I would like to first wish all of you a Happy New Year (Շնորհաւոր Նոր Տարի)!
My name is Shant Meguerditchian and I’d like to welcome you to my first blog post as we enter the new year. Many of my friends have waited for me (impatiently) to start a blog so I can share my experiences during my time in Armenia. One of my best friends Stepan Keshisian, who I met a year and a half ago, has graciously allowed me to use his blog “Hosank” to write about my experiences and share with the rest of you.
I’ve been in Armenia for almost 2 months now and I can say without a doubt that my experiences have been unforgettable and always accompanied with a better understanding of my thoughts, of others, and of my homeland. To give you a small peek into my life, I grew up in Orange County, California where I was, with surprise to most people I meet, immersed into everything Armenian. I’ve been raised in an Armenian community and have mostly Armenian friends. I’m a member of the Armenian Youth Federation and have worked for the Armenian National Committee of America in Glendale. I have been to Armenia twice before, in 2007 and 2012. When I visited in 2012 I came on behalf of the Olive Tree Initiative, which included my professors, and students who were Armenian, Turkish, and of other backgrounds. During the trip I traveled to Turkey for the first time with the purpose of meeting with historians, journalists, diplomats, organizational leaders, and ordinary citizens in both Armenia and Turkey. The trip helped me understand today’s thinking in Turkey when it comes to Armenian’s, Armenia, and the Armenian Genocide. Although it’s very important to understand Turkey and it’s activities when it comes to Armenian issues, the most important thing I took away from this trip is my homeland and my ignorance towards its needs. As I felt horrible about this, I came to realize that I’m not the only one.
A year ago it didn’t even cross my mind that I would be in Armenia a year later. But my unfamiliarity with my homeland was just one I couldn’t bear to do with any longer after my experience in 2012. As a diasporan of what once was Western Armenia, I considered myself an Armenian who knows more than most others about Armenia and its current state. I’ve come to realize that I have much to learn. I don’t blame this on anyone but myself. I do believe I have made the first step towards my journey to understanding what my homeland needs.
I’m not ashamed to say that one of the things that I love most about my life is being Armenian. I’m also not ashamed to say that what I want to do with my life is immerse myself in Armenia and be part of all hardships and successes. It’s easy to say all of this but it’s much more difficult to act on them. It’s important to ask why, what, and most importantly HOW? How do I help bring positive change to Armenia? Some people have already figured it out and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them during my 2 months here. They have all told me that you must breathe, see, and feel what your homeland does in order to understand what it needs. This is why I’m here. The goal of my blog is to help you understand just that.
The first week I was here I was told that my blogs won’t help others understand my experiences clearly or vicariously live through them. It was surprising to hear this because many of my friends had said they will be living vicariously through my blogs. This is why I’ve decided to end all my blogs with these last words…
You must live, breathe, and feel for yourself and not through others.
Until next time.