressful days, go out to a balcony for a breath of fresh air and see a rope hanging from the balcony of the floor above with Mia's shorts tied up on it. 

This is the part of the story where the permanent smile kicked in.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I couldn't believe that somebody would actually be so creative as to leave a "package" hanging on a rope just like that rather than passing it in a normal -  walking 22 steps down, knock-knock, thank you - thank you, bye-bye - kind of way. I was in such a positive shock that for a moment I started doubting the creativity element of the whole story and thought more rationally. "He/she has probably sent it to us this way just because he/she knows that our being-at-home time schedules probably don't match, so he/she has just put it there for us to pick it up whenever we see it" That thought made total sense to me and I stuck to that for few minutes. 

I was still so touched by this act and I really wanted to let him/her know how appreciative I was for such a sweet act so instead of walking 22 steps up, knocking at the door and saying it to him/her I decided to act the same way back. I tied up a chocolate bar to my end of the rope and left it there hanging thinking that hopefully he/she will have it once at home. 

And then the magic happened... the rope started pulling back and few moments later the chocolate was gone leaving me in a completely awe and shock and happiness and a thought that there was nothing rational about it, but total creativity and adventurous sweetness.

I wanted to run upstairs, introduce myself, scream, hug or whatever, but then I though that I didn't want to spoil the moment... and I still have not... I guess I still don't want to spoil something, I don't even know what. 

To be continued...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

once upon a Valentine's day

I'm not a huge Valentine's day person, always felt that these kind of public holidays put extra pressure on people and pressure eventually turns into obligation and obligation turns into some sort of nightmare... and the days turns into a gift exchange party rather than celebration of love. Anyway...

Couple of years ago I got a nice perfume from France from one of my French colleagues (I used to work for a French company). The scent of was really nice, sweet but not too much, pretty subtle and at the same time had a lot of character about it, if you know what I mean. It was one of Armani fragrances that I can no longer remember the exact name of.

I wasn't a huge fan of the perfume, I quite liked it, but wasn't desperately in love with it until my husband told me that he loved the scent of it. And, of course, as a regular loving wife I started wearing the fragrance more often than just every once in a while. The more I wore it, the more he would compliment me on the beautiful scent of perfume that I was wearing. And I liked making him happy by wearing the perfume every day, sometimes several time a day.

One day, near the Valentine's day, the perfume finished. And I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be funny if I got another bottle of my Armani perfume and actually gave it to him as a Valentine's day gift"? To me the idea sounded hilarious, because I thought that I was about to buy female fragrance, wrap it up and give it as a gift to my husband on Valentine's day, just because he liked it so much... we would have a good laugh about it and I would end up wearing the perfume. That was the plan.

So I went to the beauty shop on Valentine's day all very excited and happy about my plan and started looking for that Armani fragrance. The shop assistant came up to me asking whether or not she could help me, so I said that I was looking for Armani blah-blah fragrance.

"Oh you won't find it here, let's go to the male perfume department", she says.
"Excuse me?" I couldn't believe my ears.
"Yes, it's a male fragrance, you thought it was a female perfume"? she continues:
"Of course, I did not..." I respond in complete awe and embarrassment and a little disappointment because the plan didn't work out.

Turned out that nothing was wrong with my husband's taste in fragrances and I've been wearing male perfume for a whole year.

I did buy him the perfume anyway.

Happy Valentine's day, everyone! Be loved every day ~

Sunday, February 9, 2014


I've been drinking coffee since I guess I was 13-14 years old. I never really liked it, but I could never deny the fact that it was the essential and integral part of our neighbors meet-up routines over the weekends, the core of stories, sharings sometimes even gossips... but it all never really mattered to me, cause for me coffee time sometimes was the happiest and the most bonding time that I spent with my dad. He was actually the one who "taught" me to drink coffee :)

My dad he is an early riser, he usually goes to bed at around 11-12 p.m. and he is up at around 5.30 a.m. or 6 a.m. the latest and just as all artists are, he drinks a whole lot of coffee. The first cup of coffee he usually takes is at around 6 a.m. and the second one falls at around 8 a.m. the time when the whole family is still in bed. Yes, he is the only early riser in my family of looong sleepers.

My dad, he has such an controversial extremes in his character. He is both extremely social and antisocial at the same time. I don't even know how it is possible but he somehow is able to combine these 2  extremes in his life. Mornings are the time when he is extremely social :) So having taken his first cup of coffee he would be cheered up-up-up with the idea that  he was going to share his second coffee in a company with somebody. So he would walk around the house, waking everybody up asking "who wants coffee"? ...and 8 a.m. in the family of long sleepers is still too early so usually his sweet inquiry would follow grumpy noises like "Dad, come on no, it's too early, let us sleep".

I used to be a long sleeper as well but I still thought that it was very sweet of him to offer coffee and be willing and eager to make it early in the morning, so I would get up and say "I'll have a coffee with you dad, you are making it or shall I do it"? "No, I'll make it, come to the balcony when you are ready"!
And though the coffee was not really age appropriate for me at that time, I just couldn't deny it from my dad.

I hated it - the coffee, I honestly, absolutely, completely, totally, hopelessly, wholeheartedly, desperately... hated it, it wasn't tasty to me at all. it didn't make any sense to me why people would actually voluntarily take coffee, but at the same time I couldn't refuse to take it, cause it all just wouldn't work without it: it wouldn't work with tea, with water, with juice. The morning chill, balcony, dad, his tripod and canvasses, colors and brushes, stories, would come together only with coffee.

Our mornings with dad were beautiful, our whole drinking coffee routine would take not more than 10-15 minutes every morning but sometimes those were the happiest minutes of my day. And just like most habits are usually formed by doing them regularly, I started drinking coffee and in a while (in about 3-4 years) long while actually, I completely forgot that I actually didn't like the taste of it.

So now I drink coffee because it makes me happy or a happier person, because it doesn't matter where I am, whether I'm with or without my dad, in or out of city, in cold or warm, healthy or ill, happy or upset, every time I take coffee it all comes back to me, all the kindness, beauty, harmony and the incredible amount of peace that we would create in our balcony, comes  back to me.

When I was writing the post I came to realize that I actually don't have any coffee photos or portraits from our balcony with my dad, but it's OK, maybe I'll take some later and edit the post, meanwhile let me share few moments accompanied and portrayed with coffee.

After I left my job and started running own activities, this was the first day that I was working out of office. My mood was just like the weather that day ~ all springy, blossomy and beautiful :)
This shot was taking celebrating the 1000 number of followers of Eiva's Facebook page. Was super excited and filled with the excitement and that feeling when you have when you come to realize that there is a chance that whatsoever it is that you are doing now is worth doing it :)
That moment when I thought would be really cool to end a year by visiting elephant somewhere in India or Sri Lanka (which we actually did in my former "from Sri Lanke w* <3" post)
This actually was the first coffee portrait that I've made. We were having coffee with my husband some time in spring in  Achajour which is our favorite spring-summer morning hangout spot in Yerevan. Took the picture when he brought the 2 Amerikanos and the apricot jam pancakes were yet to come :)
This shot was taken during one of our breakfasts at home, it depicts that funny moment when you think you like and take coffee without sugar & at the same time  the one your husband usually makes for you who, turns out, has been putting sugar into your coffee all this time.
 couple of weeks ago my 5 m* old little darling wouldn't let us sleep at night. I was really sleepy and decided to have some coffee and 29 year old darling - no, not my son, my husband - joined me. Since it was 3 a.m. I took an owl portrait with our coffees.
Took this portrait just yesterday. Got severe flu and sore throat about a week ago still pretty sick and pretty unhappy and still trying to heal myself with natural remedies. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

from Sri Lanka w* ♥

 ~ āyubūvan ~   

2012 has been the most crucial year of my life... lots of mostly unexpected things happened to me and unfortunately they were not always good ones. Whatever it was, having a total roller-coaster year, I made up my mind that it had to with elephants, the creatures that I absolutely love and adore, who were around on my ups and downs, who were the symbol of lots of unexpected good changes of my life...

I'm not trying to get too emotional here, so back to business ;)

With this on my mind my husband and I started planning a trip to Asia and eventually ended up with choosing Sri Lanka as the new year 2012-2013 destination. 

I feel it's gonna be a looong article, but anyways :) 

We were fling by FlyDubai which means we had to wait for a loo~ong 9-11 hours while  in the Dubai Airport terminal 2 which was... mmm not to say quite bad, not the most pleasant place to be or thing to do ... It's an international transit zone but the airport doesn't quite look  international. Men  in white and women in black... then the "Namaz" time came up and people started their prayer... The first couple of hours I was very happy seeing/being in such a  different culture among such different people but then the hygiene issues arose and I completely forgot about the cultural diversity and just couldn't wait but go to Sri Lanka or somewhere... anywhere just a place far away from that airport :) 

Dubai itself is breathtaking, and you realize it when you are flying over the Dubai, it's literally sand and desert and right in the middle of the desert they built the city with skyscrapers, tower, fountains and lots of green :) Dubai has a very specific sandy-watery smell in the air :)
Will definitely go back to Dubai to explore the dessert city 

We arrived in Colombo somewhere around 4 am and I did know we were going to a warm tropical country but in Yerevan even in the hottest summers there is a mild chilly wind blowing at night, we went out of airport and the heat full of humid blew right on my face and I entered into the summer I don't think I ever experienced before :)

We met out guide Koleampur something-something, we called him Kolé and our driver Mr. Buddika :) the nicest thing to happen after the 17 hours flight is to meet nice people who can take you to the hotel for you to sleep !!! We were speaking with them in Russian. Our guide studied in Kazan during the USSR period and he kind of thought that we were from USSR! and he would be right if we had gone to LK 22 years earlier ;) So the first thing he asked was: 

Kolé: So how is Soviet Union? 
Me: Mmm... I don't really want to disappoint you but it kind of collapsed and there  is no Soviet Union any more ;) 
Kolé: ehhh... I used to have a girlfriend there :) 

He is a lovely man :)

We woke up in the hotel couple of hours later opened the window and saw the beautiful vast ocean right in front of me, palm trees, tuk-tuks... the feelings were actually so mixed, and it was all about living the moment, that's why this is the only trip we have so~ few picture compared to our other trips :)

view from the window
We took a city walk and got familiar with the king coconut that you can actually drink the juice inside but the regular hairy coconut that you can only cook with.

Hello King Coconut :)

Yes! I did mention that the feelings were quite mixed, happy, excited, scared and very very unknown... no traffic lights, totally self controllable traffic, happy smiling people, offering you this and that every now and then.
We took a short walk along the beach  and I got a little into the environment :)

first shots in LK, first beach walk
Later that evening we met our acquaintances, beautiful Armenian-Sri Lankan family with 2 beautiful girls speaking Sinhalese, English and Armenian living in the most tropical house I've ever seen : 3 floored house with the half of the roof covered for the purpose of natural ventilation... and when it rains there is a small river place right in the living room, a nice balcony with banana, coconut tree and a regular visit place of local squirrels, monkeys and other animals... oh and we drove right into the lobby of the house.

The next day to moved on to our trips and visited the Pinnavela, the famous elephants orphanage of Sri Lanka. For me this trip was completely dedicated to elephants, so you can imagine me meeting them for the first time seeing the bathing elephants. I jumped and screamed and ran down to the river from the tourists' balcony to meet, talk, hug, caress them all. 

elephants at bath time :)
The local elephant guide saw me and came to take to down to take to to the elephants. and we met the biggest elephant in the orphanage we was so big that we had to stand on the rock in order to caress him :)
He was the most adorable creature on earth I caressed him for a while, talked to him and he raise his trunk I thought he is responding back and hugged the trucked and he gave me such a wild blow with his truck that the my hair got stuck up :) I take it as an elephant way of welcoming people :D

the wind blow on my face :)
some elephants talk to each other, others talk to people
hey gorgeous
we took a long walk in the Pinnavela met the rest of the elephants, enjoyed their company a little bit more their company after the bath time :)

cutie playing around
bath time is over now it's time for breakfast
rushing beauty
wild one... you don't want to mess with her
that's me trying to get an excited profile pic :D fail!!!

The next stop was Dambulla. We took a walk in the Cave temple to see lots of Buddha statues, sleeping, in nirvana, sitting, praying and a lot of other poses together with a local monk who was accompanying us around telling stories... beautiful and breathtaking place.

Buddha temple newly constructed front
Buddha cave temple

The worse part for me about visiting Buddha places is that you have to walk distances barefoot. 

... and of course I had an "santavik" incident
back of the temple! monk statues
Mr. M* I guess a regular visitor of the temple
The special thing for me particularly in the cave temple was the monk who came up to me, took my hand and said that I had a good karma, and he is right :) I do have a good Karma!!! Tik, my husband thought that he said so just because of the tip, I like thinking that my good Karma is just sooo~ good that it's that obvious for monk's naked eye :P :)  

The next stop was Sigiriya 350 m high rock fortress with a big beautiful royal palace on the top of it.When I first saw it was scary huge like 12 times taller than my parents' 9 floor building... oh and guess what we had to climb up and down by stairs and oops an awkward moment, I just remembered that after vampires, Dracula, ghosts I'm stair-phobic - if there is such a word, but yes, I'm scared of stairs (for me it's something very~very uncontrollable for my height and every time I go up and down I have the feeling that I'm about to fall down)... I went up and down without falling down, shouting, crying or having a heart attack and had my well deserved feeling of triumph. The place itself is breathtaking with beautiful beautiful view. We saw the royal palace on the top. took a walk around and you know what?! that king had 500 wives, can you imagine?

I know I burnt the sky, but it doesn't Sigiriya less high :) S* & her surrounding royal gardens
steps were marbled & it had rained the day before, so they were wet and slippery 
doggy chilling out on the height of 250 m
wall paintings with natural colors
half way through
& we made it to the top
I still couldn't believe I did that!
I look excited but in fact the only thing that was going on in my mind was:
"how on earth am I going to climb down..."
the royal pool for wives of the king, he seemed to like sitting on this thrown
& watching them swim
I mean... look at the stair, if you looked down all you could think of would be
 "I really-really don't want to die"
Later on we rode ~Mutto~ actually, before going to Sri Lanka I had doubts whether it's good to ride elephants or not, I researched a little bit... some forums would say that it's OK, other would disagree... but anyways I love elephants and I never ever in my life would want to hurt them. So we went to  visit elephants and I very very reluctant to ride Mutto, as I was convinced that it's bad for them, but local elephant men told me that I shouldn't worry about that cause it wouldn't hurt them but of course I didn't want to believe just like that until my logic switched up: a regular 18-20 year old elephant weighing 4 tons each 200 kg food per day which basically means that my husband and I weigh less then he eats, would be really feel us, and would it really hurt?! what about horses and donkey... they weigh much less and people still ride them... and also "does our Hrant eat 200 kg a day?"

Good or bed I set on the Mutto and she took us for a short walk :)

walk with Mutto :)
Mutto in the river
in the middle of the walk the elephant suddenly stopped, I asked the guide
what happened, he said : "kaka Madam... &...tsunami" :D
thanking Mutto for a nice ride
p.s. did you know that in Sri Lanka people recycle elephants excrement and make a recycled paper. I saw couple lovely note books and wanted to buy for some of my friends as a souvenir, then I thought "OK how do I present the souvenir, hey I got you something special, it's a beautiful notebook for you to write/draw in... oh and by the way, it's made out of elephant excrement" :D
Should have bought couple of them, at least now I would know what the reaction would be :))

When we went to history museum and visited another Buddha ancient temple!!

remainings of the Buddha temple
former parliament building
Tik in the parliament standing in the place of one of the ministers
famous moon stone
biggest stone book
Tik coming out of one of the Buddha temple :))
Buddha in nirvana
and last but not the least :) One of the most interesting Gods I ever came across :)

God of fertility and sex :D in old times when a woman could get pregnant,
she would come to this status pour some milk on it and get pregnant :)
One the way back to the hotel we met this wild cutie coming out of the tropical forest :) Our driver was terrified but I was excited~

Wild cutie on highway :)
Then we moved on to Kandy where we visited the the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha . It was a big, beautiful place, you know another "perfect place" to walk barefoot on a rainy day :)

the temple
Inside of the temple
panorama ;)
Then we went to see national singing and dancing performances, honestly I wasn't impressed by the technical or vocal abilities of the performers but they did have very colorful and beautiful costumes it's all just a very entertaining to watch once or twice :)

funny costume

Then we reached the tea land. We went to see tea plantations and also took a  tour in the tea factory where a very nice guide who actually was the first person who knew what Armenia was and where it was :) We got to know to the technologies of making the black, green, white teas both in leaves and bags. And I gave a little hand to the local women working in the factory! so the next time you take English Breakfast, remember me, cause I might have help in the making-of process :) 

tea lady posing for a pic at the plantations
OK, I'll get a pic as well :)
big waterfall near the plantations
Then we visited the botanic garden, I call it a paradise for biologists. Tons of tree, plant and greenery variety, beautifully and carefully preserved. I'm took a walk only on around the important areas of the garden cause walking and getting to know to the entire territory of the garden would take around 3 days.

Tik and Kole at botanic garden
this is not a decorated tree, it just grows like this
the yellow thing down there, it's me :) yes!
this tree was thaaaat huge!
unless I'm mistaken it's one of those walking tree: wherever the brunch touched
a tree grows and one tree can make a whole forest
& my favorite DRUNK trees :))
each fruit could fit 2-3 coconuts inside :)
In between we tried the national costumes and had a wonderful Sri-Lankan massage (no pics from massage, of course ;) :)

Then we ended a trip at the beautiful beach on the south west of the island and spend 6 days on the beach, did nothing but swimming, drinking king coconut, then swimming again then sleeping long hours :)

Tik on holiday
me on holiday

beach photos censored ;) 

During this trip we visited around 12 cities, got to know to the culture and the people. I came to realize that people can be kind to each other, smiling and happy and appreciating what they have rather than complaining about what they don't, at least that's what I saw in people here during my short trip :) I'm not saying everything was perfect, and tip request at anything was annoying, something that would make you feel mean every time you refused to give a tip but I still wouldn't put the "happy madam? tip madam!" stereotype on the whole country and all the people. I lost my favorite earrings, but I don't want to complain about that... little something I gave in return to all the emotions I got from LK :) 

This trip taught me to be patient, positive and most importantly grateful for what you have. I so am... and also his trip made me realize how close people can live with nature, how close they can be with animal & that made me hate Zoos as place for caged animals even more now :-/

My father always told me that I should travel a lot and make the world a smaller place for you to be in and I'm so totally going to do that :) 

p.s. next stop ~Cuba~