As fun as it is to hang out with repatriates from America, Europe, and other parts of the world while in Armenia, I also love interacting with locals because naturally that’s when you get the true taste of the country. Today, I met two local girls that I’m excited to get to know in the upcoming weeks — and it happened in a way that felt so natural, so Armenia, like it would never happen elsewhere. A friend and I were sitting at Coffeeshop Company on Amiryan Street when an older man approached the table to sell us fruit (so normal here). I caved and paid way too much for a bag of jenerig (not sure what it’s called in English) and when I gave the man my money, he questioned whether one of the older bills was real. I chuckled and told him in a very matter-of-fact way that it’s not my fault (de et eem mekhkuh chee!) — the girls sitting at the table next to us started giggling at his ridiculous claim, and so we started chatting. I especially loved their positivity when I asked them if they like living in Yerevan. One of the girls had visited LA but said she prefers Yerevan, which is a rare occurrence since so many Armenians want to get out. The girls had to go back to work, but we hugged like longtime friends, exchanged local numbers and Facebook friend requests, and planned to meet for coffee soon. I’m looking forward to hearing their take on Armenia, their pros and cons, and finding out more about life in Yerevan from an insider’s perspective.