Change Yourself…Change The World.


Time to Move On, Yet Again
May 14, 2009, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Armenia

The memorial for the Armenian genocide. I placed these flowers
here on behalf of my family.

Hi friends,

Well, quite suddenly it is my final day in Armenia, and I am feeling a few emotions at once: extreme sadness and preparing myself for the nostalgia, fear that I will never find my way here again, happiness to be moving on from the paradoxical feelings I’ve had the past week, and general confusion as to how I should ascertain these experiences I’ve had.

While Armenia is an absolutely gorgeous country, I felt quite a disconnect from the people and the culture. There were times this week when I was walking around in Yerevan, or doing a home stay in Dilijan, or bumming around Vanadzor, where it didn’t even register with me that this was my own roots and back round that I was experiencing. It just felt like I was in another random country with a language that I don’t speak, with unfamiliar food, with different customs and ways of life I’ve never been exposed to before. Since I have been doing this for the past year (that is, traveling to many different places and experiencing many different things), it was quite easy for me to imagine this was just another old country I was passing through. Then the time would come where I would pinch myself and go “HELLO? You are in ARMENIA.” And my self would go “Oh, right!” and suddenly try to make the images and conversations in front of me take on special meaning. But the fact is, they didn’t. And while this is something I expected coming to Armenia, it was still a hard pill to swallow.

I suppose that feeling really sunk in when I realized yesterday at the genocide memorial that this was the only time I had ever felt I was actually in Armenia. The genocide memorial is in Yerevan, and it is situated on top of the city, against the spectacular backdrop of Mount Ararat (as previously stated, Mount Ararat is very holy for Armenians). I brought flowers to the memorial from our family in honor of those who died during the genocide (including my own ancestors in Anatolia). When I placed it down by the continuously burning fire, I looked up and saw the mountains, suddenly clear from their usual overhanging clouds, positively dazzling in the sky- and for the first time it really hit me- Wow. I am in Armenia right now. I am an Armenian, and I am actually here, in Armenia.

The genocide musuem was beautiful, and it was the perfect complement to all of the research I’ve been doing in Turkey to find out my family history, mixed in with the current events and issues of the genocide bill being recognized in the US. I wrote a paper arguing why the genocide bill should NOT be passed in the US, but when I walked through that cool and dark musuem, I felt so proud and honored that this structure stood and publicly mourned the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians. So much of this ‘genocide’ is swept under the rug- even the US, which has the largest Armenian Diaspora in the world, does not officially recognize it- and when traveling in Turkey, doing research on something that is strictly taboo has forced me to think of the genocide issue as something that should be incredibly covert. But to see it in plain daylight in Yerevan, to read testimonies by tons of European and American missionaries who laid witness to the atrocities, to see actual photographs, to look at the figures of the province of my own great grandmother (Kharpert) and see the numbers of the people who died- I felt truly honored and blessed to be in my own homeland, to be getting a piece of my past, and to be able to bring it back to my entire family.

To have had the wonderful experience of seeing so many ancient churches, to see incredible gorges, beautiful snow-capped mountains, quaint little villages, to have dined on all different kinds of Armenian homemade delicacies, to have met quite a few nice Armenians who have explained in detail to me the way of life here, to have experienced the bohemia of Yerevan, to have had the overwhelming amount of experiences I’ve had in a mere 10 days- I am incredibly fortunate. My life is an amazing continuation of events, and it only gets better as time goes on.

Tomorrow I leave for London. Time for another adventure.

Much love,

Brittany


1 Comment so far
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Wonderful to hear your voice!!!Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories!!!! Be safe .. Love, Auntie Deb

Comment by Auntie Debbie




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