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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

"When I'm 64" My birthday in Shangri-la of Armenia.

"When I'm 64" is a song by the Beatles.  I wonder what made them to create that song when they were only in their 20s.  Whatever the reason, today the song relates to me, because "I'm 64."

Yes, much to my surprise, I'm a senior citizen. I wonder when did the clock turned over and I reached my third act. Time has a way of moving quickly and catching you unaware.  Up until my late 40s, I was stuck in my twenties.  But as 50s rolled along, there was a game change. Although I couldn't believe the advancement of the years, little by little I felt my real age.  

Being a senior citizen carries many wonderful perks which I didn't know about them.  Old age has brought me freedom to follow my heart.  And oh boy am I following my heart?  Yes!  Ballroom dancing, painting classes, travels and most important I have time to devote to writing.

Generally my Birthdays came and went without much ado.   But when I realized that I'm nearing 60 I made a point to begin to celebrate my birthdays in a special way.  To welcome the Big six-o, I went on a limb.  I coordinated a reunion with our high school friends from Tehran.  Believe it or not, about 60 friends showed up.  Some travelled as far as East Coast.  We gathered at an Armenian restaurant in Glendale.  The next day with a few of our closer friends went for a two nights stay to San Diego.  

At 61 I welcomed my first grandson in New York.  62 was in Rome.  63 in Catalina Island, using the Catalina Express free birthday pass.  And when the 64 came along, I was in Armenia and my daughter surprised me by an overnight trip to Dilidjan, a small resort town about one and half hour north of Yerevan. 

I call Dilidjan the Shangri-la of Armenia.  I felt that when for the first time I visited there.  We were traveling as a group. It was the second day we had arrived in Armenia and I was still jet-lagged.  The bus-tour took us from Yerevan to Lake Sevan and from there to Dilidjan.  It was my first trip to Armenia.

When we left lake Sevan, I was tired and the motion of the bus put me to sleep. 
I was dozing off in the bus and when I opened my eyes, I truly felt that we had entered the Shangrila.  The landscape had changed from arid dry to lush verdant.  I had never been to anywhere with such green rolling hills.  A landscape unlike any other I'd seen enveloped me.  It was breathtaking a jaw dropping experience.

I must admit that I didn't know about the geography of Armenia since it was my first visit to Armenia.  I thought Armenia had a dry and mountainous climate, which it has.  I was not aware that the tiny country had diverse climate zones.

From the bus I noticed that on the edges of the road, the village boys and girls were selling head bands made from fresh wild flowers. The bus stopped and the boys and girls with their ragged appearances circled around the bus door.  

Most everybody without questioning the price, bought those pretty wreaths with ribbons hanging from behind.  It felt magical.  Then and there I felt in love with the beauty of Dilidjan, which until that moment didn't know it evenexisted.  The experience left me with a lasting impression.  

My birthday is in late October.  To be in Dilidjan during that part of the year when the leaves change color and watch the glorious "Golden Fall" as they call it, was a great joy.  In addition having my daughter to myself for a whole day was a real treat.  This was the last week of my stay in Armenia.

My daughter and her husband had moved a year before to Armenia.  Her work and their social life didn't leave enough time for hanging out together while I was there for three months. 

We stayed at a boutique type lodge overlooking the forest with a tranquil setting.  The hotel offered wifi and we could use it to connect by Skype to the rest of the family in Glendale.  A simple trip, created a sweet memory.  Thanks Tina for a special day

When I got the AARP invitation in the mail before my 50th birthday, seemed not real. Whoa...AARP, that's the "old people's" club, 

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