We have been in Hayastan for over a week and all i can say is i can't believe how fast time is flying by. With only a little over a week to go, we still have so much to see and do and it is so exciting! There are two things that have really opened my eyes while on this pilgrimage. One of them is the gratitude i have towards my parents for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip. Walking down the streets of Yerevan and seeing homeless people beg for money or food, or simply asking if we can buy pumpkin seeds to support them is very overwhelming. This pilgrimage has shown me how grateful i should be that i was given the chance to go and see my motherland. i know many friends and relatives back home that wish they could experience Armenia but cannot afford it. at some points, i feel sad that here i am, having the time of my life in Armenia, while others simply don't have the money to see their motherland. I thank god everyday for what i have and make sure i bring back many souvenirs and pictures to show everyone how much i care for them and how they are here in spirit with me.
Another thing that touched me involved the tours and visits to all the churches. Out of all the sight seeing we have done so far, about 75% have been churches and monastaries. One thing i noticed is how many International tourists there are , sight seeing different churches and enjoying Armenian food. I've seen Italians, Greeks, Americans, Persians, all different types of nationalities admiring these Armenian churches. I'm thinking to myself "Out of all the countries in the world, why do they choose to come to Armenia?" Back at home, most of my American friends don't even know that Armenian is a country or where it is located. I've come to realize that these international, non-armenian guests all came here to admire our churches and culture. We were the first nation to accept Christianity as the nation religion and many of our churches still remain in original form for over 1000 years. Although some have been remodeled and upkept, it is amazing how peaceful and calm these places are. The architecture and art within the churches are breathtaking and have given me a new respect towards my culture. I now realize why these different cultures have come to Armenia; to see where and how Christianity began.
I have never felt more proud to be Armenian in my life.