It all started simply enough…a friendly conversation about a deliciously sticky dessert called monkey bread. Ohh, monkey bread you say? “WASH YA HANDS” before you pull a gooey, rich caramely piece away from its puzzle-like self. But why would one need to wash their hands for something called monkey bread?? Was it just us? Or did others see the illogical ideology behind such a demand. Or were our associations inherently flawed…flawed for subconsciously, then consciously, associating said monkey bread with, of all things…poo. Yes, I said it, poo.

And so it began. I wondered what other people’s initial thoughts were. So, for the past two days I’ve been collecting responses to the question below. After all, six participants, zero statistical analysis, and my complete ignorance regarding proper psychological research surely makes for accurate scientific results.

Responses to: What associations / images come to mind when you think of the dessert food: ‘monkey bread’?

Participant 1: bananas and “that place with the buffet”
Participant 2: homemade cinnamon rolls and ‘how many I could eat right now”
Participant 3: just.bread.
Participant 4: cinnamon roll and interesting
Participant 5: bananas
Participant 6: “I imagine a monkey chowing down on bread; very appropriate for humans”

After all this research, I had to make monkey bread. sans, poo:

 

be well

This little guy made an appearance in my dreams this morning. He was just as soft and cute as I remember, cuddling by my side as I lay sleeping.

I sure do miss you.

until next time…

As this amazing journey winds to an end I’m already dreaming about when I will return. My experiences here would definitely not have been possible without the financial support of my beloved parents…thank you for providing housing, food, and utilities at a very affordable cost (free) which allowed me to fill my savings account (now depleted :) ). I only hope I can precisely and eloquently share my experiences and stories with you in order to do these lands and peoples justice.

Armenia, Georgia (republic), and Turkey – until next time!

I’m finding it hard to post meaningful entries- the days are long and the words don’t come to me easily.

While in Konya this occurred: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14170418

And in response we witnessed this: 

Capturing these moments, these emotions and physical actions made me feel alive and made me realize how exciting I find searching for the true heart / soul of a community. Obviously, these moments only capture one side of the Konya community and what’s important to these individuals, but it’s real. It took me a while to find someone who spoke enough English to tell me what was going on – supposedly this (very large) group was showing their support of the Turkish military and the 13 Turkish soldiers who were killed by a Kurdish “rebel” group in the southeast portion of Turkey. That’s all I could find out and definitely don’t know enough about this internal conflict to provide meaningful insight.

Along with trying to capture people’s candid behavior, I’ve been documenting doors and graffiti. I haven’t really figured out why I’m drawn to these objects/thoughts/ideas. Perhaps doors represent the ability to enter and growth yet simultaneously signify rejection and obstacles. And in some profound, esoteric way are analogous to the cycle of life? And as for graffiti…well those underground words and images have profound meaning as most times it’s an expression of thought by the marginalized working class and youth.

all for now.

Georgia in the news: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14077350

I’ve been seeing these shops around town…!

Deep within the mountainous Lori Province region lies Akhtala monastery. The surrounding area is known for its extensive copper and silver reserves and there is still a small amount of mining occurring today. Akhtala monastery is a 10th century fortified Armenian Apostolic Church monastery and is one of the oldest, most well-preserved frescoed churches in the world. Upon entering the Akthala monastery grounds, we were one of only two visiting groups and during our wanderings the local priest (who’s responsible for 3-4 churches in the area) came to chat with us and was eager to share is knowledge (Armenians are well know for their eagerness and willingness to share their vast religious and cultural history with visitors). So, thus began our hour long personal guided tour by the priest himself! This interaction illuminated the hospitality, pride, and spirit of Armenia, to say the least. Upon leaving, we were given ice cream! Free tour AND ice cream.

Let’s talk about Armenian dairy, shall we?! I had a love / hate relationship with it. Majority of the dairy I consumed in Armenia was either in the form of cheese or ice cream, both of which had undertones of…farm. Perhaps this is just the result of using unpasteurized milk? I wanted to like it; really I did! But I couldn’t move beyond it tasting like a dairy farm smells. Ah well. Don’t tell the Armenians…but Georgian dairy is better.

Mind the Gap: 11 hours in London

London in one word…charming. Having never been to Europe, I’d say an 11 hour layover in London was a nice introduction but a bit too expensive for my budget. In those 11 hours, Eric and I spent at least 100 USD on food and transportation, food eating up the most monies.

I was completely won over by London, minus it’s horrendously inefficient international airport and lack of AC on the subway. Everything was cute: the small cars, the small alleyways, the old ladies and their hats, and even the taxis. Best part of the excursion was stumbling across an underground graffiti art area…secrets of the city exposed! However, I found myself becoming frustrated by my tendency to slip into a British accent – I BLAME YOU, DAD! I figured because I playfully use a British accent so often and because I’m so comfortable with it’s authenticity, when surrounded by others with similar accents…it just comes out! Seriously, I had a hard time restraining myself and speaking “normally.” Luckily, no one ever asked where I was from because otherwise I might have had to explain why someone born in the US with American parents had a British accent.

funnies – Armenianism & Ericisms

Armenianisms:

“I broke my arm because I caught a cold”

“let me feel your water bottle…drinking cold water makes you sick.”

“hurry close the left marshrootka (minibus) window; there’s a crossbreeze. Where’s your snow suit?!”

“Drinking water makes you fat!”

“I got sick because I sit in front of a fan all day at work.”

Ericisms:

“I’m going to join PC so I can watch all the TV shows”

“Referring to his own alterego “`Esmeralda Fitzmonster…yeah, she’s fantastic.”

“My sass is Dominique Devereaux, she’s hatian. I got my Creole on.”

observation #2:

“Goddamnit I really hate that hat”

PLEASE mind the floppy hat attached to your backpack, particularly, in very lengthy lines with limited personal space. kthanks.