Going on 5 months for me, longest I've gone completely quitting, without trying vapes or anything. This might be the final attempt at quitting :)

For an indefinite period of time…

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Twenty nine years later I look at the country that became my new home, and don’t recognize it somedays. But hope is on the horizon.

Becoming a refugee

In 1988 when I was a 10 years old school kid, living in Baku, Azerbaijan, a conflict started between Azerbaijan and the neighboring Armenia, over the Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region. The conflict quickly escalated, and a war began. A war that has continued, on and off, for 30 years, culminating in a new war exploding in September of 2020.

My family was Armenian and quickly realized that living in Azerbaijan wasn’t safe for us anymore. At…

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Penfield Beach, Fairfield, CT. Photo by author

With lack of travel, I have been struggling to spark creativity with my photos. So a week ago I decided to give myself a challenge. “Self,” I said, “let’s make-up a daily challenge for a week, and get our creative juices flowing!” Below is the challenge and its results. (Feel free to try it out!)

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

So your candidate lost?

I’d like to say I’m sorry about that, but that would be lying. I know lying is big for your candidate, but it’s wrong. I am not sorry he lost. In fact, I’m relieved he lost. Even more, I’m excited he lost!

I’m excited to see a new Secretary of Education who is not a corrupt, anti-public education hack and who won’t try to cut funding to Special Olympics.

I’m excited to see a new Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, who is not hell bent on destroying the environment.

I’m excited to see a new Secretary of State, who…

I wasn’t raised to talk about mental health

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Photo by Finn on Unsplash

I always enjoy my birthday in September. It’s usually still warm, and I get a few days of celebration out of it. Last year I decided to go a bit low key (for me) so I texted my sister, my brother, and my 2 cousins to join me for family dinner and drinks at my favorite sushi place. They came, we had a blast, eating, having drinks and laughing. Exactly five months and one day after that, sometime during the night on February 13, 2020, my youngest cousin Stas took his own life.

I was born in 1978 in Baku…

A beach town with a great food scene

I’ll be honest, I got the idea for this article after reading “What to Eat in Mystic, Connecticut”. It’s not that I was looking to copy the idea, it’s just it hasn’t occurred to me before to write about where I live because I think at times I’ve come to take it for granted. But for an outsider, Fairfield is a foodie paradise. So allow me to talk about it a bit.

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Sasco Hill Beach in Fairfield. Photo by author.

I’ve lived in the area for about 4 years. There are many reasons why I like Fairfield. It’s a beach town, with 4 town beaches that I regularly…

I won’t steer you wrong, I promise!

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View from San Juan Marriott balcony, photo by author

First time I visited Puerto Rico was in 2012. I was happily married family man, with a beautiful wife and a 15 year-old stepson. We traveled to Puerto Rico to escape February in New England. My second visit was in May of 2017. I was in month seven of being separated from my wife, going through a divorce that at times felt like a roller coaster. San Juan allowed me to unwind and for a few days forget the real world existed. Visit number 3 happened in November 2018. This was a special visit, because I was coming back to…

Give them a try, you won’t regret it!

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Vancouver. Photo by author.

Until April of 2019 I have never been to Vancouver. I have never considered going to Vancouver. The only two things I knew about Vancouver were: it’s on the West Coast and I have college friends who live there.

Then a project came alone with our Canadian office, and I traveled to Vancouver 3 different times between May and July of last year. I didn’t have a ton of time to explore the city, but I did have an opportunity to eat, since that’s kind of a basic need. Here are 10 places I tried out and enjoyed.

There are good days and there are bad days

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Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

On February 13, 2020 my cousin died by suicide. He was 10 years younger than me, happy, handsome kid, a big favorite of my daughter’s. We have a close-nit family, and his death was the biggest blow our family has ever faced. We were buried under a mountain of grief, guilt, and questions that will never be answered. We spent the first few weeks congregating at my parents’ house supporting each other. Then about a month later COVID-19 hit and Governor of Connecticut issued Stay at Home order.

The initial impact of the COVID-19 and Stay at Home order was…

Alex Mnatsakanov

Dad to Sophie, immigrant, world traveler, amateur photographer, product manager. Instagram: @alex.mnats.travel

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