This is part two from the my first post.
On mobile might need to scroll the pro-tip/anecdotes horizontally.
Once in Armenia you’ll need to get a feel for the prices and whatnot. You should need to spend at most 5,000 drams a day, that’s like $11.
PRO-TIP: $11 is a slice of pizza and beverage in San Francisco.
I can easily survive on just about 1,500 drams a day and I eat much better than I ever did in America.
Rent should be about at most $300 a month, which I think is quite fancy and in the city. I spent $250 a month last year during my first stay in Armenia in a very close to the center, Kentron, part of Yerevan, keep in mind that outside Kentron the prices are much cheaper.
You should also make an Armenian bank account, the Armenian financial system is surprisingly strong, although I suspect at the cost of massive government debt, and I like using AmeriaBank as they have a pretty good online banking experience and wire transfers from my American Chase account only take three days. The local branches are super-efficient and everyone knows Russian, probably English too.
More cultural observations
If you don’t know Armenian, then be prepared to answer why you don’t know Armenian. Everyone will ask why you don’t know.
PRO-TIP: Its a legitmate question, why don't you know Armenian?
Sign up for an Armenian class ASAP, I really recommend ArmScoop’s class
Armenian as a foreign language as its intensive, fast paced and immersive.
ANECDOTE: I was outside my Yerevan apartment last year and an older man started asking me something in Armenian. I replied in Russian that I didn't know Armenian yet, he then asks 'okay, well where is the local police station?'. I told him I didn't know that either, to which he said: "You don't know Armenian, you don't know where the police station is, what are you good for anyway?"...to which I told him I'm an American Armenian and I moved here. To that he replied, 'Ah well, good job son, you're a good person'.😄
You are in a different society
Society in general is quite a bit more conservative, but that doesn’t mean you can’t walk around with a Mohawk (at least in Yerevan you could)
you can’t get shit faced drunk and pee on the station as if it was NYC’s union square at 2am because the metro is closed after 11pm, a real bummer, and someone would probably beat you up.
You can’t walk around yelling profanity or just about anything you want, people will shush you.
ANECDOTE: I was walking to the metro station on a street filled with shopkeepers. In front of me was a mother with a child in her arm, kid was on verge of tears but the mother's soothing kept him just on the precipice. As we walked down the street literally every shopkeeper pitched in to help keep the kid calm. That would never happen in NYC America or SF America, maybe in the American Southern states.
PRO-TIP: This is a preferable society.
You really feel more connected to other humans and especially as a Diasporan coming to Armenia proper as you’ve made a conscious effort to change the course of this society.
PRO-TIP: You will feel very good when you see the fruits of your labor.
The only culture shock
Maybe because I grew up in a Russian environment, that is Russian at home and being a Brooklyn kid, I didn’t have all that much culture shock other than gender relations here which are quite a bit more conservative than San Francisco, for example, but then again which society isn’t? My biggest culture mismatch mostly related to dating as it’s pretty hard to get women to physically meet you and sex before marriage is mostly a myth, almost a double tragedy is that the girls here are much prettier than in America and dress on average much better.
PRO-TIP: Your intuitions will be busted, need to adjust.
So not everything is 100% ideal in Armenia, but for the things I’ve lost there’s a lot that I gained.
Living costs are way cheaper, if you’re a programmer you can still work Western wages but remotely.
The food is way better, no need waste $150 going to Whole Foods each time.
The women want families and husbands, culture emphasizes family.
The country is small, talented & technically competent people can make changes that rapidly affect many people, you can see the results quickly.
You are living in our ancestral homeland of 3,000 years and are working directly to make it stronger, richer, happier.🇦🇲