My first time in Armenia was truly a life-changing experience. Being half-Armenian, it was a wonderful feeling to take that piece of my upbringing and completely immerse myself in it. Once we started meeting people during our travels, my fears of feeling out of place disappeared. Everyone was always so welcoming and generous to us, even if we were complete strangers. Everywhere I turned, I could see monuments and landscapes that I had only read about. However, no amount of studying could have prepared me for how amazing the country actually was.
This was especially true during our visit to Tsitsernakaberd. I was reminded of the horrors our people endured during the Armenian Genocide, and we still survived. I realized that everyone was affected by the Genocide—everyone has a story. It is impossible to think of Armenia without also taking into consideration the Armenian Genocide and its aftermath. Throughout our trip, I was reminded of how much the Genocide has affected our history. It is a tragedy that scars our history, but it is also a reminder of how strong we are as a country and a culture.
My favorite part of the trip by far was the time we spent at Mer Hooys-House of Hope. The girls were wonderful and shared so much with us. It was impossible not to smile when you saw them. Mer Hooys is a light in the lives of these girls, and I am so blessed to have met everyone there. Even though we only saw them a few times, we bonded so quickly, and it broke my heart to leave them. I hope to continue to give back to them while here in America. They shared so much with all of us, and I want to share everything I can with them.
This trip to Armenia has been a wonderful, eye-opening experience. I hope to return one day in the near future and share my love for Armenia with others. Until then, I want to continue giving back to the Armenian community in any way I can.
The most significant impact of my visit to Armenia was the new sense of belonging that I felt once I immersed myself in the country’s culture. I felt as though these were my people walking up and down the city streets. My cousins who live in Armenia also played a big role in my understanding of what home actually meant. Visiting many of the locations I had read about in Armenian studies gave me the sense that much of this country seemed familiar.
My visit to Armenia has changed me in more than one way. First off witnessing the drastic difference in economic status between our two countries has humbled me and made me more earthly. Growing up my family didn’t have much either, but I always kept my wits about me. I tried to be grateful for the many opportunities and privileges I had like a home, education, food, and even television.
One day I plan to be a doctor to serve the American people just as they served me. However I refuse to forget my people, and I hope that I can also return to Armenia and help those who need it.
In conclusion, my trip to Armenia has changed me as a human being. Just over the span of two weeks I discovered who I am and where my loyalty lies. I cherished a sense of nostalgia that comes with being a part of one’s culture. I found that being Armenian doesn’t require that I suffer with my people, only that I recognize that there is suffering and I attempt to do something to change it. One thing is for sure though and it’s that I loved visiting Mer Hooys and I hope that one day I will be a wealthy and successful doctor so that I can donate resources to keep the place running and maybe even help expand and create a boy’s facility. I am truly grateful to have been a part of such an experience and without a doubt I plan to visit Armenia again in the future.
I had no idea what to expect when I got to Armenia. From what my friends had told me I knew it was going to be absolutely beautiful. The whole country in extremely beautiful and green. I especially though that Mt. Ararat was indescribable. It was absolutely breathtaking and I never got tired of looking at it.
Something else that I loved about Armenia was how family is so important. Family always came first. I loved when we all came together and ate khorovats and it was fun to eat all together and to eat the food from our homeland. The food is so much better in Armenia than it is here. I love the family values that Armenians have because the family is so big and Armenians welcome everyone that comes to them and they will go out of their way to help an individual.
I would also love to help with the Saroyan House project. I think it is a wonderful idea to turn his house into a museum because he has had such an impact in Fresno and Armenia.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip and it was the trip of a lifetime. I know I am going to go back to Armenia one day.
When I look back on my journey to Armenia a couple of things really impacted me. One was standing on the grounds of Holy Etchmiadzin and being blessed by the Catholicos and getting my gold cross blessed. Every time I wear my cross I think of this day and these memories. During these moments I was in disbelief that this was actually happening to me, that I was actually there. It is one thing to study the Armenian culture and the churches, specifically Etchmiadzin, and another to actually be in the country and inside this magnificent church.
One other memory that stands out to me was visiting the young ladies of Mer Hooys. I remember looking at the girls playing outside with smiles from ear to ear. After everything they have gone through they still have so much light in them. This House brings a sense of peace to these girls and I knew after leaving Armenia I needed to be a part of this organization that does so much good for so many girls. This made me realize how lucky I am and how fortunate I am to have what I have.
Before this trip, I knew Armenia was this beautiful country that was a part of me and who I was. I knew that I had always wanted to go to Armenia but I thought that I would never have the opportunity. What I didn’t realize until after this trip was exactly how amazingly beautiful this country is, how it made me who I am, and that I would not be ready to leave after 17 days. Seeing where your family originated and being in the land they lived is such an indescribable feeling. I felt connected to my great grandparents who had to leave their home during the Genocide. They, like most Armenians, fought to survive and lived to secure their children’s future. I feel like visiting Armenia was almost like a thank you to my great grandparents. I was able to go back home in their place to see the beautiful land from which we came. For these reasons it was the trip of a lifetime.
Going to Armenia I had no expectations of how it would impact me and change my mindset on most of the things I worried about in America. I thought of Armenia as an escape from all my worries in America for two weeks, and then I would go back to my normal life and duties. Little did I know that in America I was living in my own world and did not understand people who lived outside of it. I was excited to see the land and meet the people.
Armenia changed my attitude about my life. You don’t need materialistic things to be happy and that’s what I learned from Armenia. I learned this in the first week I was there and it made me so much happier.
Armenia made me feel complete to the point that I did not want to go back to America. But when I return, I want to help out as much as I can. I felt like everyone there wanted to make my trip to Armenia be the best it could and they did. They made sure I was happy and enjoying myself. This trip was beyond amazing and the best two weeks of my life. I enjoyed every second and I cannot wait to go back.