Fowler, CA, United States
I came home the other day weighed down by the fact that I was returning to America soon. I was hoping to extend my ticket for a few more months, because I am in love with Armenia, but the ticket is $400.00 to change. I was complaining about this to my host family during the holidays, confused as to what to do. Anyway, I walked through the door of my homestay in Yerevan and took off my backpack with a huge sigh. My host mom, who was sitting on the couch and pushing a plate of fruit towards me, said, “Vonc es Amy jan? (How are you)” I replied, sighing again, “Lav em, bayts, shad tkhrel (I’m good but super sad).” “Inchu (why)?”, she says.
“Vorohetev hunvar e, yev yes verdenalu em Amerika ays amis (Because it’s January and I return to America this month)”.
She then repositioned herself on the couch. She sat up. She told me to sit, too. Her face looked concerned. My host dad was nearby, too, and walked to where we were talking. Shoot, I’m thinking to myself, I must have done something wrong. Did I leave the water running? Or forget to lock the door?
She then began talking, “Amy jan, lsoom es (Amy dear, are you listening?)”.
Yes, I’m listening. I nod. Shoot, what did I do?
“Amy jan, Manuk (my host dad) and I want to pay for your ticket to extend. We know it’s expensive and we want to pay for it.”
She’s saying this in Armenian and at first I am certain I misunderstood. So, what is she actually saying.
“Asa norits (Say again)”, I say. “Che haskasa (I don’t understand).
“Amy jan, Manuk and I would like to pay for you to extend your ticket. We’ve already talked to Gohar, and she says it is okay.”
Wait, what? Bayts inchu? I was asking myself.
“Shad shanoragalam, bayts shad tank e (Thank you so much, but it’s super expensive)”, I said still so shocked.
“Voch inch Amy jan, we want to”, she said.
I had no words. Nothing but, ‘Bayts, inchu? (But, why?) My level of Armenian was failing me, but my eyes were tearing up, which I think communicated something. I hope. But I wanted to say a million things. I ran to my room to grab my Armenian language book, desperate to find words that could express my feelings. But I didn’t even know what I wanted to say in English.
I’m amazed by you guys?
I searched through the book and I wrote down words. “Touched.” And, “I could cry.” My host mom looked at my writing and started correcting it. She then said that this was why I needed to extend, because obviously I need to work on my Armenian. I can always count on her to make sure my Armenian is correct. We’ve had nights where we’ve stayed up until 2am just working on my Armenian.
But anyway, we sat there talking a bit and they told me to think about it, to talk to Gohar about it, to talk to my dad about it, and then to let them know.
This host family of mine: Emy (host mom), Manuk (host dad), and Nare (host sister) are a huge percentage of the reason as to why I love Armenia and as to why I am certain I will move here. All 3 of them. It could be because they love watching soccer, or because of my host mom’s homemade, 4-layered, chocolate cake. It could be because my host sister and I stay up talking at night like real sisters do. It could be because my host dad always makes sure I have a glass ready for toasts. Or, it might be that this family feels like home. For all reasons possible, they’re amazing, and this story of them offering to pay for my ticket reflects that in so many different ways.
You’re probably wondering if I took the offer or not. But that is not something I will answer here. Because that’s not the point of this story. The point of me sharing this story is to thank Birthright for connecting me to this family and to thank my host family for letting me be a part of their daily lives. The point is that this story is only one day out of the 146 days I have lived with them, and every day that I have spent with them has been all too amazing.
Shad shanoragalootyoon, Manuk, Emy, and Nare jan. Yes shad siroom em dzez.