BY LARA AHARONIAN
I was being lazy lately and not writing much on my blog. The holidays came by and passed so quickly. I had planned a list of things to do, to write, to prepare for the New Year and did so little actually.
I started my 7th year in Armenia and I just noticed that my moving here and transition from the life I had in Canada to the Armenian one is so clearly embedded in my children’s different personalities.
Amassia is my Canada; she was almost 3 when we left. I was a very paranoid mom at that time and while learning the joys and pains of motherhood, I was finishing my master’s degree in Montreal. Since the North American society teaches you that every stranger that approaches your kid might is a potential abductor or the kindergarten teacher could be a pedophile, it was very difficult not to teach her from a young age to stay away from strangers or to not accept candies and to always stay beside mom or dad whenever outside. Today, she is the careful one, always watching people closely, noticing things, not smiling to strangers on the street greeting her (very common in Armenia), never accepting candies, always seeing that I am there, close in case she needs something.
She is also the one that worries about the environment a lot, gets angry when sees a broken tree, hates to see the garbage on the street and always thinking of ways to change that. Even lately, I saw her preparing recycling bags for paper and plastic and asking everyone (insisting) to use it. She finds Armenia too dirty, too racist and sometimes boring.
Varanta is my transition period; she was 8 months old when we arrived. I think at that time I was the only mom breastfeeding in public, almost everywhere. I was even once asked at a children’s indoor playground to go to the kitchen to breastfeed. Which of course I refused to do! And had a huge argument with the psychologist on why I chose to breastfeed there where my other child was playing…but that’s a whole other story.
Varanta eats only spass(Armenian yogut soup), borsht and vermicelle and loves khachapuri, galbass (processed meat) and cheese. She calls everyone “guyrik”(little sister) and “aperik”(little brother). She is friendly with almost everyone and when she gets angry she shouts like a crazy lady “hima tes yes inch em anelu qez! Spanelu em!” (Now, look what I am going to do with you! I am going to kill you!”.
She finds Armenia a little dirty, not so racist and whenever she visits her grand-parents in Montreal, she starts missing her “home” back in Armenia and she repeats: gnank tun eli! Karotel em! (let’s go back, I miss home)
Vayk is my Armenia; he was born here, in Yerevan. Everyone is for him a “morkur”, “tati”, “hopar” or “guyrik” “aperik” (aunt, uncle, brother, sister or grandmother). He talks to everyone without fear. He almost never speaks in western Armenian. He uses a lot of Russian words, which is a challenge when he talks to my parents over the phone. They completely lose it when he starts talking about “militsia”(police) and “samalyot”(plane) and “chelavek pawuk”(spiderman)… He enjoys simple things like a walk to the vernissage to pet the small dogs on sale, the bonchikanots for yummy Armenian donuts and the different children’s puppet shows on Sundays.
I certainly learned a lot as a mother. I did let go of some of my deepest fears. I gave more space to my children to grow.
Although bad things do happen in Armenia, but I still believe it is a healthier and happier place to raise children.
January 17, 2010 – Yerevan, Armenia
From: Motherhood, Repatriation and other fictions