Thursday, February 18, 2010

Armenia, Fire Jumping, and Vodka (in that order)

****See Update below****

I'm a little delayed in wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day.  The reason?  I have been recovering from some over-zealous-fire-jumping in the Armenian tradition.  You see, on the evening of February 13th, I participated in Trndez in the capital city of Yerevan.  I was told that this pre-Christian, pagan, ceremony was intended to rid evil spirits and bring more love into one's life.  Who couldn't use a little more love? 

What I failed to consider before taking the leap: 1) the fire was a very LARGE bonfire and 2) I was wearing high-heels.  (This is a cautionary tale for those who are considering trying this at home.)  Although I was told that the leap was "done with style and grace," the fall was substantial.  Thankfully I made it OVER the actual fire (i.e., did not set myself on fire), but landed on the concrete with multiple body parts.  The result?  Severe abrasions to both hands, both legs, one arm, and a sprained finger.  As one friend commented, "I expect this to bring extraordinary luck to you." Please let it be true!

While I do not have a photo of the actual event to share, I can share the aftermath.

Let's just say that I went to five pharmacies in order to find something to wrap my sprained finger in.  In store number 5, I met with pseudo-success through the combined efforts of 3 sales clerks and four customers.  By pseudo, I mean that I was able to get "something" to wrap my finger in - apparently the swelling did not give away what the problem was in the absence of language capability on my part.

Next I saw a local medical professional to ensure that my finger was in fact not broken.  The prescribed remedy?

Hint: It was not the walnuts, almonds, apples, or persimmons.  I was in so much pain that I followed the advice - wrapping my finger in vodka-soaked cotton and tied in a plastic bag over night.  It actually seemed to help.  Now, if only I could bend my knees!

The good news:  20 people tried their best to stitch me back together again in person. 
-7 pharmacists
-5 customers
-4 hotel workers
-3 friends
-1 medical professional

Another group wished me a speedy recovery through emails, Skype calls, and healing vibes from the Universe.  Sometimes that counts even more - especially when you are in a land far, far away.

I guess love and "extraordinary luck" are mine already.  Thanks to all. You know who you are.

Here is what happened when I re-entered the United States:

Stern-looking official:  What happened to your finger?
Me:  I was fire jumping.
Him:   Stern look.
Me:  In Armenia.
Him:  Stern look.
Me:  I fell.
Him:  Stern look.
Me:  It was part of a pre-Christian, pagan ceremony to bring love into one's life.
Him:  (LAUGHING!!!!) YOU COULD NOT MAKE THAT UP! (I mean, he REALLY LAUGHED...doubled over from LAUGHING actually.)

I laughed too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Germany: Weather and Reminders

1 Blizzard ("Snowmageddon").

1 case of thick fog.

2 days worth of cancelled flights.

1 taxi shared with 3 other strangers (due to shortage of people willing to drive on the roads!).

Arriving home safely: Priceless.

The upside:

2 extra days in Germany to appreciate:

Good friends.

Good food.

Good health.

...and take time to consider more closely...

the reminders that are everywhere.