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Armenian by Birth
Mari Anazonian
Mari Anazonian
| From Buenos Aires, Argentina | Moved in 2014

Mari Anazonian is an Armenian who was born in Argentina. She went to school, graduated from Universidad de Ciencias Empresariales y Sociales (UCES) College, and worked there up until nine months ago, when she decided to move to Armenia.
In Argentina, Mari was always involved in the Armenian community. She attended an Armenian school, and went to an Armenian scout club.
Mari’s first visit to Armenia was a couple of years ago. Here, she visited her acquaintance from Argentina who was volunteering at Birthright Armenia, and that is where the idea of coming to Armenia to volunteer came to her. Although she was on track with everything she had to do to enjoy a comfortable life in Argentina, she always knew there was something missing. Being comfortable was not enough for her, she had to do something, and that something was volunteering at Birthright Armenia. She decided she wanted to do this for the sake of helping Armenia in the only way she knew how and to help discover herself in the process.
The beginning of her volunteer time in Armenia was very hard, she did not know Eastern Armenian well, and communicating with the locals was difficult. She frequently thought of quitting and moving back to Argentina due to the language barrier, but, her friends at Birthright always encouraged her to stay and try.
After months of volunteering, she had to leave. “Tears fell from my eyes in a way I could not have expected”, stated Mari. But then an opportunity to stay in Armenia and work came about; she was offered a job at Converse Bank. This was her open door to living in Armenia, and she could not miss the chance.
It has already been nine months since Mari has been working and living in Armenia. She is currently working at the Converse Bank headquarters.
Mari feels safe in Armenia, and stated that,
Armenia is a safe place to be, you can go anywhere alone at night, leave your bag and cellphone on the table in a public place, not lock your apartment door, and yet feel safe. I never felt this way in Argentina. There, you always have to look behind you and check whether someone is following you or not, there, you can never hold your cellphone in public or even put jewelry because you will be robbed”.
“I have family abroad, my brothers and my mom live in Argentina”, said Mari, but she feels it is hard for them to move to Armenia because they have settled down there.
Mari already has friends in Armenia, many of whom are like family. “My host-parents are like my family and my host-sister is a sister to me, we are always in contact and spend time together”, stated Mari about her host-family, with whom she spent her volunteering time.
“I advise diaspora Armenians to just take the step and move to Armenia”, said she, and continued by referring to a video that was posted on the Birthright Facebook page lately titled,  ‘Why not?’. Mari concluded by saying, “Why not move to Armenia?”
Conducted by Nayiry Keshishian
Edited by Amy Gavroian

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