Showing posts from September, 2013

Ejmiatsin, Armenia

Phin and I visited Vagharshapat, Armenia , about 18 km away from Yerevan. There was supposedly a marshrutka or bus that went there, but we couldn't find it and ended up taking an absurdly cheap old Lada taxi out there with a friendly taxi driver for about $2.50. The driver on the way back was less friendly and despite us agreeing on a fixed price before leaving, he tried to get more money out of us than agreed upon when dropping us off. Which we didn't go for. The city was known officially during Soviet times, and unofficially still, as Ejmiatsin or Echmiadzin, after the name of the Etchmiadzin Cathedral , the central cathedral of the Mother See (spiritual and administrative headquarters) of the Armenian Apostolic Church. I read that the original cathedral was built in the years 301-303 by St. Gregory the Illuminator, and the current one dates to 480, with a stone dome added in 618. The cathedral had scaffolding up when we visited. We went inside briefly, and continued to

House Rules: Video Games and Music

Home Schooling Dream vs. Reality Our initial home schooling dream had the kids studying Latin and Greek, speaking German fluently, finished with Calculus and starting college courses by the time they were 14, and running their own successful business selling artisan cheese made from the milk of our goat herd. Also, they would never watch TV or play video games. Then the kids were born. It turns out that, in the interest of maintaining my sanity, I’m more of a Relaxed Home Schooler. This is also why I’m a Relaxed Housekeeper. We didn’t even teach the kids German, which both Jon and I speak fluently, although I maintain that the main reason for this is not laziness but our reluctance to give up our secret language. The kids are on track to do Calculus before they start college at or near 18. We never got the goats, although we have plans to get some when we return to the US, and we did have chickens for a long time. The chickens laid eggs for us, but we didn’t sell them. We just

Prague in mid-September

Here are some interesting buildings in the area we live. This one is the (Jan) Hus House, home of the Czech Brothers' Evangelical Church (or so the front says -- I'm not sure if it's still the case or not). There's a statue of reformer Jan Hus , to the left a bible, and to the right a lamb. This extruded artwork I found interesting: Around the corner from us on a building is a plaque noting the birthplace of Jaroslav Hašek , author of the famous novel The Good Soldier Švejk . A classic example of standalone panelák apartment building: The metro bridge leading to Vyšehrad : A fun fountain in the middle of an intersection: The relatively new, brick Church of St. Ludmila (Kostel svaté Ludmily) which dominates Náměstí Míru , which means "peace square", but which we also like for its play to our ears on Mira's name: An outdoor piano for anyone to play! I think we saw one of these before somewhere else in Prague when we were here in