Saturday, April 28, 2012

Well, spring has finally sprung up in Armenia.  All of the trees are blossoming, apricot trees are everywhere and since Armenia is known for their hugh delicious apricots, we can hardly wait to try them.  They say they are as big as a large apple and they even eat them when they are still green and say they are even delicious like that too!  The green is coming up, the birds are out chirping and even the rats have come out of their hiding.  Yes, no kidding, we were walking to work the other day and there was a biggie rat strolling along the brick border about four feet away from us.  We thought it was some small animal and so we edged up closer and sure enough it was a big rat.  Actually, Mr. and Mrs. - they were looking for food or something.

Since we have been here (in the dead of winter), we just saw the dark and dreary so it will be nice to see how it looks here in the summer.  The lettuce and other fruits and vegetables are starting to show up (food that is probably grown inside) but I am so hungry for fruits and vegetables.  All we have had is carrots and cabbage and beets.  I found some green beans in a jar the other day that tasted really good.  I was happy about that because they don't have green beans growing here in the summer as we know them.  In the stores, they don't always have the same things each time you go so I am hoping to find these again.

I will share with you an experience I had the other day:
I love jam to go on my toast and I saw a very attractive jar of sour cherry.  I like the sour cherry fruit drinks they have over here, so I thought I would try this jar of jam.  Here is a picture:

Nobody told me you have to look at the label and make sure it says "pitted" on it!  That's right folks, it had pits still in the cherries!  Ever tried eating jam while trying to spit out the pits?  Not fun.  So, what did I do?  See below:  

                                                                                                                 The jam has now become syrup for ice cream or pancakes!

Below you see a lady that comes out to the street every Wednesday and sells Tan.  She puts it in a bottle for you and you buy it from her.  It is like Yogurt with salt.  It is described like buttermilk and very salty.  Armenian's say it is suppose to be good for your health.

This week is a very special time of the year for Armenians.  On April 24, it was the Day of Remembrance of the 1915 Armenian Genocide Victims.   The people here are very passionate about what happened and the strong feelings they have for their ancestors' sufferings and how the world reacts to it.

Below is the flame in the middle of the circular memorial.  This is how it looks throughout the year.  This was winter time.  See a few white carnations on the ground?

This is how it looks on April 24th.  There are so many thousands of carnations that you cannot see the flame!

Here is another picture.

The following are pictures from the local news showing different people commemorating this big event:

 Above they are in Armenian costumes.  

Below is a survivor of the genocide times.  Doesn't she look sweet?

This was a terrible time in their past. 

We wanted to share with you what Easter was like here:
We were invited to eat at two places.  One was our Branch President and his wife's house:

Below is part of the table spread.  The lacy bread is called Lavash.  It opens up like a sheet and you roll up meat, vegetables or whatever in it and eat it.

Below is traditional easter eggs.  They are red eggs and there is a story behind that.  (They are red by boiling the skins of red onions and then cook the eggs in that water which turns the eggs a dark burgandy color).  The red symbolizes the blood of Christ which was shed for us. The egg symbolizes the start of a new life for us because of Christ, just as new life emerges from an egg when the chick hatches.  
One story here is  that eggs were put out by Calgary and the blood of Christ spilled on the eggs and turned them red.


They also like to color eggs as can be seen on the table of the second family that we ate with, which was on Monday, the day after Easter.  It is also a holiday here in Armenia.  They call it resurrection day and they visit the cemeteries for those who have died, and put flowers on the their loved ones graves.  That is a great tradition!

Below you can see the salad and a plate of greens ie. radishes, thyme leaves, long stemmed green onions and cilantro.  You put that on your lavash along with an egg and roll it up and eat it.
They like to play a game - you pick up an egg and with the person next to you, you hit eggs together on the pointy end and see whose egg cracks and whose does not.  The winner goes to another person to see if they can keep their egg from cracking!

 Below is a rice dish.  The rice had in it currants, yellow and raisins and walnut pieces, and small green grapes.  It was delicious!!  It is also a traditional dish at Easter time.  Story - all of the rice represented all of the people of the world and the rest of the pieces (raisins, walnuts, grapes etc) represented all of the believers of Christ.
 They don't eat meat at Easter, but they do fish.  This is boiled fish below:

 I need to find out what this was. It may not look very good, but it was very good but I don't know the name:  It looked like spinach and had scrambled eggs in it.  It was either boiled or steamed.  You can put matsum on top.

A very sad thing happened this past week that has caused us to feel deep sorrow.  A couple that we have been able to teach with the missionaries for many months had a tragic thing happen to them.  Their son was killed while in the army.   Here all young men serve in the army for about two years.  He was about to come home.  The father was baptized recently, and the mother is getting close to her date.  To watch the grief that they feel has been very hard for us to see.  We love them very much.  The father has been able to reach down to the core of his heart and rely on the plan of salvation with an understanding that has strengthened him.  He has been reading the Book of Mormon that he truly loves and says that it has really helped him.

We shared with him (in his own language) some talks by President Monson on the resurrection and what it means for us as individuals and families and especially for those who need to understand the atonement to get through the great loss that losing a loved one can be.  

We are so grateful for the gospel that has come into their lives to help them through the struggles and heartache that they are experiencing.  We know that the Lord is blessing them.  The Holy Ghost has another name which is the Comforter and through their ordeal we learn just why.

We love our time spent here.  We especially love missionary work because we get a chance to share with others just how much the gospel means to us, why keeping the commandments is vital to our happiness and just how much a loving Heavenly Father can assist us in doing His work among his children here in this land.

We love each of you and appreciate all the support that you are giving us.
Elder & Sister Eyre

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