What I always miss the most about any place I visit, is the people. However, for Armenia, this is not the case. One of my placements in Armenia was at the Pawsitive dog shelter. When it dawned on me that I would not get to see my sweet furry friends again, I felt heartbroken and my eyes and cheeks transformed into a fast-flowing waterfall. I cried, for hours.
“Family values are present in Armenia, but family in Armenia is not limited to blood relatives.”
Even as I write this, three months later, I deeply miss them all. Having said that, the people is a strong second. I only spent 3 months there, but I made friends that I am sure will stay in my life forever. Family values are present in Armenia, but family in Armenia is not limited to blood relatives. Armenians, when you let them into your life, will care about you in a way that is rare to experience in a western world. They will go out of their way to make sure that you are well and happy. Despite their challenges, they still emit so much love.
However, when one does decide to travel to Armenia, you should be aware that you are stepping into a new culture with a different social reality than what you are used to, especially as a western person. This is a moment to leave your subjectivity behind as you will, most likely, encounter beliefs that strongly contradict your own world view and values, especially if you occupy the left side of the political spectrum, like me. Despite the differences, I experience Armenians to be open for discussions and they easily agree to disagree, which creates opportunity to explore these differences in a constructive manner, thus learning more about yourself, them, and the world. Three months was not long enough to take in all that is Armenia. To be a small country, it has so much to offer and I am already planning to make my way back as soon as I am able to. Once you let Armenia into your heart, it stays.