Vanadzor Blog
...‘lav aziz jan’ and everything is right back in its place

I got the keys to my roof after asking my landlord for months. He’s been kind enough about it but it did take forever. I walk up to the roof and meet Seran one of the first new people I have met in months since the virus hit. He tells me he already knows all about me and how I came from Canada as a volunteer and I feel relieved I won’t have to explain too much. Seran gives me a tour of the roof and explains his responsibilities as well as brags about how there used to be television screens up on the roof playing ads all the time, I comment on how awful that sounds which was evidently not the reaction he had been braced for but we move on quickly as he tells me about his daughter. After showing me how to lock the door we head down to his apartment where I meet his lovely daughter who came from Moscow and within our short interaction we exchange Facebook and instagram as I go on my way. 

I head up to the roof and soak in the 360 degree view. This is city is stellar, I am reminded yet again. My time away from friends since quarantine has made me loose touch slightly with the comfort that I always feel here but as soon as I lay eyes on these gentle giants once again I am reminded of why this place is so special to me. Of course I want to share this experience, so I call my friends up and we enjoy the view together and take photos. And the next evening we invite a few more friends for a simple sunset socially distanced gathering. We play guitar as the night covers the city and it all feels like a beautiful film, perhaps titled ‘the start of summer in Vanadzor’. 

A few days later I am pulled out of my apartment building by my desperate-to-pee dog Cosmo and immediately hear my name called from behind me. I turn my head and see Seran with his grandson and head over to them. Seran has a more serious look on his face and starts gently telling me off for having taken so many people up to the roof. He is speaking Armenian but everything is quite clear from his tone. I quickly become deeply apologetic and start expressing my regret for causing any disturbance. The interaction didn’t drag on but ended on an uncomfortable note and promise to only go to the roof alone. Seran accepts my apologies swiftly and lets me keep the key for which I am relieved. 

A few days passed and am still feeling uneasy and desperately hopeful that I haven’t completely lost good graces. There is construction in my house because of leaky water pipe (the second apartment I live in in Vanadzor with the exact same problem), neighbors have been filing in and out all morning angrily complaining of the noise and lack of water. Thankfully I do not need to communicate with them and the remont guys take care of it but I am stressed none the less mostly because they are trashing my apartment. My phone buzzes I see it’s Seran calling and I immediately tense up hoping this conversation won’t be one of more stress. Seran asks me if the guys are still working and when the water will be back on, I gently inform him and he ends the call with ‘lav aziz jan’ and everything is right back in its place. 


Sashka Avanyan

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