Spending a Unique January Christmas in a Soviet Country

It was late at night around 11 pm when some of my hostel friends decided to celebrate the Armenian Christmas, which falls on January 6th. I was on vacation for a week to have a temporary escape from the horrible stress I’ve been through in Dubai. and Armenia was the nearest country I can go to that has snow during these months. One of our Iranian friend bought a Russian vodka and some chips for a little “toast” to celebrate new friendship and unity of all races. We were 7 nationalities there all traveling to get away with reality for the time being. Me the Filipino, 4 Indian guys, Arash the Iranian, Tine from Germany, Taiji Notsu from Japan, Katerina from Russia and Abaven, the Armenian guy who wanted to stay at a hostel just because he wants to interact with travelers from different countries (and at the same time get away from his possessive girlfriend)

These Indian guys love to munch onions, which explains the ones on the photo but we have chips and chocolates paired with this amazing bottle of Armenian/Russian vodka My opinion with this vodka is that I’d probably pass out after 5 shots . It tasted awfully strong and burns your throat that I had to contain myself from throwing up I don’t usually drink vodka without anything mixed to it, but these guys are pretty cool about not having any type of mixers or chasers. might as well go with it and use chocolates instead to chase away the ugly after taste. 2 shots is enough for me since we’re still going to that street party happening at the Republic Square. But the highlight of this drinking session were the interesting topics and conversations thrown around , each contributing our travel experiences and sharing cultural differences. I was closest to Taiji and Arash compared to the others there. Tine was actually busy and not around most of the time because she performs fire dancing with her group during the day, so I mostly hang out with these guys during daytime. Katerina doesn’t speak English well and connecting with her on a friendship level was quite challenging that it would require a Google translate on each conversations. As for the Indian guys they were kind of tight and keep to themselves (like some Filipinos who doesn’t mingle with foreigners) and only join us during lunch or dinner, but they were nice to me and all added me on Facebook lol. Good thing Arash had the initiative to encourage everyone to gather and celebrate Christmas breaking all barriers. We finished drinking around 12:30 am and afterwards went to the street party at the Republic Square. It was a totally crazy night that we went home at the hostel around 4 am already!

Arash and me and I look so haggard here.
Our friendship bracelet. Yup. It’s a scrunchie lol
Taiji and I hit it off instantly, maybe because we both have that “live in the moment” attitude

The party ended at 3 am but we still feel like sticking around in the area so off we went to this bar which I forgot the name, had a few Kilikia beers and played a few Armenian games. Armenians are all friendly and pretty fun to be around especially the young ones and most of them knows how to speak English. One of the Indian guys recorded a video of us and I noticed a hole on my sweater, had no clue where it got ripped. Stupid things usually happens with women who get drunk, but not overly drunk to the point of amnesia.

See? I still looked sober.
I know I suck at taking photos!

Spending my days in Armenia usually consists of people-watching at Republic Square during afternoons and reading books while drinking Armenian coffee. The atmosphere pretty much compliments my mood that time, gloomy and happy and relaxed all rolled into one.

When it comes to the food in Armenia, I wasn’t a bit concerned about not having rice for lunch or dinner. I’m a sucker for pastries and breads so even if I stuff my mouth with Bagharj, Choreg and Lavash, I wouldn’t get tired of it even if I eat them everyday! Plus, I seldom eat rice while I was in Dubai I got used to having Paratha or Manakeesh for lunch and dinner or sometimes, I’ll only have Chicken Mandi if I feel like eating something with rice

Still trying to look chill
despite the freezing weather
My typical hostel life eating pastries and reading a book.
My German friend Tine, the fire dancer

I met a new bunch of people other than my awesome hostel crowd. I joined the Yerevan city tour and met Vako, this talented artist famous for his paintings in Yerevan, Maziar  and his friend from Iran and Charles from UK. For some reason, I get along well with other nationalities compared with my fellow Filipinos in Dubai maybe because some of them just don’t get my attitude. Filipinos are known to be sensitive and I am the type of person who actually speaks her mind when I don’t like something, whether you’get offended or not I don’t focking care. Some of the Filipinos I met there think differently of me and even asked why I was not living in Deira or Satwa and I told them well just because I don’t live in those areas doesn’t mean I’m better than anyone right? All Filipinos in Dubai all carry the shitty weak passport so it doesn’t really matter whether you live in Old Dubai or New Dubai. Just my 2 cents. it’s quite sad and I only have a few Filipino friends in Dubai who are more open minded when it comes to things. Those who lived to see other human beings and not stuck in this type of seafood mentality, stinky and selfish like those crabs stuck in a barrel trying to pull others down so no one can escape the shithole they’re in.

Maziar  and his friend, myself, Vako and Charles

Why is Armenian Christmas in January

According to the history of Christianity, Christmas is originally being celebrated on January 6th until the 4th Century. However, they changed it to December 25th in order to override the pagan celebration dedicated to the birth of the Sun. Russians celebrate their Christmas on January 7th, almost same since the Russian Orthodox Church uses the Gregorian calendar.

I have always preferred traveling alone because it’s a good opportunity to meet new people from different background and ethnicity. You become less judgmental and you start to hate the idea of racism. You learn so much about behaviors and how it differs based on the religion and culture they are accustomed to. Another factor is you also realize a lot of things you didn’t know about yourself. Like I used to be so scared of being alone in an unfamiliar place, but now, I am craving for it that it became so addicting, like if I don’t visit a country or a place I haven’t been to, I’d go completely nuts.

I don’t plan to travel the world like the others. I just want to do this because I know it pays a huge contribution for my self-growth.

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