I am currently sitting on my balcony with a breathtaking view of Ararat and Masis. Although my view of Masis is blocked by some old apartments, it’s still gorgeous – exactly the way it looks in all the textbooks. The mountain tops are both covered in white powdery snow. It doesn’t even look real – it looks like a backdrop of a photo shoot.
Honestly, I can’t believe I’m here. The plane ride from Moscow to Yerevan was an incredible experience, which is going to be difficult to explain in words, but I’ll try my best. I sat next to a woman named Irina. She is half Armenian and half Russian and lives in New York. She has two daughters, one is 18 years old and the other is 6 years old. She was telling me how she went to Armenia for the first time about 6 months ago and fell absolutely in love with everything about it – the people, the language, the food, the music, the lifestyle. This is her second trip to Armenia. When I told her that I was 100% Armenian and could speak, read and write Armenian, she was shocked. She was very impressed at the fact that I was going to Armenia to for an internship. I told her that this was my first time visiting Armenia. She warned me that I would fall in love with it, just as she did, and will never want to leave. So far she’s 100% correct.
About 10 minutes before landing at Zvartnots Airport, I started looking anxiously over Irina’s shoulder and out the window, and what I saw to my left was amazing. We flew right by Ararat. It was incredible. I have never seen anything like it. I couldn’t believe it. There it was, Mount Ararat, right before my very eyes. The mountain which I had drawn a million times in my school notebooks (remember Hayrig? You and I would draw it all the time), the iconic symbol of Armenia I had learned about for so many years at Hamasdegh, was right there in front of me. It felt like a dream. I suddenly started feeling my heart race. I couldn’t believe that I was about to land in my homeland.
At that very moment, Irina asked about my parents. She asked if they had ever been to Armenia before. I said no, as my eyes started to slowly fill up with tears. I felt guilty that I was about to take on this journey without them. I wish they could be here to experience it as well.
Moments later, the plane started to quickly descend. We landed in Yerevan, Armenia. All of the passengers on the plane started to clap. I immediately started crying. Irina asked me what was wrong. I told her that I was just so happy to finally be home, in the country that I have been dreaming of going to for years, the country that I am so proud to say I am from. She hugged me, held me, and started smiling. “It’s okay,” she said. “Cry as much as you’d like. You’re home now.”
Since landing in Armenia, I have had a huge smile on my face. I can’t help it. I have been up for over 24 hours and have no desire to go to sleep. I can’t wait to see what Armenia has to offer and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
I am so thankful I was raised a proud Armenian, and for teaching me the importance of keeping in touch with my Armenian roots. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.