Episode 16: My Peace Corps Counterpart in Armenia, a Printmaker in Minneapolis, and a Therapist in Iowa — Liana, Laura and Anthony

You and Me and Everyone We Know is an audio diary made by everyday people living through the Covid-19 pandemic, and in today’s episode, we hear from a mom (and my good friend!) in Armenia who’s quarantining with her daughter in an 11th story apartment in Yerevan. We’ll also hear from a printmaking artist who’s trying to embrace change and remember what she’s learned from the hard days of her past. And we’ll hear from a Marriage and Family Therapist who’s turning to poetry to stay grounded while living at home with his young family. Press play below to listen to the latest episode (or find it on Apple PodcastsSpotify, Google Play Music, and Stitcher):

(If you received this through email, tap here to listen.)

In the first part of this episode, we’re talking to Liana. During my two years of Peace Corps service I worked at World Vision’s regional office in Stepanavan, Armenia. Liana volunteered to be my counterpart and work closely with me during my service. She quickly became my closest friend. I lived in Stepanavan for two years, but for Liana, Stepanavan is her hometown. Her parents still live there, but Liana moved nearly a decade ago to Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city. When we talked on April 2, Liana had been quarantining at home for weeks with her daughter Yeva. And while quarantine has meant lots of quality time with her daughter, it’s also meant a roller coaster of emotions that changes by the hour…

In the second part of this episode we’re talking to Laura. Laura is a printmaker, sewist, and working artist who has literally changed the face of Minneapolis. If you live in the city, you’ve seen her work in skyways downtown and outside and inside city galleries. She recently created the space Cheer! where she’s built a community and hosted classes. And, as we all know, community spaces we love have an uncertain future right now. Laura and I talked on March 25, and honestly, it’s incredible to look back at how different things were even a month ago. Laura was facing the uncertainty with a quiet confidence I found deeply comforting. And she reminded me to take this one day at a time… which it turns out, was just the advice I needed… 

In the last part of this episode we’re talking to Anthony. Anthony is a therapist and a writer and he’s a professor of Marriage and Family Therapy in Cedar Rapids Iowa. We met at the On Being Gathering a few years ago. On Being is a radio show about spirituality and religion, and Anthony and I connected immediately over the deep stuff – religious promise and failure, the magnificence of the natural world, fatherhood, and family. When we talked on April 2, Anthony and I got right into the deep stuff, per usual… and Anthony reminded me just how much we need empathy to get through this hard time… 

Here’s some of the things we talked about in this episode:

Covid-19 and…
-2nd Child Syndrome
-A balcony oasis
-Feeling scared
-90’s of Armenia
-How do you say “quince”?
-How much more productive we are working from home
-Reading coffee grounds online
-Open Book Minneapolis
-The Loft Literary Center
-Minnesota Center for Book Arts
Sewing Masks
-Doing dishes constantly
-Pandemic luxuries
-Moving a small business online
-Marco Polo (perfect for parents)
-What life was like a month ago
-Therapy online
-American productivity
-Pressure to make the most of this time
-Acting in other people’s best interest when you can’t see them
-Fail Army
-Vladimir Nabokov

Find Laura’s art here: https://laurabrownart.com/
Follow Laura’s bright, authentic content here: https://www.instagram.com/laurabrownart/
Support Liana’s work with the extremely vulnerable in Armenia here: https://www.wvi.org/armenia

Thank you for listening. 

And thank you to Liana, Laura and Anthony for coming on the podcast and for connecting with all of us. 

If feel like someone you know might feel comforted by hearing how everyday people are getting through these tough days, please share this podcast with them.  

If YOU, dear listener, want to be part of this podcast go to heybrentlove.com and tap coronavirus podcast on the menu or find me on Instagram @ heybrentlove

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