San Francisco, CA, United States
When Birthright Armenia emailed us the schedule for our 4-day excursion in Artsakh, I didn’t really look at it.
Anybody who has done the Artsakh excursion can’t stop talking about how amazing it was; so I knew no matter what the schedule said it was going to be a memorable experience. We had a very busy and very fun 4 days. On our first day in Artsakh, we ended with dinner and some free time in the city center, or so I thought. When we got back on the bus, I assumed we were heading to our homestays for the night. I had forgotten entirely about the Wine Mob.
The bus stopped, and we were split into groups. Each group was given the infamous 2liter Coke bottle filled with wine. “Your goal is to find a family to enjoy this wine with and come back to the bus with an empty bottle.” I was so confused. Do the families know we are coming? Will they want to have wine with random volunteers knocking at their door? This would never work
in the U.S. My group and I took our bottle and started knocking on doors. The first door we knocked on the lady kindly told us “This building is an elderly home I suggest you go to another building.” The second door we knock on? Jackpot. It was the home of a lady who teaches 5-year-olds in school. She had two of her friends over for tea. We totally crashed their tea party. She welcomed us in and immediately gave each of us slippers to wear. From the minute we entered the home, the tatiks’ hospitality was unreal.
As we are enjoying our wine and getting to know these 3 tatiks, the doorbell rings and it was another Birthright Armenia group! The host was surprised to learn that we knew each other, so we explained how we are diasporan Armenians here with Depi Hayk and we are having an excursion in Artsakh with about 60 volunteers. She froze and asked, “do you think 60 people are
about to enter my house right now?” It was hilarious.
They offered us so many extra treats on top of the wine and insisted on giving us halva and chocolates to take with us when we said goodbye. Getting to enjoy wine with those 3 tatiks and hearing their stories was absolutely a highlight of my entire Birthright Armenia trip. I hope everybody gets the chance to enjoy wine with some locals during their time in Armenia.