I didn’t come to Armenia to try and make a difference in people’s lives. I am 22, fresh out of college, confused, drowning in my own convoluted sense of self. I have no business entering any space–let alone one as mutable as the South Caucasian one–and announcing to the people therein, “Let me help you help you.”
I’m not here to try and find myself, either. To benefit from the dram-to-dollar exchange rate as I wander the pubs of Yerevan, explaining in between cigarettes that I’m just on a quest to figure out who I am, man.
I am here to learn. To struggle with language. To hand over my compass. To stand corrected when I assume too much. To fail, and to fall hard.
It isn’t easy. There are days when I am nothing short of a burden to the people who have welcomed me into their homes and workplaces. I flounder through basic tasks, upset the order of things. But I am forgiven endlessly. There is deep wisdom that precedes any mistake I could possibly make; a level of compassion that is infinitely both nurturing and patient. For this, I am forever grateful.
And so I remain, a vestige of certainty and power, submissive to the mutability of this place, where people dance in the aisles, wax lyrical about dark pain and always, always remind me, jana, that this is where I need to be.