Dear Armenia…

Sunrise in Getahovit, Armenia (Photo provided by Varak Ghazarian)

I love you. I love you deeply and intimately. You were always integral to who I was as I grew up learning about your past, learning your language and admiring your beauty from afar. Your importance was instilled upon me at a very young age. Yet it all seemed superficial, unaware of your true reality and closed off to your struggles and hardships, your poverty and inequalities. Only the beautiful lay within my vision. 

Yet, as I grew older, I learned the reality of your situation and further understood your depth. At the age of 13 on a fairytale trip with my family, I caught a glimpse of the inequality right next to your center. I felt like that story once told to me was actually a tangible object. Then I came to you again and enjoyed you in a different light with my friends as a near adult. Then coming back and engaging with your youth and your people, I got a tiny taste of your reality and everyday life. I wanted to know and understand more and placed the thought into my mind that I would be back soon in order to get a real taste. 

A real taste I got. Traveling far and wide to the farthest your arms could stretch. Living in several different places, I understood how different and unique every part of you is. How sacred you are and how all those stories once told to me in the past were distant from your daily reality. I walked, talked, learned your language, understood your people, understood your struggle (external and internal), and gained invaluable insight into myself and to your soul. Peace unlike any other found within your mountains and in the homes of your warm people so willing to give everything, even if they were at the risk of losing everything. Sadly, that risk became a reality shortly after.

From going from an all-time high and seeing what a beautiful future lay before you, to living out your darkest days, I could not wait any longer in my comfortable and safe life as you suffered. I came to be where I needed to be. Right by your side, ready for whatever I would be called upon. No fear, just clear-minded and ever so calm. I knew then I needed to be there for you. Our darkest of days followed after so much loss and tragedy struck so close to our hearts. I did not know what to do. I could not leave you. I wanted to find a way to mend our wounds, to find love on a deeper and more profound level, to grow with one another and seek out a way that is best for us. And found a way, I did.

You have changed me forever. You have taught me how to love, how to explore, how to be fearless, how to learn, how to process pain, how to place importance on things that matter, how to be there for others, how to take pride in who I am, how to work hard, how to create powerful bonds, how to help others, how to take action once called upon and how to find purpose in my life. Thank you for making me the human I am today. I love you deeply and profoundly, my Armenia. 

Varak Ghazarian

Varak Ghazarian

Varak Ghazarian is an Armenian-American from Los Angeles who attended a Armenian school his entire life. Upon his graduation from UC Berkeley, he volunteered in Armenia for year with Birthright Armenia. He spent time in Artsakh for a month, where he mentored teenagers in border villages about fundamental topics of health. He currently lives in Armenia, which has opened up a door of imagination that was closed off elsewhere.
Varak Ghazarian

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