By Christopher Atamian
Special to the Mirror-Spectator
Tired of being cooped up in your apartment or suburban home? Watched every “Will and Grace” and “CSI Miami” rerun? Made fudge brownies a dozen times and re-alphabetized your life? Even jogging outdoors can get a wee bit creepy when there’s no one else to run by or tip your proverbial hat to. So here are 20 suggestions for things to do during COVID-19 that will bring you closer to your inner Armenian:
- The hills are alive with the sound of music: learn a few Armenian folk songs. Brighten up isolation by practicing them in the shower. If you have a deep — or shrill-operatic voice, you may impress the neighbors:
Go to: www.armeniansongbook.com and www.haykakanmusic.com
- Be bookish. Read Abovian’s Verk Hayasdani (The Wounds of Armenia), the first novel ever written in Armenian:
If you are monolingual and don’t read Armenian, then try Rupen Janbazian’s wonderful translation of Andranik Tzarukian’s Letter From Yerevan:
- Learn to play the duduk. Practice outdoors on your balcony. You might as well be in the Armenian Highlands: Go to: http://www.minasovduduk.com/duduk-lessons/
- Boo! So what if Halloween if months away: make ghapama! You have to do something with all those nuts and dried fruit that you’ve squirreled away! Buy a pumpkin, hollow it out, fill it up. Simply delish. This guy does it with an Armenian-Australian accent: www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU7vtBK085E
- Gatta have some cake! What would isolation be without a few sweets? Indulge in some good old fashioned gatta: Go to: www.yummly.com/recipe/Armenian-Gata-with-Puff-Pastry-1848078
Wonder at the matchless beauty of Paradjanov’s “The Color of Pomegranates.”
- Enter the eerie world of our favorite Canadian filmmaker and hold your own Atom Egoyan film festival: Go to: www.imdb.com/name/nm0000382/
- He’s the Pride of Marseille. Discover a new director, the incomparable Robert Guédiguian: Visit https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0350168/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1 Guédiguian
- Be philanthropic. So what if you missed the annual Telethon? Help the homeland by making that late donation to The Armenia Fund: Go to: https://www.himnadram.org/en/donate
- Test your linguistic skills by taking an Armenian Language class at the AGBU’s Armenian Virtual College: Go to: www.avc-agbu.org
- Make a list of five things you love about being Armenian — share on line and have your social media buddies add on to it!
- Single and looking? Join an Armenian dating site and keep the flame alive. Virtual dating is all the rage! Visit https://hyesingles.com/
- Get some religion: listen to the Armenian liturgy and watch services on line, from the comfort of your living room. Go to: https://armenianchurch.us/
- Be a Patron of the Arts: find an Armenian artist that you really like and purchase a favorite work — here’s one! See www.lindaganjian.net
- Re-connect: pick an Armenian relative or friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while and communicate via phone or social media.
- Laughter is the best medicine: in Armenian watching Vahé Berberian in Armenian and Lori Tatoulian in English on You Tube: Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_74PBm-1q8or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEzok96_kUM
- Camp it up. Host a Virtual Karaoke Night, Armo style: Charles Aznavour, Cher, Rosy Armen — pick your favorite Armenian singers and record you and your buddies, virtual Karaoke style.
- Try your hand at writing: compose a text in Armenia or a story in English with an Armenian theme. Send it to a few magazines and voilà — you may soon be a published author!
- And last but not least, sit the family down for a peaceful shish kebab dinner: have a fine Areniwine, complain a lot and make someone feel guilty. Make sure you interject a few amans, oofs and djanigs! Start Again. Have fun!