More than a month has passed since my return from Armenia. I was not ready to leave. I was forced to leave. I was in Armenia through my studies in Copenhagen Business School and I could not extend my stay more than a month, which I did. I did not expect my experience to be emotional in this extend for me. It is almost impossible to describe this feeling of going back to my roots – this is only something you can feel by experiencing it. These years of my life are the most important as I am about to build the fundament of my life, and I am so lucky to have my experience in Armenia as a source for inspiration. I am constantly searching for something, which is still a mystery, but I can feel it has a strong connection to Armenia. I want to spend my life having an impact on the development of my country either my moving there sometime in my life or by connection Armenia to Scandinavia.
The key words of my experience are: Culture, family, friends & language. I could write a book about my whole experience and it is a true challenge to compress it to few pages. Being born in Armenia, raised by my Armenian parents in Denmark made me think that I had a true experience of what the Armenian culture is. But I forgot to realize that my parents have changed, because their life and conditions have change truly after moving from Armenia. Some things have always been different in my home compared to the homes of my friends, but I could never truly understand what it was as it was not visible for me. Being in Armenia, experiencing my family there and other Armenian families, I could see some of the features in them that I could recognize in my own parents. Suddenly I felt that I understood my parents much more and I started truly appreciating how much they have done for me by adopting more to the Danish culture, so I did not have to feel more different than expected. What I realized was that in Armenia my life would be much more different as girls are treated much more different in Armenia. It was hurtful for me to see, but after experiencing it, I felt that I had a responsibility of trying to bring another perspective into Armenia in my own family; my friends and I could see changes appearing already while I was there. At the same time Denmark is not the answer on what is the best and most right way of living. I learned things that are not visible in Denmark – especially the feeling of connection and responsibility in regards to your family. Some things just scare me of how they work in Denmark and I do the utmost to teach the good aspects of the Armenian culture to my boyfriend and close friends.
Although I had been in Armenia for a couple of weeks before, and met most of my family there, this time is was so much more different. My cousin from my father’s side of the family moved into my flat, and my other cousin from my mother’s side almost lived there too. We had the best time of connection and got a very close relationship with them that will last forever. I got a real insight to what the youth is like in Armenia and it was interesting to be able to discuss freely without being frustrated of being perceived as a bad person. They know who I am, and therefore they were more willing to listen to my opposing opinions.
Through my cousins I met native Armenians, which was an amazing experience and a true contrast to the other Armenian volunteers. They were the ones living the life in Armenia, coping with the challenges of being young in a country as Armenia. It was frustrating to hear, but it helped me to scratch the surface of my country and understand the condition a bit more deep. I also realized that I am never going to understand their lives fully although if I move to Armenia. As an “outsider” it seems there are more opportunities than for the “insiders”, which makes me really sad cause the fundament should be built by the “insiders”. Meeting other volunteers was also amazing. We were all connected in a special way – not by the country of our birth or where we live, but our Armenian blood. It was amazing to see how various the Armenian identity is, and it even made me feel closer to my country, because I am still Armenian, although I am different from the natives. We had an amazing time on our weekly trips and parties. I loved hanging out with my volunteer friends and I miss that part of my life a lot! Its difficult to be divided between two countries you have a strong connection to through friends and family.
What makes me happy everyday after my return is that I am able to read Armenian now. I spoke the language before arriving, but learning to read this interesting alphabet made me feel even closer to the country. Finally I did not feel limited in anyways in my own country. I could take care of myself without any help. It was a great, great feeling.
I can’t wait for my next visit to Armenia. There is no doubt that it is going to be as soon as possible. I love Armenia, I miss Armenia and Armenia is and will be the adventure of my life throughout good and bad times.