Zarmine (Zara) Zeitountsian
“I am going back to Armenia. Who’s with me?”

| From Los Angeles, USA | Moved in 2010

I was twenty-two years old when I left Armenia. Years later I spontaneously made up my mind to move back here. Within the space of 10 days, I just decided this is where I belong and I said: “I am going back to Armenia. Who’s with me?”

Born and raised in Armenia I always questioned who I was and what my mission in life was; I thought that being an Armenian was a responsibility, some kind of a burden that I could not cope with. I realized that I wanted to be a part of something bigger, to become a citizen of the world. So at the age of 22 I first moved to Moscow, then to Los Angeles. My parents continued to live in Armenia, so I used to visit at least once a year, sometimes even twice. Years later, I had accomplished all my personal goals; I had a very interesting job and I’d integrated pretty well in the US, but I realized that there was something missing. I knew it was the sense of belonging. I missed the feeling of being at home. So, in a very short period of time I made the decision to move to Armenia for good.

My daughter was only one when she left Armenia. She once told me: “There is something in the value system in Armenia that makes me so attached to it.” I came to the realization that I didn’t get to choose my motherland (in the same way that I didn’t get to choose my parents). Whether it’s good or bad, I shouldn’t just abandon it hoping to come back when things get better.

Living in Armenia is different in so many ways: mentality, values and so on. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to start from scratch. My parents repatriated from Egypt when they were 10 and 4, and it was difficult for them too. When I was moving I asked myself something which I would advise every future repat to ask themselves: “Am I ready to be the change?” It turned out that I was.  I found a job in RVVZ Foundation, where I currently hold the position of Development Department Director. I integrated very quickly. For me personally Armenia is the only place to be.

Have I ever thought about leaving again? No.

Posted byPrepared by Laura Samvelyan-Edited by Anahit Galstyan
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