When I was 13 years old I took a trip to Armenia, which is the country my family comes from, and that trip changed my life. For the first time, I viewed the world through a different lens, and was able to better understand how lucky I am to live in America and be blessed with so many things that are a distant dream to many of the people in Armenia.
â–º Quarter Finalist 2011 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I remember arriving to the airport and thinking to myself, "Wow. I am actually here." The thought of traveling to a land where my ancestors lived their whole lives was mind blowing to me. As we were driving in the streets of Armenia, it truly struck me how less fortunate the people living in this country are then most of those who live in America. The roads were dust and sand, with a bunch of bumps and hills, which made me jump up and down in my seat as I peered out the window with disbelief. My sister Silva cried the whole way home, because of the huge change there was from American to Armenia. I was wondering how people could actually live in this place and I began looking down on the people as inferiors. That was the biggest mistake that I could have made. I was no better than these people. Having more money, a better car, or a better house doesn't make someone higher. This was the greatest knowledge I took away from my trip to Armenia.
After spending a month with the people, and truly getting to know them, I realized how amazing they were. I got to see my aunt and her family for the first time in my life, which truly touched my heart. They were such amazing people. It didn't matter if they had to shower by heating up buckets of water on the stove, or if they had they use a hole in the ground as a toilet, or if they had to repeat their outfits daily. What mattered was the kind of people they were. I created relationships in Armenia that I will never forget about. I lived in the city, and I lived in the farms, and I lived in the forests. I got to experience every aspect of Armenian life and they were all amazing in their own ways. Thinking back to my trip gets me choked up, because it was just unforgettable. How could anyone experience what I did, and not change as a person.
Going to Armenia was the greatest trip I have ever taken, and will probably stay that way no matter what. I experienced feelings, sights, and emotions that can't be recreated anywhere else. That was why it was such an important trip for me. I became more thankful for what I have and stopped complaining about things that didn't matter. Living in Armenia for a month showed me what it was that truly mattered, and made me disregard the materialistic things that used to be the so important in my life.
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