About my life in Armenia, about being a mom and an activist, working for women's rights.
The challenges and benefits of raising a family in a post-soviet republic.
Finding a place, my place and calling it HOME.


Some of us will die on this land

I know it’s depressing to talk about death, loss and bereavement but some recent events made me think more and more about this topic.

Sose and Allen
A couple of months ago, the sudden death of a young repat couple, Sosé and Allen shook the whole repat community in Armenia. The funny thing is that for most of us who move to Armenia, we mostly think of how to make it here, how to find a job, build a home, find our place. We rarely reflect on how we will die here on this land. I know that this can be a depressing topic for some but I wanted to share it anyways, since it’s been haunting me for the past months. I think being a mom of four kids is adding also on the stress of thinking on these issues.

You can climb Ararat 
A couple of years ago, when Levon, a middle-aged repat passed away alone of a heart attack in his apartment while his family was in the US, I started thinking of different scenarios of what I would do if I was faced with such a tragedy. How do you deal with these issues in a new country?  How do you think and keep sane when you don’t have immediate family close by? One day, I asked a repat friend where he wanted to get buried if he died in Armenia? He looked at me shocked and started panicking. First he said “here, on this land”, then he wasn’t so sure. He thought of his family there. He felt that he belonged there as well. Then, of course he changed the topic. Who wants to talk about death when you came on this land to live with so many hopes and plans, right?

Each culture has its own way of expressing and dealing with grief and mourning. Armenia, in this area, is still very much influenced by former Soviet Union customs and traditions: meaning every single detail is dealt in the family not in funeral homes (as we know it in the west).


Canadian Adventures: Camp Tamaracouta

For as long as i remember scouting was always part of my life. I used to be a girl guide in Lebanon for a while, then when we moved to Montreal, i got involved in the movement here as a cub assistant then a leader. My nickname was Akela and i volunteered for almost 10 years with different groups, then started to train others with Scouts Canada to become beaver or cub leaders. Most of what helps me to survive in life i have learned in scouting: cooking, taking care of myself, persisting in times of despair, adapting to changes, rescuing, healthy living, public speaking, being creative...and much more. It was also during my volunteer years in scouting that i met most of my best friends and my life partner. I remember how i used to spend days and evenings planning, organizing and preparing for the next camping, event or cuboree. I loved working with cubs (8-12 year olds). There was a time in my life, when i was a University student that my duties as a cub leader were above all. Most of my sundays were spent at the church basement singing, playing and discovering the world around with a group of 32-34 eager girl cubs.


Mima is gone, but not entirely

Finally back to Canada, with the entire family.  When we leave a place, we never really leave it completely; we just grab some parts of it and take it with us everywhere, then add some parts to it over time. We collect fragments of life through our journey across borders and lifestyles. Sometimes we let go of some parts, we hold on desperately to others. We rarely let go completely. So each return starts with a feeling of unease.

On the 4th morning after my arrival to Montreal, Mima passed away. The nurse at the elderly home said it was a beautiful death. I am not sure what that meant. Sometimes people need to say those things to comfort the family. I guess she meant that she died peacefully in her sleep without bothering anyone. I am happy for her, since she was looking forward to this day, especially after the death of her husband, my grandfather over 15 years ago. She never managed to find a meaning to her life after that. She was one of those women who devoted all their life to their family. She opened her first bank account at 70, after my grandfather’s death, to receive her pension. I don’t remember her having any kind of hobby or interest in life other than what was going on in the kitchen and in the house. Dado (my grandfather) used to take her everywhere, entertain her and decide for her well-being. When he died, her life collapsed. She relied heavily on my mom afterwards, but it wasn’t the same. After 50 years with my grandfather she never thought that she’d one day be left alone to manage her own life. 


It's my park, keep it clean!

We woke up very early, as usual and after sending the older kids to school and cuddling for a while with baba, Yeprad, my 2-year-old and I went out for our regular walk down Baghramyan street towards our favorite park. After greeting every single dog, cat and bird, on our way and waving to the "babik" on his horse (Marshal Baghramyan) at the corner of Proshyan and mimicking the police car sound effect, we finally entered Lover’s Park. I was following my little guy quietly, enjoying the peaceful morning when we approached one of the benches. Suddenly, Yeprad got upset, changing the tone of his voice, pointing with his finger  to something on the floor and calling it: "amot, amot, badij!"(shame, shame on you, punish) - Finally I realized that he was pointing at chocolate wrapper on the floor near the bench and was angry at the people who might have thrown it on the ground, dirtying "his" park. We usually teach him not to throw waste on the floor and keep nature clean. His babysitter had also taught him the word "amot", unfortunately, so he uses it whenever something bothers him or make him angry:) 


Khnko Aper Children's Library

"We are homesick most for the places we have never known." - C. McCullers

It was too cold today to go skating at the open air skating ring near the opera, so we decided to spend some time at our favourite children’s library, Khnko Aper. Vayk, my son was very excited, he likes the big format books in French and the enormous chandelier hanging in the middle of the high ceiling between the staircase. The old lady who has been working at the reception since the soviet times shows him how the lights on that magical chandelier are turned on to gradually illuminate the whole floors.