I was lost. For years I searched to find the peace that I was looking for and kept on trying, never gave up! Until it came to me on its own. I grew up outside my mother Armenia and often was very confused where I truly belonged. The answer to the reason why I existed was the whole time within me, that’s being an Armenian. I felt the strong connection for my finding peace to be here, in Mayr Hayastan and to live on my ancestor's lands. Absorb all the love I had missed since birth in just a very short time; I have never felt so much at home before.
This journey started long a time ago and did well compliment the very purpose of the wonderful Birthright Armenia program that I'm more than glad and privileged to be a part of. It just threw me in the depth of the Armenian history, culture and lifestyle and what it is to be a member of this extraordinary people on this planet. The warmth you feel around you generates from everything, the nature, complete strangers, and of course the cold delicious water. I met an array of amazing human beings from different parts of the world that all share the common reason of wanting to be in the same place and dedicate time and energy, be brave to leave the comfort of their homes and discover the little Armenia they hold so precious in their hearts.
It's so difficult to choose where to start. There are innumerable experiences, most planned but a very good number of them just happening coincidentally. From the very simple walks one takes in the city streets, to the day long travelling to visit the cultural riches of our great country preserved within the church walls or the songs and dances that light up every event and gathering. But to make it easy to understand, above everything else, is the sense of extreme hospitality and friendliness of the people from different walks of life. How they take so much pride and satisfaction in being helpful and simply nice. The exposure really is not much different for a volunteer/visitor while staying at a very simple yet comfortable host family or engage in a conversation with a cab driver. They all believe to be your "barekam" as soon as they learn that you are an armo.
For me, Gyumri, the KING CITY OF ARMENIA, is the spotlight to my reconnection back to my roots. Every soul here is so generously kind. They completely rule out the socioeconomic challenges and are so eager to accept us with open arms. Even though the city and its habitants are still recovering from devastating physical and psychological effects of the last major natural calamity, the residents are very happy from within and ready to shoulder responsibilities beyond what they can afford to make you feel you are right where you are supposed to be.
It's not impossible to be acquainted with this culture on an individual attempt, but choosing Depi Hayq definitely gives you a head start towards your ambition for extracting the best of Armenia in every aspect.