Dear Birthright Armenia/Depi Hayk and AVC,I cannot count the number of times I have tried to sit down and write this final blog entry. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. I clung on to my time in Armenia through friends who were still there and then from my dad and aunt’s second trip out there. It felt very strange to see photos of them visiting places where I had been just a few weeks before. At first I was jealous but now I am just excited for the next time and hopeful that it will be the whole family.It is now 2 months and 2 days since I left and I am finally ready to finish this blog (for now!) I agonised over how to sum up my time in Armenia in a little post like this. What did I want to say? List my highlights, lessons learnt, friends made… but there are simply too many. It’s the same problem I have every time somebody asks me how my summer was. I freeze, my mouth gets dry and a million brightly coloured images flash through my mind. And then I normally come out with something stunningly eloquent like “It was good”, “really good” or “amazing” if I’m feeling particularly articulate. One of my friends asked me if it had been worth “giving up” my whole summer for. I was stunned into silence (rare). The idea that I had given anything up was utterly incomprehensible to me. Yet even then, as I thought of all the myriad reasons why I would not trade this summer for all the cognac in Armenia, I couldn’t find a way of making it make sense to someone else. So I’ve given up. I come out with random stories and anecdotes now and then but mostly I look at pictures, skype when I can and try to remember everything.
So finally I have decided to stop over thinking this whole thing and just say what I really want to say.
Thank you to the staff and benefactors of Birthright Armenia/Depi Hayk and Armenian Volunteer Corps for giving me the opportunity to discover a new country, a new culture and a new language. And thank you for leaving me wanting more. For giving me time to work out what this bewitching and complicated place means to me.
Thank you for the beautiful, crazy and unexpected excursions which were beyond my wildest dreams. For the wonderful language classes, the educational forums and the sociable havaks. For the varied, challenging and inspirational workplaces.
Thank you for letting us let our hair down at the weekends (and sorry for how wholeheartedly some of us took this offer up…!)
Thank you for introducing me to a new family who not only welcomed me into their lives with open arms and hearts but also had my father and aunt round for dinner during their trip!
Thank you for introducing me to my brothers and sisters from all around the world who I never knew I had and now can’t imagine living without. And to those of you who told me I was welcome to come visit, watch out!
And finally, thank you for giving me this moment on my return to England. I was able to sit with my incredible grandmother who has never been to Armenia in her life and show her my photographs, tell her my stories, answer her questions… and show her my tattoo :s
This is the thing I want to thank you for most. It’s not something I can put in words so here are some photos.
Lots of love from the lonely alumni all the way in the UK.
Every one of you has a place to stay here, any time.
Fiona Ann Peltegian Murdoch Greig
(Fi) x x x