Sitting in my room in the month of June, so many things were running through my mind. College, getting all the classes, trying out for the college soccer team, and a month being gone from home. As the days of June went by, the big day was coming up. On June 28th I started packing, just throwing everything I saw in my room into my luggage. Two days later, I was sitting in an airport with about 20 other people from Arizona, and people from California, and we made the biggest bond anyone can make, a lifetime friendship threw all of us. When we landed I was looking around and the only thing going through my mind there was I need sleep! During the first couple of days in my motherland the jetlag was getting to me, but I got over it a couple of days later. As we started our journey through this amazing place, we all saw AMAZING things, and we were all blessed to have amazing tour guides who got us to all the key sites of Armenia. I got to see monasteries, ancient artifacts, and the Armenia national soccer stadium from the outside (it was awesome haha). As we saw so many things, I couldn't wait to go to Berd to help them out with anything they needed.
When we got to Berd, we were introduced to our week long families who accepted us with wide open arms. The two people who were from my CYMA family that were staying with me at the same house were Alex and Jo. Only these two guys witnessed how much our family MADE me eat haha. They would put so much food in my plate, I would try to make excuses to not eat because of how much it was, while Jo and Alex sat in the back laughing and yelling one word, which was GEEEERRRR(Eat in Armenian). Well, off to a more important subject, we got to hang out with the villagers near a monastery where we were supposed to help clean and fix. As we started digging, I remember Deacon Matt Ash say, "Watch out for anything Man Made!". So I started throwing rocks off to the side when I ran into a rock that looked like a hockey puck. After showing Matt the rock, it looked like a peace of a cross stone, so everyone jumped on to that area of the ground, and they ended up pulling out a 13th century cross stone which was in two pieces, but it was an awesome feeling (it felt like the movie Holes haha). After that amazing week we were supposed to say bye to our families, and that's when we noticed how much they cared for us, and they were forcing us to eat, because they cared so much, and I remember Serop telling me, "Even if you can't communicate back to them in Armenian, you are making them happy just sitting there, because they are seeing different type of people that they probably won't get another chance in seeing". That's when I noticed how privileged we were.
As we started packing our stuff from our home were we live for a month, it finally hit me that I didn't want to leave for another month. Walking into that airport back to Russia was one of the hardest things, because once i knew when I was in, I wouldn't get another opportunity like this for a while. I am so thankful to CYMA, Arahet tour guides, the deacons that helped us with everything, and the people of Berd for opening new perspectives of living and hospitality. Thank you so much!!! ♥
GO CYMA GO!!!