Two Years in Armenia

Two years ago yesterday I arrived to Yerevan after a red-eye flight to Tbilisi, and a bumpy marshrutka ride. The marshrutka, a minibus, had a cracked front glass, but I didn’t pay any attention to it. I almost cried when I crossed the border. I had two suitcases and a plan to live in the Armenian capital for about a year. I had a contract, a group of supportive friends, and a dream of creating a happy life in a place so many people leave for Europe. Grass is always greener on the other side, they say.
Somewhere near Gavar, Armenia
It started a year earlier. I came for a summer internship to research emigration. Ironically enough, this took me to my own immigration decision. Armenia just happened to me. I wasn’t scared or anything. It felt normal. Someone was moving to London, someone was moving from a small town to a capital, and I was moving from Poland to Armenia.
I’ve read somewhere that moving to a richer country won’t make you happier. I guess that’s what my guts were telling me when I was sitting in that marshrutka.

In the beginning I thought it was temporary. An adventure. And it was, indeed. The first ten months were the crazy ones. Partying, mending a broken heart that Europe gave me as her farewell gift, going places all over South Caucasus. (Well, I was working too, but that’s not what this post is meant to be about).

Echmiadzin, Armenia
Last spring was different. I got tired of partying. I came to peace with that breakup. I grow bored of my NGO jobs. I missed working as a language professional. I wanted to translate, to play my game with words all over again. I briefly contemplated leaving Armenia. Everything here irritated me. That’s okay, I thought. It’s my time to go. This is what they do, these privileged immigrants, who call themselves expats. They come, they conquer, and then they move on. Now, it’s my turn.

I started translating again, but I wasn’t making enough to risk full time freelancing. I passionately daydreamt about places to go. I was thinking of Prague and the Balkans. I even told some friends that I’m slowly building an exit route.

Except, I never left. 
Lake Sevan, Armenia
Yes, you are right. I met a guy I wanted to settle for. But this story isn’t only about it. We could pick any place in the world, a writer and a musician can do anywhere. We are still here though, and I’m ridiculously content with the life we built. The life we are building.
Yerevan, Armenia
Last spring taught me many lessons. I learnt that escaping is not an answer. That you should quit that job you hate if you know what you love. I learnt that unpopular choices are often the best ones. That if you dream, you have to stand for it. I learnt that I don’t need stuff.
The vastness of space

I never imagined I would stay in Armenia for that long. But I did. I live in a city I really like, sharing my days with a person I love. I made friends here. I quit all the jobs I didn’t like and became a full time translator. I started translating literature again. I started writing poems again. I still don’t understand how I could have neglected what I love the most for so long.

Azat Gorge, Armenia
In the beginning I thought my life in Armenia was temporary. Then I understood that it is meant to last. I managed to create a full life here and I have no reason to make another move. I don’t dare to destroy it for the unknown.  I want to travel and to come home after.
Yes, I’ve just called Yerevan home.

0 thoughts on “Two Years in Armenia”

  1. Your post in so inspiring! I had the same experience a few years ago, when I attempted to settle in a little Slovenian village. Things didn't work out for me and I kept moving, but I still hope to find my place in the world as you did. ps. lovely pics too!

  2. Armenia looks beautiful, I can see why you decided to stay! Loved reading about your experience on such a personal level. I'm so thrilled to read that things are going so well and you were able to return to your true passion full time.

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