My Way Home
| From Moscow, Russia | Moved in 2009
Sona Baghdasaryan is an Armenian who has lived most of her life in Russia. She was born and raised there, attended school, and got her college degree in design and photography.
“Our family has been in Russia for a long time now. My father moved to Moscow in 1976, my siblings and I were born there. Though we were in a different land, at least we spoke to each other in Armenian, my parents always wanted us to preserve the language. Every year we visited our fatherland, every summer we spent it in Armenia. We were always excited to go, we couldn’t wait to go to the village, to see our grandparents, and we were always eager and looking forward to it. Our connection with Armenia was always there, since birth, until 1992. During the war we had difficulties and we weren’t able to visit, and after that we went to college, and after college we had to work. In other words, there was a chain reaction, and it kept us from visiting our fatherland.”
In 2008, she quit her job. The firm was shut down, and she decided to come to Armenia for a month to clear her mind, she wanted to understand what she wanted to do. She realized that her destiny is in her fatherland, she wanted to live in Armenia. She had to find a job to start a new life.
“What really pushed me forward and made me move here, was the fact that I knew it was 100% my home. I lived with my own people, my own culture. This was my true home. At first my brother was with me, but he only stayed for a year due to unfortunate events, and later he moved back to Moscow. He wanted to stay in Armenia very badly, but it did not work out for him. As for me, I always felt free and it was very convenient. In Russia, I always felt that something was missing, but in Armenia, it was complete.”
Sona always wanted to work freelance, she didn’t want to be dependent on a firm, and she found offices dreadful and bitter. She prefers freedom, which is why she considers freelance work a solution. She still continues to work in her fields of interest, design and photography, and she faces little to no problem at all.
The mentality of Armenians wasn’t a problem for her either. She thinks that every person is brought up in a different environment and she doesn’t like to generalize things. Maybe certain things seemed odd and bizarre to her, but she accepted them and did not consider it a problem, nor something she should be upset with.
“Armenia has been through changes since I first moved here. The biggest difference is that it is calmer and more peaceful. It is as if I have been here my whole life. My family visits often and they stay here for a long time. They stay at the village, where my father was born. I try to visit it as much as I can. I love it very much, and the natural wonders are simply stunning. Most of my childhood memories were created there, I remember shaking the trees to collect mulberries. It is because of those fond memories that I feel I belong here.”
As for the future, Sona doesn’t like to make assumptions, but she is definitely not considering moving away anytime soon. One thing she can say for certain is that she is staying. Jobs will always be there and the possibilities are endless; a point she keeps coming back to.
She also enjoys camping and traveling around the country. She loves to embrace nature, and her favorite places are the forests. She likes the fact that she can get anywhere rather swiftly since the country is small. She is always up for a travel adventure and she is always excited. Sona has also considered living outside Yerevan, because “escaping the heat would be perfect”, she jokes.
“People should definitely visit Armenia. If you love your fatherland, don’t be scared to explore. The least we can do is try, and it is worth it for sure. Armenia is the only place where I feel comfortable. I have always wondered what would have happened if I hadn’t lived in Russia. How different would I have been if I was born in Armenia? I only hope that I would have been the exact same person, I hope I would have still wanted to live here and have a family. I am thankful that everything that has happened to me has been exactly the way I had planned it to be. I wouldn’t change anything about Armenia, more specifically, about the landscape itself, but it would be just perfect if everyone had the chance to live in good conditions and to get paid well. It is a good thing that we still have time to change, we still have time to break the stereotype. We should start from within and go through positive changes, but also preserve our culture. It is only then that our country will become mighty. When I first moved here everyone would ask me why I came here, there is nothing here, but my feelings are far more important than other people’s opinions. I don’t consider myself from the diaspora as I am fully Armenian.”
Interview conducted by Ani Akkam
Editing by Armen Martirosian
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