Thursday, September 09, 2004

Hello, Los Angeles

I prepared myself for leaving the Armenian Patriarchate and the Holy City, my last full day being Monday, September 6. Coming to Jerusalem, saying goodbye to my family 30 days ago, was hard enough. Ending my stay in the St. James Convent has proven equally difficult. Yet, when I arrived at LAX and saw the smiling face of Khachig, waiting for me, I realized how happy I was to be home.

This trip was extraordinary, not just because this is such a special place. There is so much to do here, and so few people to do it. As many times as I have come (16 so far), I always feel fulfilled and eager to return. I am blessed by the fact that I am now considered a part of the community, and my work is much appreciated.

One interesting thing is that the entire time I was in Jerusalem (28 days), I did not dream. Could it be that this opportunity is the realization of a dream?

Now it's time to focus on tasks at hand--the visit of the Tajiki Teachers to UCLA (Sept.15-30); the beginning of the Fall Quarter 2004(Sept.29), the deadline for the Fulbright application (Oct.1); my PhD Qualifying Written Exam (Oct.18-22); the opening of the Diocesan Library (Oct.27); the conference on Armenians in Jerusalem and the Holy Land (Nov.6-7); and maybe returning to Jerusalem in mid-November to the end of the year.

Who said I was "retired?"

Friday, September 03, 2004

Au Revoir, Jerusalem

This will be my last Saturday in the Holy City and the St. James Monastery, bringing to a close this month-long visit to the Armenian Patriarchate. During this past month, I have accomplished more than I expected. The environment, definitely conducive to total concentration and focus, has enabled me to move my PhD research forward. But I've only barely skimmed the surface. I have only three more days to complete reports, duplicate documents, and pack my suitcases. I look forward to returning home, but I will definitely leave a part of myself here. I will be back, and soon.

That's why I say "au revoir, hasta la vista, ts-tesutiun," rather than just plain so long.