I am Myrthe Korf. I was born and grew up in the Netherlands, but have made the Caucasus my home. Writing, teaching adults, empowering young women to use their talents, and working with grassroots organizations helping them become more effective are what makes my heart beat faster.
I spent the better part of the past thirteen years in Armenia, initially working and living in Spitak, a small town in Northern Armenia that was devastated in an earthquake in 1988, and later in the capital Yerevan. I first came to Armenia in the summer of 2000, but I kept coming back over and over and ended up moving to Yerevan permanently in 2004. In 2012 I moved a couple of hundred kilometers north to Tbilisi, Georgia. Time will tell how long I will end up staying there.
Over the past thirteen years I helped set up a computer training center; taught Dutch to dozens of bright women (and two young men), several of whom have become dear friends; learned to speak Armenian better than quite a few Armenians, or so I’ve been told repeatedly by native Armenian speakers (not sure I agree, but hey, it’s certainly nice to hear!); found out that not fitting in and not being expected to fit in suits me quite well; set up an English language book club in Yerevan; picked up two cats along the way; spent countless afternoons chatting and laughing with kids at a dialysis ward and being amazed at their resilience; learned to love and to lose people close to me; angered some people with my views and opinions; was a role model and changed the lives of a few people (again: their words, not mine). You’ll find a lot of these stories back in my blog’s archive. Another passion of mine is reading, which is why you’ll also find many blogposts reviewing books plus a list of books I’ve read over the past years on this site.
Since 2008 I have appeared regularly on Dutch radio discussing Armenian and Caucasus affairs, some of the podcasts (in Dutch) are here and here. Together with bloggers and journalists in Armenia and Azerbaijan, I worked on an oral history project recording the life stories of women in both countries. An essay I wrote about women in rural Armenia was published in “Te gast in Georgië en Armenië”. I work as a volunteer translator for Global Voices in het Nederlands, the Dutch language site of Global Voices Online.