I’m back in Yerevan for the final time before flying back home to America. It’s bittersweet to return for a third time, as this city is starting to feel like a home base for me, however short lived. The seven hour trip from Karabakh was a little painful but knowing I have one full day left doesn’t allow much time for laziness. I need to be in full tourist mode.
Karabakh was definitely a change from other areas we have visited. The people drive flashier cars and show extreme desire for independence of their land while struggling with international recognition as an individual state. It’s a blossoming territory; with modern sculptures along the central square of Stepanakert and construction of new malls in Shushi, it’s on its way to becoming a modern tourist spot. And the locals were definitely excited to see some visitors. Our group was immediately interviewed for the nightly news at the customs office… we were like celebrities. My fellow FAR blogger, Erin, was featured and she did a fantastic job representing the group. It was obvious the citizens were proud of their region and truly wanted to share their land with travelers.
I’m heading back to America tomorrow with great friends, fond memories, and a feeling of camaraderie with my fellow Armenians. They have been hospitable hosts (they never allow guests to work or pay for anything) and were more than excited to help me understand what it means to be an Armenian. There is more growth to be done when I return. A personal analysis of my transforming Armenian-American identity is just beginning.