Saturday, October 29, 2005

Life in Armenia

I am a friend of Josh’s here in Armenia , and am here on a fellowship as well. The memorial yesterday was wonderful, and I think that when you see the video, you will appreciate the love and admiration Josh commanded here. From the first day I met him, my first day in Armenia as well, I was struck by his sincerity, consideration, humour and kindness. Having just lost my father unexpectedly only weeks before, Josh was one of the few people who grasped the complexity of my being here, from the get—go, and yet remained unobtrusive about it. I often said I’d be lost without him here, as we commiserated and bonded over our daily challenges and upside surprises. I am lucky and grateful to have shared my time here with Josh, and don’t know that I would have stuck it out without such a wonderful friend by my side. From Sunday afternoon trips to the enormous Goum market to haggle over pornegranates and mandarin oranges (a combination introduced to me by Josh, and one loved by Shakari ( Josh’s dog) as well), to celebrating his birthday (in his inimitable way bringing together all nationalities of diplomats, students, aid workers, and more), to puppysitting, comparing our landlord tribulations, sharing peanut M&Ms during our movie nights, and meeting in the dark winter mornings to go to the gym, he was a constant and critical part of my life here, and I will miss him every day. I am still in shock, but wanted to let you know how loved Josh was, and is, by all of us here. I am lost without him now, and am just so sorry. He spoke often and fondly of you all, and how much he was looking forward to his time at home this summer. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. -- Amelia Weir

The cultural attaché of the French Embassy (Alexandre), Josh and I went to the South of Armenia (Tatev and Goris) . We spent a night there. It was on the 8th and 9th of May. It has been one of my best weekends in Armenia . I think Josh as well did really like it. While coming back, we met some Armenians on the top of a mountain, who were dancing and playing music. They offered us some vodka and we danced with them. Josh and I were supposed to meet a last time before he left to Iran, because I’ll go back to France on ‘the 2nd of June. We both were looking forward to coming back home. It’s difficult to find the words to explain how much I would like to help you. He was such a nice guy, we can’t understand what happened. I wish I had met him earlier and I knew him more. But, at least, I had the honor of meeting him and spending a few times with him. We will remember him and his unfailing smile always. -— Jonathan Robin

Let me tell you so far, that Josh was the one who brought light into our lives here. We had a lot of great times and moments together.He was a very important part of our group of friends here. Almost every day we met each other and talked about life and everything else or just had a good time together. Because we had our birthday on the same day (he was one year older than me) we even made our birthday party together in my house for all of our friends. We went out together with the little Shakarie and our dog “Eddy” for some walks. That was such a nice thing from him to take the poor little dog home from his trip to Georgia. He never thought about problems, he just tried to find a way, and always succeeded. The thing is, that every time when I think of him, he always seem to smile to me. He was such an optimist. – Daniel Klemp

Josh was such a lovely person, striving to live an interesting and challenging life by actively exploring the world and positively affecting the lives of others. Josh’s friends are my friends too: American, French, German, Armenian, Ecuadorian, Syrian, Iranian, whoever is positively socially inclined and instinctively friendly. Josh was so wonderful at wishing everybody, including me, welcome into his home here in Yerevan. Josh lived life the way it should be lived: open-eyed and open-hearted. – Tim Straight


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