Arnold, MD, United States
If I can be completely honest, I did not want to write this. I put off the task for over a month, seeking to ride the remaining high induced from the Birthright experience for as long as possible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love writing. In fact, I discovered a passion for it while in Armenia, describing thoughts and experiences on my blog which I cleverly named Lavash Life. Writing blog pieces became a joyful and effortless pastime, but for some reason, I found so much hesitation and difficulty in writing this particular piece. And as the keyboard of my computer remained untouched and I lingered in my confused frustration, I couldn’t help but wonder why.
Maybe I was overwhelmed. This was supposed to be an easy topic of my choosing, but that did not make choosing the topic any easier. Naturally, I at first wanted to talk about my experience. I started to read through my blog posts and journal entries, remembering the incredible sights I had seen, the delicious village feasts I had eaten, and the amazing people I had met. With every post I read, I missed my cherished experience more. How many times had I danced kochari on mountaintops with my new friends or felt the spiritual magnitude of ancient Armenian monasteries? How many times had I spoken with and learned more about the lives of my people living in Armenia? Through the Birthright Program, I had gained a new and unmeasurable understanding for my beautiful and ancient culture. Though I only spent three months in Armenia, my time there contained the experiences of a lifetime. How could I summarize the experience of a lifetime into a single page word document? Thus, I sat in front of my computer for hours staring at a blank computer screen.
Maybe I was sad. In my hesitation induced procrastination, I sought refuge in social media, scrolling through the latest photos from my dear friends still in Armenia. I missed them and the times we had shared together, learning more about each other in our weekly excursions and dancing for hours while deep in the Yerevan nightlife. Though there was sadness in not being able to predict the next time I would see them, I grew ever excited for this eventual time to come.
Maybe I was scared. For some reason, I felt that writing this piece would be the conclusion of my Birthright Experience, and I didn’t want it to end. The thoughts and feelings that the experience had inspired were so profound, opening my eyes to an Armenia and an Armenian culture that, in the time prior, I didn’t know existed. But I knew I needed to write it; for the organization that did so much for me, for my friends and family that shared in this experience, and for myself primarily. I needed to get over this fear of ending an experience in Armenia because the experience was not over yet. With Birthright, I developed a relationship with Armenia that I will carry with me throughout my life; one that I intend to grow and deepen with time.
As I go forward with life, carrying the newfound status of a Birthright Alumni, I also carry with me a group of amazing new friends, and experience of a lifetime, and a new and ever-deepening relationship with Armenia. Though overwhelm, sadness, and fear caused me much difficulty in the writing of this paper, I would write a million more papers to relive the journey again.
Cheers to Birthright Armenia,