My Way Home

02.11.2015
Armenian by Birth
Taline Jivanian
Taline Jivanian
 
| From Damascus, Syria | Moved in 2012

 
Taline first visited Armenia in 2009 as a scout with the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). During her visit, she was in Dilijan and hardly spent any time in Yerevan. By not focusing on the traditional and tourist-friendly sites of Armenia, Taline began seeing Armenia as more than the romantic homeland that she had heard so much about. Armenia had become a place to live her life.
 
Three years later, Taline moved to Armenia from Damascus where she was born. The interest in moving to Armenia was always in the back of her and her husband’s minds and although she did not move because of the war in Syria they did have the foresight to leave before the situation escalated. Prior to moving, Taline earned two degrees from two different universities in Syria; the first in graphic design from the International University of Science and Technology and the second in English literature from the University of Damascus. It was Taline’s family which acted as the primary influence in her taking interest in Armenian culture, language and history. Armenian schools, clubs and the church however taught her that her culture was something sacred and to be proud of.
 
Taline has lived in Armenia for 3.5 years now, and she works at the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies. Working at TUMO has significantly shaped her viewpoint towards what can be accomplished in Armenia. Working with kids and seeing Armenia’s perspective through their eyes has shown her that the new generation has a “hunger to learn and [a] desire to be successful.” It’s clear to her that the new generation imagines a better Armenia and that they are going to create it.
 
Taline describes life in Armenia as “exciting and colorful.” As a repatriated Armenian, she always has funny stories to tell about the adaptation process in Armenia which mostly includes the mixture of Western and Eastern Armenian and how misunderstandings between the two different dialects can lead to funny and memorable events.
“I learned from my own experience that if you approach the adaptation process by being open and willing to learn it is one of the most intriguing experiences you can have.”
 
Her advice to newcomers is to let go of their fears of the unknown and enjoy the “adventure of adapting.” She also wants to emphasize that although Armenia is like any other country, full of challenges which can be overcome, it is also full of opportunities ready for those who want to take advantage of them. Taline believes that “with all our diverse and complex identities combined, we can get past the negativity you sometimes hear and continue building a beautiful country because es yergire yergireh.”
 
Interviewed by Nayiry Keshishian
Edited by David Tashjian

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