Glendale, CA, USA
BirthrightArmenia, where do I start? I told people I would be in Armenia all summer long but until I was getting ready to board the plane did it finally hit me “HOLY HECK, I AM LEAVING FOR TEN WEEKS.” Everyone told me it was going to be the greatest experience ever, life-changing even. I went into a country -my country- that I had not visited in 18 years, literally knowing no one that was coming into this with me; ready to start my “journey of self-discovery.” People told me that the time would fly by... and man did it FLY. Over the last two and a half months I have met so many people from so many different walks of life. Armenians from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, France, London, Canada, Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, (I probably forget a few) and countless people from back in the states and even some who I went to the same high school with but never had the opportunity to meet. And what had brought us all together to this very moment, was the fact that we are all ARMENIAN. My people are the most resilient people ever, the Ottoman Empire ATTEMPTED to wipe my people off the face of this planet, and what did we do? We spread out... spread throughout every nook and cranny of this planet. My favorite line as cliché as it is will forever be William Saroyan’s “For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” Anywhere you go in this world you will find an Armenian, and when you meet these people, you will have this unbelievable, indescribable, magical connection. A connection that makes you family without blood. It’s not a matter of what percentage Armenian you are, it’s just this inner feeling you have that makes you love, appreciate, and take pride to be a part of this beautiful and amazing Country. I am so glad to have had this amazing opportunity to have met some of the most amazing people ever, to create these long-lasting friendships, and know that when I travel to a country I will have a home wherever they are, and they will have a home wherever I am, to share unreal experiences (like getting lost and found in Dilijan) that I will never forget and forever hold near and dear to my heart. Thank you Birthright Armenia. Thank You for existing. Yes, I could have easily come to Armenia on vacation and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and all it has to offer, but when you actually come to Armenia and immerse yourself into the people, the culture, the work environment, the EVERYTHING you experience it in a completely different way and for that I am genuinely thankful. To all my Armenian friends, I urge you to apply and participate in the program. You will not regret it! To all my Non-Armenian friends, don’t worry AVC is a similar opportunity for you to experience this magical country as well!
Shad Sirov, Sose. ❤