This Fall is Different… or Alice in AutumnLAND

Let this not sound like a school composition “Autumn” to you… I am really eager to write about how this fall feels to me…

Though it’s already the middle of October, my heart welcomed the fall only today… Looking out of the window I started to admire the colors of the nature… the freshness and humidity of the air… I loved it! After the summer heat and dryness this fall seems like a blessing to me…

This fall is so different for me… This is the first fall I feel so full from inside… This is the first fall that makes me feel joy instead of melancholy… This is the first fall that gives me energy instead of boredom…

This fall is different… It makes me enjoy the dirty city I live in… Enjoy the company of the people surrounding me… Enjoy the rains that ruin my plans… Enjoy the short days and long nights… Enjoy the feeling of love… Yes, this fall is different…

They say spring is the time for renaissance… this fall feels like spring to me… They say summer is the light-hearted season… this fall seems like summer to me… They say winter is the holiday season…this fall seems like a holiday to me…

This fall is different… It’s not like the previous one…

This fall is different… I make it different… You make it different…


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Back to University or Alice in the LadyLAND

Yesterday was a very special day for me. I was in an Armenian university (let me avoid mentioning its name) as a student after a year of break. It was a kinda pleasant feeling to be a student again. But I was not insured from stresses and shocks.

Unfortunately I am one of the numerous linguists that have the fate to study among girls throughout all their student lives. I wonder why this specialty is preferred solely among the female sex… Well…that’s another topic of conversation…

Studying among girls is not just being surrounded by female students. It’s a torturing living among various perfumes, lipsticks, eye-shadows, high-heels, nail polishes, artificial hair, lingerie and boyfriend talks… a hell created by ladies in other words…

After spending an hour as a student at the Lady-Hell, I felt my head go round and my eyes hurt. Later the doctor told me I had managed to develop a lady-hell syndrome, which is also called cosmetic overdose.

What was most terrible among all the fancy dresses and red carpet makeup was the Fake Burberry worship. Each student had at least one accessory that had the Burberry checkered fabric. Sometimes I happened to see girls that had only one or two elements of a NON-BURBERRY fabric in their outfits. But the thing that finally struck me to death was the Burberry checkered napkin box on the dean-helper’s desk. “Dear me,” I thought, “I need a piece of this damn fabric to survive in this Burberry-oriented world”.

While thinking where to get the must-wear fabric from, I saw two girls going down the stairs. The caring friend was holding the other’s hand to support her in the extreme activity of walking down the stairs on the heels of about 20 centimeters. “But why?”, I thought? “Why do these girls choose to undergo such difficulties?”

This was the part of the pre-lesson shock. I also managed to have some in-class shakes. When we entered the auditorium, all the girls took out BIG notebooks from their TINIEST bags. I couldn’t believe my eyes. HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO DO SO??? Later I was told that it demanded years of experience, and which is more crucial, a strong wish. I also tried to strongly wish to put my notebook in my bag, but hurt my finger instead 🙂

Let me avoid the detailed talks about in-class make-up, in class-mirror time, in class-hair refreshing and in-class nail polishing. As I understood later, such things were inseparable from the lecture procedure.

Such are my first impressions about the Lady-Hell. That place gave me a possibility to laugh, cry, get angry, get surprised, feel isolated and feel proud, be ashamed and be indifferent. It also gave me possibility to represent you the “mysterious” world of the “mysterious misses”.

P.S. Don’t take everything too seriously but don’t forget that the post is based on real facts 😉


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Business Etiquette Tips for Your Success or YOU in the OFFICELAND

In order to avoid strict professional definitions concerning the concept of business etiquette, let us just say that business etiquette is the way we behave ourselves at the office among our co-workers. Business etiquette is the way we dress, we walk, we speak, we eat, we smile and we use our body language.

Business etiquette is a rare topic of conversation in Armenia. We often treat our colleagues like we treat our relatives, sometimes by being rude or, what is worse, being too friendly with them :). Very often we explain our behavior as natural and criticize the western countries for their “unnatural” behavior. STOP! Let us try to follow the business etiquette rules and stay natural simultaneously.

Here are some business etiquette tips that can be very helpful:

1.    Appearance

Remember that people make their first impression judging from your appearance, especially your outfit. The ones dressed in ironed shirts will always be treated with more respect and care. Try not to appear at the office dressed as if you are going to the beach or to a party. As for women, they shouldn’t wear aggressive makeup and wear too much jewelery. The office is not a place to show off. You should first feel comfortable in your outfit and should not be in the center of everyone’s attention.

2.    Gestures

The body language can be of highest importance at the workplace. Don’t overuse your hands and facial muscles while talking to your colleagues, to your boss or while making an important presentation. Even if you’re nervous and uncomfortable don’t show it to everyone. You should be treated with more respect and trust if you make impression of a confident man. For instance if you put your hands in your pockets and frown every single moment, you will make an impression of an unconfident man in front of the listeners.

3.    Punctuality

If you’re early, you’re on time, if you’re on time, you’re late. This really is true about the working etiquette. If you’ve got a meeting, be in place 3 minutes earlier. However, don’t be 15 minutes earlier. That’s not to the point either. When you’re working in a team and there’s mutual dependency among the team members, always be on time. Remember, you are a team player, don’t ruin others’ schedule.

4.    Speech etiquette

While you’re making a discussion over an issue, try never to speak too much. Your colleagues may also have some opinions on the point. Always listen to all of them before making a final decision. Even if you think that the other’s suggestion is useless, never be rude and bring valuable arguments to prove him the opposite.

5.    E-mail etiquette

While writing official e-mails stay official and to the point. Follow the e-mail writing rules. The receiver should not spend all his working time on trying to understand the issues you touched in the e-mail. Be simple, be short, be polite!

6.    Privacy

Keep your private affairs private. Don’t make them public. Don’t make all the conversations a topic of discussion for all the office members. Don’t discuss all the promises and hopes with everyone around. We are friendly and open nation, but we also should learn the business etiquette norms that are accepted in all the developed countries.

7.    LISTEN

LISTEN!!! No matter you are talking to your boss or to your employee always listen to the end before claiming your points. Remember, you are not the one that have great ideas.

8.    Never OVERCommunicate

While at the office, remember that you’re here for working and not having pleasant conversations with everyone around. Communicating to the colleagues is great, but never cross the line. Frankly, no one is interested in your personal affairs. Don’t bore your colleagues. Friendly talks are always needed and pleasant but know where to stop. You spend most of your day with your colleagues, it’s so easy to annoy them 🙂

9.    Eating manners

We spend a great deal of time at the office and sometimes the lunch we have in the day is not enough for us. So we sometimes eat sitting right at our desks. That’s a normal and accepted thing in the offices. However, never forget that you are surrounded with many people who are working. Never eat smelly and noisy things in the room. Don’t annoy your colleagues. Besides, be extremely neat while eating at the desk. Your desk is your working area and not your kitchen table. If you can keep the office eating etiquette then BON APPETIT 😉

10.    Respect other’s  cultures

In this century of globalizations we deal with so many people representing various cultures. Be attentive. Don’t hurt them. If you’re working at the office where there are people of different nationalities, get to know to their cultures not to make wrong steps. Sometimes you might do your best to please your colleague from other country and have the very opposite affect as a result. For instance, you might talk to your Armenian colleague keeping the distance of a meter, but while dealing with your German colleague don’t go too close, don’t enter his personal area. So, respect your colleague’s culture. Don’t make him Armenian, make him comfortable, instead:)

Following all the above mentioned points is of crucial importance. If you are a good specialist in your sphere but you don’t have a business etiquette elaborated for yourself, you decrease your chances of success to 50 percent.

The office is the place we spend most of our time! Let us make these hours pleasant and productive!

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George and Me in Zooooooland!

to Georgi

The other day George and me had visited the Armenian zoo. It was a real adventure both for us and the animals 🙂

We bought tickets and entered the zoo area. We walked…..walked…..walked…..and walked a little more and were about to think that the zoo was desolate when some “nose caressing” muck smell greeted us warmly.

“We’re on the right way”,- assured George, and we continued our journey following the smell not to lose our way.

After a several-minute walk we finally found the animal cages. The first animals we saw were brown bears. There were four of them and they all looked very kind. I think it was one family with two parents and two kids. The kids were playing with each other, while the parents were looking at us with bored and tired eyes, as if saying: “Hey, why are you looking at us with such stupid smiles? We are bears, ordinary bears, nothing more”. So, hurt and totally ignored, we left the bears and went on to the next cage.

The next cage was populated with swans. They also didn’t show any interest towards our persons. Wanting to somehow have their attention we bought cookies and started to feed them. Suddenly all the swans swam to us and raised their long nice necks for a piece of cookie. Let me add that all the cages in the zoo had “DO NOT FEED” notices. However, when we asked the cookie seller whether we were allowed to feed them or not she said “Of course, you are allowed, my friends”. So we decided that the word of the seller was more powerful than some big notes in big red letters.

The next cage was the habitat of two huge angry tigers. They were very beautiful (as for George). For me it was hard to notice their beauty through all the dirt on them. They looked tired and extremely bored to me. Maybe they had even forgotten that they were tigers. Yes, the conditions had obviously killed the tiger instincts in these animals leaving solely the cat part in them.

Then we approached the area where the camels were living and intensively spitting. As for us, they were the funniest animals of the zoo. Their indifferent silly looks made us really happy. We did absolutely everything to drive them mad by imitating their spitting manners and making silly sounds. One of them really got angry and was about to spit on us, but we managed to run away laughing like two elvish children, having just done some devilry.

So, already in high spirits, we went to see the lions and spent the most part of our time in their company. The reason of our long visit was George’s decision of having a heart to heart conversation with the latters. Besides, he was not determined to leave the area until he witnessed a lion roar. Let me tell you that it’s not an easy thing to force a tired, sleepy and stubborn lion roar. However, the poor lion was unaware that we were even more stubborn. George started with pleasant compliments towards the wild creature asking him to show his teeth, afterwards, several minutes of “george-roar” followed, then he passed on to Mesrop Mashtots by reproducing the Armenian alphabet several times to find out on which sound the lion reacted. Mesrop Mashtots was also unhelpful in this. Then he again turned to “george-roar” method. This time I supported him with “alisa-cry-roar-laugh” sounds. I did my best to make the damn lion roar, and not because I wanted so much to see it, I was just eager to leave the lion zone:) In the end we decided to turn to the last possible variant of making the lions furious. We went several meters away from the cage, thoroughly concentrated and ran to them as fast as we could with all possible “george-alisa-roar-cry-shout-laugh” sounds. And what do you think??? One of the lions ROARED!!! YES! We did it!!! We won!!!

Very happy and satisfied with our victory against the king of the animals we then visited the fox, the scared and delicate deer, the ugly hyena, the funny raccoon, the pony horses, the sleeping Amazon crocodile, the lynx, the pride white tiger, the amazing peacocks, that didn’t even deign to open their tails even after a good portion of cookies, and the cage of the elephant. The elephant was already asleep, so we could just enjoy the elephant pictures on its habitat walls.

We didn’t have chance to see the rest of the animals, as some of them were already asleep and some others were inside the closed lodges because of the chilly and rainy weather.

P.S. I have done my best to introduce everything with humor, but, frankly speaking, it’s not funny at all. You should have seen the states of the poor animals. They shouldn’t be treated so inhumanly. They should be cleaned and fed properly and have bigger territories for living. If we want our children to go to the zoo and get to know to various animals we should make the best for these creatures. If our country is incapable of that, let us just manage without any zoo.


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CHARLES CHAPLIN’S Letter to his Daughter Geraldine

Merry Christmas to all of you! In this holy day I want you to read Charles Chaplin’s letter to her daughter Geraldine, which he had written on Christmas Day. There’s sooo much wisdom in this letter, so much purity and soo much love…

I couldn’t find a good translated English version, so I am sharing it in Russian.

Девочка моя!
Сейчас ночь. Рождественская ночь. Все вооруженные воины моей маленькой крепости уснули. Спят твой брат, твоя сестра. Даже твоя мать уже спит. Я чуть не разбудил уснувших птенцов, добираясь до этой полуосвещенной комнаты.
Как далеко ты от меня! Но пусть я ослепну, если твой образ не стоит всегда перед моими глазами. Твой портрет – здесь на столе, и здесь, возле моего сердца. А где ты? Там, в сказочном Париже, танцуешь на величественной театральной сцене на Елисейских полях. Я хорошо знаю это, и все же мне кажется, что в ночной тишине я слышу твои шаги, вижу твои глаза, которые блестят, словно звезды на зимнем небе. Я слышу, что ты исполняешь в этом праздничном и светлом спектакле роль персидской красавицы, плененной татарским ханом. Будь красавицей и танцуй! Будь звездой и сияй! Но если восторги и благодарность публики тебя опьянят, если аромат преподнесенных цветов закружит тебе голову, то сядь в уголочек и прочитай мое письмо, прислушайся к голосу своего сердца.
Я твой отец, Джеральдина!
Я Чарли, Чарли Чаплин!
Знаешь ли ты, сколько ночей я просиживал у твоей кроватки, когда ты была совсем малышкой, рассказывая тебе сказки о спящей красавице, о недремлющем драконе? А когда сон смежал мои старческие глаза, я насмехался над ним и говорил: «Уходи! Мой сон – это мечты моей дочки!» Я видел твои мечты, Джеральдина, видел твое будущее, твой сегодняшний день. Я видел девушку, танцующую на сцене, фею, скользящую по небу. Слышал, как публике говорили: «Видите эту девушку? Она дочь старого шута. Помните, его звали Чарли?»
Да, я Чарли! Я старый шут!
Сегодня твой черед. Танцуй! Я танцевал в широких рваных штанах, а ты танцуешь в шелковом наряде принцессы. Эти танцы и гром аплодисментов порой будут возносить тебя на небеса. Лети! Лети туда! Но спускайся и на землю! Ты должна видеть жизнь людей, жизнь тех уличных танцовщиков, которые пляшут, дрожа от холода и голода. Я был таким, как они, Джеральдина. В те ночи, в те волшебные ночи, когда ты засыпала, убаюканная моими сказками, я бодрствовал. Я смотрел на твое личико, слушал удары твоего сердечка и спрашивал себя: «Чарли, неужели этот котенок когда-нибудь узнает тебя?» Ты не знаешь меня, Джеральдина… Множество сказок рассказывал я тебе в те далекие ночи, но свою сказку – никогда. А она тоже интересна. Это сказка про голодного шута, который пел и танцевал в бедных кварталах Лондона, а потом… собирал милостыню… Вот она, моя сказка! Я познал, что такое голод, что такое не иметь крыши над головой. Больше того, я испытал унизительную боль скитальца-шута, в груди которого бушевал целый океан гордости, и эту гордость больно ранили бросаемые монеты. И все же я жив, так что оставим это.
Лучше поговорим о тебе.
После твоего имени – Джеральдина – следует моя фамилия – Чаплин. С этой фамилией более сорока лет я смешил людей на земле. Но плакал я больше, нежели они смеялись. Джеральдина, в мире, в котором ты живешь, существуют не одни только танцы и музыка!
В полночь, когда ты выходишь из огромного зала, ты можешь забыть богатых поклонников, но не забывай спросить у шофера такси, который повезет тебя домой, о его жене. И если она беременна, если у них нет денег на пеленки для будущего ребенка, положи деньги ему в карман. Я распорядился, чтобы в банке оплачивали эти твои расходы. Но всем другим плати строго по счету. Время от времени езди в метро или на автобусе, ходи пешком и осматривай город. Приглядывайся к людям! Смотри на вдов и сирот! И хотя бы один раз в день говори себе: «Я такая же, как они».
Да, ты одна из них, девочка! Более того. Искусство, прежде чем дать человеку крылья, чтобы он мог взлететь ввысь, обычно ломает ему ноги. И если наступит день, когда ты почувствуешь себя выше публики, сразу же бросай сцену. На первом же такси поезжай в окрестности Парижа. Я знаю их очень хорошо! Там ты увидишь много танцовщиц вроде тебя, даже красивее, грациознее, с большей гордостью. Ослепительного света прожекторов твоего театра там не будет и в помине. Прожектор для них – Луна. Вглядись хорошенько, вглядись! Не танцуют ли они лучше тебя? Признайся, моя девочка! Всегда найдется такой, кто танцует лучше тебя, кто играет лучше тебя! И помни: в семье Чарли не было такого грубияна, который обругал бы извозчика или надсмеялся над нищим, сидящим на берегу Сены…
Я умру, но ты будешь жить… Я хочу, чтобы ты никогда не знала бедности. С этим письмом посылаю тебе чековую книжку, чтобы ты могла тратить сколько пожелаешь. Но когда истратишь два франка, не забудь напомнить себе, что третья монета – не твоя. Она должна принадлежать незнакомому человеку, который в ней нуждается. А такого ты легко сможешь найти. Стоит только захотеть увидеть этих незнакомых бедняков, и ты встретишь их повсюду. Я говорю с тобой о деньгах, ибо познал их дьявольскую силу.
Я немало провел времени в цирке. И всегда очень волновался за канатоходцев. Но должен сказать тебе, что люди чаще падают на твердой земле, чем канатоходцы с ненадежного каната. Может быть, в один из званых вечеров тебя ослепит блеск какого-нибудь бриллианта. В этот же момент он станет для тебя опасным канатом, и падение для тебя неминуемо. Может быть, в один прекрасный день тебя пленит прекрасное лицо какого-нибудь принца. В этот же день ты станешь неопытным канатоходцем, а неопытные падают всегда. Не продавай своего сердца за золото и драгоценности. Знай, что самый огромный бриллиант – это солнце. К счастью, оно сверкает для всех.
А когда придет время, и ты полюбишь, то люби этого человека всем сердцем. Я сказал твоей матери, чтобы она написала тебе об этом. Она понимает в любви больше меня, и ей лучше самой поговорить с тобой об этом.
Работа у тебя трудная, я это знаю. Твое тело прикрыто лишь куском шелка. Ради искусства можно появиться на сцене и обнаженным, но вернуться оттуда надо не только одетым, но и более чистым.
Я стар, и может быть, мои слова звучат смешно. Но, по-моему, твое обнаженное тело должно принадлежать тому, кто полюбит твою обнаженную душу. Не страшно, если твое мнение по этому вопросу десятилетней давности, то есть принадлежит уходящему времени. Не бойся, эти десять лет не состарят тебя. Но как бы то ни было, я хочу, чтобы ты была последним человеком из тех, кто станет подданным острова голых.
Я знаю, что отцы и дети ведут между собой вечный поединок. Воюй со мной, с моими мыслями, моя девочка! Я не люблю покорных детей. И пока из моих глаз не потекли слезы на это письмо, я хочу верить, что сегодняшняя рождественская ночь – ночь чудес. Мне хочется, чтобы произошло чудо, и ты действительно все поняла, что я хотел тебе сказать.
Чарли уже постарел, Джеральдина. Рано или поздно вместо белого платья для сцены тебе придется надеть траур, чтобы прийти к моей могиле. Сейчас я не хочу расстраивать тебя. Только время от времени всматривайся в зеркало – там ты увидишь мои черты. В твоих жилах течет моя кровь. Даже тогда, когда кровь в моих жилах остынет, я хочу, чтобы ты не забыла своего отца Чарли. Я не был ангелом, но всегда стремился быть человеком. Постарайся и ты.

Целую тебя, Джеральдина.
Твой Чарли.
Декабрь 1965 г.

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Talking to Snow or Alice in SnowLAND

Snow, please, come….  You’re so beautiful, so innocent, so calm, so white… I look at you and smile. You are just like a newborn baby: clear, angelic and beloved.  You feel my soul with calmness and joy. I look at you and feel so full. Your flakes fill my heart with a white symphony. Your look makes me want to live, just live…

Come snow!!! You come to save this dirty world, to cover its dust and rubbish, to fill our hearts with joy and pleasure, to inspire us, to give us hope, to make us better, kinder…

Hey snow, I look at you and think “You’re just like us, human beings”… You are white, clean, pure when new…Then your cleanness goes away, they spoil you, walk on you with dirty and muddy shoes, play with you, get tired of you, speak badly…In course of time you change your color, get dirty, lose the beauty you once owed. You melt in places… and freeze sometimes…They forget about you when it’s warm, miss u when it’s gloomy… Children always welcome you warmly. The child always feels the innocence…

Snow, you’re so alike to us…You come from the sky and return there… Snow, you’re too alike to us… Every time coming to the Earth you’re again white, clean, kind and sinless, just like a newborn baby…

Snow, please, come….

P.S. Let it snow…


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Christmas Sales May Kill or Alice in SalesLAND

And again hi! In only a few days my nation is going to welcome the new coming year and celebrate the holy Christmas. I am rather excited with the coming holidays and celebrations. However, I could have hardly noticed the depression of my nation if I didn’t find myself in the city in the middle of the day the other day.

Well, it’s a tradition in each and every country to announce great sales before holidays. Fortunately, Armenia is not an exception. When I learnt that one of my favorite shops had announced 50% discount me and my friend decided to visit it to buy some stuff for me and some presents for my family. And sooo….

We were standing in front of the clothing store. Everything seemed all right. So we took a deeeep breath and entered. I had hardly managed to make a single step when I very unexpectedly felt a sharp pain in my toe. I looked around to “thank” the causer of my pain but surely I didn’t find her.  Then I took another tiny step, already not as confident as my first one. Nonetheless, in spite of my carefulness and attention my other foot became a victim of a very rough heel.

“Hey, please, be more careful!”,- I cried out. However, it wasn’t heard by anyone, as everyone else in the shop was shouting and laughing and making as much noise as possible.

“If you really want to acquire some cheap stuff, you have to bear this”,- I thought and made my way to the shelf that was surrounded with dangerous crowd. You should have seen the shine in the girls’ eyes. They were like hunters having just seen a deer.

After a few hittings on every possible part of my body I saw a dress I rather liked. I reached it with indescribable efforts and finally grabbed it. On my way to the dress room I got several more wounds with wooden and iron hangers. After an hour of suffering and standing in the queue it was finally my turn to step in the desired environment of the dress room.

Obviously, something was wrong with the dress. Maybe it was wrongly sewed, so while trying it on it rolled up over my neck!!!! “Dear meeeee, am I going to die all alone in this gloomy and noisy dress room???” I thought. All the joyful moments of my life came to my mind, I remembered all the people I loved within a second. A DEFINITE BEHAVIOUR OF A HUMAN BEFORE DEATH!!! Then I decided to tear up the dress and save myself, but it was beyond my strength. I could hardly control my hysteria.

Fortunately my conscious was still alive to cry for help. “NAIRAAAA”, I roared, “I’m dying, please, help me!”.

Thanks God my friend was close to the dress room and heard my begging voice. She got so involved in the role of a saviour that she jumped over the mad crowd, passed the line of the dress room and found herself in front of my cubicle in half a second. When she pulled the curtain, instead of her friend she found a blue-faced, tousy-haired girl with a dress rolled up on her neck and with eyes full of tears. She immediately took out the damn cloth off my neck letting my lungs welcome the DESIRED air.

After that we returned the murderous dress to the store and ran out of it as fast as possible not even looking back.

When I came home, mommy asked me whether I had a good day. I just nodded with a slight mimic resembling a smile. I had no energy to talk or move any more facial muscles.

The moment I put my head on the pillow I fell asleep. The whole night I was enjoying every single breath I took. Now I know the price of breathing with no obstacles.

P.S. Take it easy NATION!!! Don’t let the Sales ruin your health!!!

(The story is based on real facts with some exaggerations:)))

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