“YOU will change. YOU will get attached. Most importantly, YOU wouldn’t want to come back’’ are phrases that I heard before I came to Armenia. Of course, I didn’t take it seriously. My main goal was to come, work, engage in Armenian culture and go back to my life in Lebanon. Sooner I realized that this experience had become my life and I would do anything to stay here. Then reality hits you, and you know you have to go back for university and life duties. See, Armenia is a magical country by all means; people, places, food, music, culture and it is tough to leave all these things behind and return to Lebanon. However, I will always remember this phrase: “Home is not where you were raised or born, rather, it is where your heart is at.” Guess what; I left mine in Armenia!
From May 22 till August 22; three months have passed. How? When? Why? I bet nobody can answer these questions; at least I don’t. It took me one month to adapt. Two months to feel I belong. Three months to feel home to an extent I don’t even know anymore where am I and what the hell I am doing. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by Armenians (Eastern and Western) from all over the world. By that I mean; Argentina. Uruguay, Australia, Chile, United States (even HAWAII!!), France, Russia, Lebanon, Brasil, Canada...etc.
Don’t get me wrong, Lebanon is my home, and I owe it everything for it welcomed thousands of Armenians a century ago. However, nothing beats the feeling of connecting to the roots and engaging in a culture that was once yours, still is and forever will be.
Volunteering in Gyumri aka Lernakan that is located in Shirak province North-West of Armenia has given me a new perspective on Life. Exaggerating? Maybe but true. See Gyumritsi people enjoy the little and simplest things in life even after everything they have been through. For example, the fact that I started eating fruits (knowing that I never eat it) and drinking coffee with my host mom in the morning would put a sincere smile on her face was everything for me. Also, getting her a bouquet of flowers for her birthday was everything for her to an extent she kept it for so long even after it died. Also, we connected the most during breakfast. Imagine this morning scene. She teaches me Russian, and I teach her Arabic. We drink coffee with a big bowl of fruits that I should at least finish half before finally leaving to work.
I worked at Techno-Educational Academy; a startup company with a vision of being part of future programmers/ analysts/ designers.
I was teaching two programs; 3D modeling and Photoshop was as challenging as it seems regarding the language barrier and age difference. I still remember my facial expression when my students (ages from 13 till 26) had submitted their final projects with the biggest smiles I have ever seen in my life. They were happy, content, proud of themselves, thankful and most importantly full of hope for a better tomorrow. Again, it is the simplest things in life-- non-materialistic but everything that touches your mind, soul, and heart.
I thought a lot about extending. It took me days and nights to make the right decision, and it finally hit me that it will be much harder for me to leave Armenia later more than now. I can only imagine that because it was the hardest thing in my life to get on that freaking plane and be convinced that a new journey is awaiting me in Lebanon. All I want is to finalize everything I have left and repatriate in Armenia. To bring out positivity, I think I took the right decision for one reason. I want to come back to Armenia with power in my hands, education in my mind and hope in my soul!
RANDOM NB: FAVORITE WORDS: JAN, MALADZITS, AZIZ, TSAVET DANEM AND MOST IMPORTANTLY BAREV DZEZ!