Sunday, March 31, 2013

Is Youth Wasted on the Young?

Youth is wasted on the young! As one of the topics for the Peace Corps’ International WRITE ON! Contest, these words made me stop and think.  And when I did think about it, I decided the familiar saying is not true----at least not all of the time.   Since David and I are the oldest volunteers in our specific Peace Corps A-19 group serving in Armenia, we frequently listen to ideas and opinions of our younger peers.  Many times we agree with them on subjects of common interest.  Some we totally disagree with due to our different perspectives and life experiences.  And some we aren’t sure about.   But I personally do not think youth is wasted on the young. 

     Let’s talk about how to spend one’s money wisely and, specifically, where to stay when spending a night or 2 in Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan.    Most of the younger volunteers stay at hostels in the city. There for a nominal fee, most hostels offer a room with multiple beds or bunks, hot showers, decent bathrooms either community or shared, and breakfast. During our time with the Peace Corps in Africa, we stayed in a hostel when in the capital city of Niamey.   It was quite large, usually crowded and many of the beds or cots were located outdoors due to the heat and the absence of air conditioning in that country.  This  Peace Corps sponsored hostel was usually dirty, with leaking water faucets and toilets, dirty dishes always present in the kitchen area and personal belongings strewn about the place. It was reminiscent of living with one’s own teenagers when rules were not adhered to. We felt out of place and frankly, disgusted with some of what we experienced.
    Once we came to Armenia where there were more choices for lodging, we said we’d not stay in a hostel, that we were too old, had “been there done that,” etc.   But our younger friends kept saying how nice one of the hostels was and that other older volunteers did stay there. Our peers understood and really didn’t care where we stayed, but as we spent more of our own savings and continued to stay in hotel rooms which we loved but knew were too expensive, we thought, “maybe we should give the hostel a try”.   Maybe we should listen to our young friends and fellow volunteers. 

      Well, this past weekend we did stay at the Envoy Hostel in Yerevan, Armenia. What a pleasant surprise did we have!  We opted for one of their limited numbers of private bedrooms with a shared bath as our first test of the establishment.   It was fine.  For a reasonable rate we had a comfortable, clean, conveniently located place to stay and no problems.  Staff members treated everyone with professionalism and kindness.  They were willing to help with anything we needed.  Breakfast was simple but good and certainly an acceptable deal for the cost.  We were free to add other items we wanted without a problem and they even served whole milk for cereal, oatmeal, coffee, etc. What a treat after rarely having milk in Armenia!  The best part of a stay at the Envoy is meeting the people who also stay there, both from Peace Corps Armenia and from other parts of the world.  One young man was playing his guitar in his room before others arrived to join him. It added to the almost hippie atmosphere of the place to hear the strains of his simple chords and voice throughout the building.  The recreation room which doubled as the eating area, was large and well equipped with flat screen t. v., computers, plenty of seating and a number of board games should anyone want to play.   The kitchen was fine and apparently may be used by guests under certain circumstances.  Everyone tends to their own business at the Envoy yet the feeling is warm and welcoming on the part of visitors and staff alike.          
Creative mobil decoration hanging in The Envoy
     Yes, we should listen to the young more often. Young people are willing to check things out, take chances we might not take (sometimes that is good, sometimes, not), and they are honest when giving their opinions. For David and me, listening to our younger peers is often a reality check on how things really are in their world and it helps us to gain a more up-to-date perspective of our own world. Although we had found a new hotel which gave us an appreciable discount when we stayed in Yerevan, and we feel as if their staff is part of our family, I think we’ve found another “home away from home” at the Envoy Hostel in Yerevan.  There is also a sister Envoy hostel in Tbilisi, Georgia equally as well recommended by the young. 

      Youth is not wasted on the young. It is experienced by the young.  It is enjoyed by the young and it should be respected by their elders. Why……..we were once young, too.
       Check out these photos from our recent stay at the Envoy Hostel in Yerevan, Armenia.They all make me smile!  
Vehicle parked outside The Envoy and driven by
young couple staying in the hostel as they travel around the area.

I think this artsy mobil signifies "home sweet home" with all the small paper houses.  That's what The Envoy becomes to many of its regular visitors.

The Envoy has this image on its outside wall. Yerevan was designated as the World Book Capital in 2012. 

Look who's riding on the back of the camping vehicle!

Young people work at The Envoy, all ages stay at The Envoy and young people told David and me about it.  Youth is not wasted on the young, at least not in this case.  



No comments:

Post a Comment