Coming to Armenia was always a dream for me that I was never able to make into a reality until this year. I am finally able to tell my family and friends that I have seen my Homeland. Although I was a very spiritual person before this trip, I have certainly deepened my love for the Armenian Church and God by coming to Armenia.
Everything about the Homeland is fascinating: the people, the scenery, the monasteries, and the historical sites. Being American in Armenia, one is constantly pampered and taken care of by the locals. My experience during my internship at the Ministry of Diaspora was one that I would never forget. I was constantly offered fresh apricots every morning and after coming back from lunch, a coffee session was always in store. Seeing such a relaxed atmosphere in the workplace made me feel so comfortable and welcomed. In fact, my first day on the job, I met the head of the Ministry, Hranush Hakobyan, in the elevator. I was introduced to her and immediately she began talking to me. While heading to a conference room full of TV cameras, I told her I sing, and she insisted that I sing for the children at the conference. Not knowing what exactly was going on, I found myself in front of a podium singing a song! It was an exciting first day to say the least.
In America, going to Church is more of a task as opposed to a way of life. One particular example of this was when the group went to Soorp Etchmiadzin. What a breathtaking Church with hundreds flocking in to say a prayer or light a candle. One can really feel spiritually uplifted just by walking into the Church. The people in Armenia have so much belief and dedication to their religion. It certainly put a smile on my face. Even visiting other monasteries made me feel so close to God. For example, when we climbed down into the chamber of Khor Virap and sang Der Voghormia, I felt so close to God. Having set foot in the place where our forefathers suffered really made me feel proud to be Armenian. So many people before us gave their lives so that we can be an independent Republic and live in peace.
This trip has opened my eyes and made me appreciate the life that I live in America. Being American, we constantly take life for granted. We are blessed for having what we have in our lives and this trip has really opened my eyes to see that.