Ինչո՞ւ արժե ապրել Հայաստանում: Как и почему происходит репатриация в Армению?
How did the relatives treat your idea of moving to Armenia? They're happy, when I wanted in 2018 One day I came home and said: "Mum and Dad I'm going to Armenia" They'd also like to move, so treated the news well You decided and immediately moved. -Yes. Why to live in Armenia? Part 1 We're in Dilijan now, and Marietta, who I'd like to introduce to you has come to Armenia, and Dilijan, not so difficult times When did you come? and How did you appear in Dilijan? I came to Armenia and exactly Dilijan 3 months ago It happened so, that after the war a lot of things were changed in me and my mind, and I knew that I wanted to do something for my homeland - Armenia for some time, frankly speaking, I lived in Russia my whole life, but I was born in Armenia, and after the war it happened that I came to Dilijan, and I live here now. Where did you come from? From Tyumen, Siberia. I knew that you're from Tyumen :) And the decision you made to move to Armenia, How did your relatives and especially the parents react to it? My parents as well as my relatives and friends are in a sock up to now As I was offered a job in Moscow, St. Petersburg, I had a good job in Tyumen as well and I enjoyed my life there, but I came home one day and said: "Mum and Dad, I'm going to Armenia" They fought for the holidays, as I always came here for the holidays, But I told them that I had a job offer and I'm moving there. "How? Alone? We're here and you there?" I live with my family, so it's strange for them that I was going to live here alone.
They still call me and ask when I'd return, And I'm like "Mum, I'm here for a while" And what place is this? Can you say in two words? I live here, it's the second to be built so, it's not typical for Dilijan, for the workers of The Central Bank of Armenia, The Central Bank brought his workers from Yerevan to Dilijan some years ago, and built such building in order to provide the necessary conditions, I also live here, it's a very interesting building with the elevator, Comfortable. One more question, you said you're born in Armenia, And when did you go? As your Armenian is well enough, better than mine, I'd say. Thanks Hayk jan, I'm constantly upset when I think my Armenian isn't so well, We went to Tyumen when I was 4, I was born in Vanadzor, so I may have the sweet accent of Vanadzor But the Russian accent is also mixed a lot, as I lived 25 years in Tyumen, How did you speak Armenian? As a lot of Armenians live in Russia and then forget Armenian, Yes, there's such problem, we have the courses of Armenian in the Armenian community of Tyumen, but we speak Armenian in our family up to now, I speak Armenian to my parents, brother and also with my grandma, when she was alive, it was very important for them for their kids to speak Armenian, When I came to Armenia, I started learning to read I read like in a first grade, very slowly, but when they write Marietta jan, I immediately understand it. I hope I'll learn to write as well. In my case it was the same, like in the first grade, but then everything is well, I hope I'll also learn it, it's important.
You wrote in your Instagram "I left France for Armenia, as it's never late to change the life". Can you tell why you decided to leave France and for what reasons? I lived in Paris, I was brought up there, I decided to move to Armenia in 2018, as there is Francophonie, which happens every 4 year, I learnt that France is coming to Armenia, And when our president spoke about Armenia, I cried in front of the TV, as I was very happy that this president was talking about our small country, so I thought, I felt that I should go to Armenia, then I wanted to find a job but I failed, a year passed and I came to Armenia in 2019, There is a French-Armenian organization "Ayo" and organizes a camp every summer, in a village in Armenia, so I came and felt that I'm very happy here, I should try to come here again, and I learnt that there is an organization- foundation, which deals with the Armenians from the Diaspora, Which organization? -"Birthright Armenia" it was my last day here, I was going to France the next day , I met Sevan - our boss I asked advice for moving here, I didn't know what they do here, It's a problem, as it means that I'm the target, I must know about "Birthright Armenia" as an Armenian from France but I didn't know. So I came and asked him for his advice, He said that maybe I didn't want to be a volunteer, as I'm already 28. I said "No", as I had a good job there, I was working in the Ministry of Education, I didn't imagine that I'd leave to volunteer. He said that he didn't have any advice, but asked for my CV. I left my CV there.
Then he called me in the evening, and asked whether I could go there again. I was interviewed and the next day, they wanted me to work for them, as the head of marketing here. I had the same job in France. It's a very interesting story, and How did the relatives react to your moving to Armenia? When I wanted in 2018, they were happy, but I felt that my dad was a little nervous, he said whether I knew that Armenia greatly differs from France, because I was brought up in French culture, no I was brought up in the Armenian culture, but I feel myself French, it's very important for me, I never say that I'm only Armenian, I'm also French so, my dad felt and said that it would be much more difficult for me there, but I wasn't afraid, I wanted to come, I thought that I should come, then they saw that I was sure and happy, they decided not to say anything, as I would come and see by my own.
And they're very happy now, they don't want me back in France Do they come here? - Yes. My dad came with me, so as I could move here they came again here this summer, as it was my birthday, and they realized that I'm happy here, and they're very happy now. You already spoke about "Ayo", you said that you organized camps every year, what kind of camps? We decide to go a village very year, as there is a need of the education or art, always it should be one of them, and we go to a village, where a renovation is needed either a school or kindergarten, but always connected with kids.
I did it this year too. But when I decided to stay here in 2019, it was in Hartavan village, close to Aparan, and we repaired a hall, hall yes ? Gym? I started to speak Russian))) People come from France to Armenia in order to learn Russian)))) we repaired a hall, and spent time there, with kids 3 weeks, Can you tell us, why you came to Armenia, in which programs and why did you decide to live Armenia? I decided to move to Armenia in 2018, and I'd say I chose "Birthright Armenia", I was told about this it from my friends, You know about this project, that the Armenians come back to Armenia to volunteer, and then they decide whether to stay or not, and went back to their countries. What did you do as a volunteer? I was a volunteer in the bakery, as a confectioner. Here in Gyumri? - Yes here in Gyumri. There was no vacant place in Yerevan, to accept me in that job, I don't know what they thought, but they agreed to accept me here as a volunteer, so I volunteered there one and a half month, and I understood that I could live in Armenia, What I thought was reality, and so I stayed. How did you decide to volunteer? How did the idea come? As there isn't so much volunteer atmosphere in Russia, Yes, there isn't really, I never thought that volunteering is a bad thing, It's obvious that you'd never think no, but a lot of people think like in Russia, as they think that a volunteer is a slave.
I never thought that I'd come... But how did you get acquainted with "Birthright Armenia"? My friends had done that project. They'd told me, so I entered and saw what they did, I liked it.
And then I signed for it. But did you think that you'd stay when you're coming to Armenia, I constantly came to Armenia between 2017-2018, and I wanted to try whether I could stay or not, so I came by "Birthright Armenia", tried and realized that's mine and stayed here. As I've told I was dreaming about my bakery from the age of 15, and it happened so that I came to Gyumri, I volunteered, then I baked and sold the cakes to several cafes in Gyumri, and I understood that there is a demand. Some people in Gyumri don't want to go to Yerevan every time, not only to get fresh cakes but also breakfast, as there aren't any types in Gyumri, so they went to Yerevan to visit the cafes for the good environment. Will you tell us how you moved to Armenia from Australia, Shahe jan? Frankly speaking, it's already 20 years that we come for the holidays, starting from 1997-1998 and every year we think how we should go back very excitedly, and then you went back to your normal life after 2-3 weeks, and you forget your main goal, but About 2 years ago, we decided that if we didn't move forever, we'd lose the chance, as our kids were growing up there, and we decided to put everything, a house, just everything in a box and transfer from Australia to Armenia, so you decided and immediately came to Armenia - Yes. And what were you doing in Australia? and what do you do in Armenia now? I was an architect and I had my studio in Australia, not a 30, buy about a 25 year studio.
And generally I'm not only an architect, but in TUMO I'm the head of the construction here, the construction department in general, the questions concerning it, the facilities, and the renovation and new buildings. TUMO has a lot of new buildings in its projects, what vision do you have concerning the construction, new buildings? Why is it important to pay attention to the architecture, when you're providing educational program? Everyone says so, even we say that we're an educational project, frankly speaking, the educational place is very important, as it encourages the people, the students, and so, when there're TUMO centers, you surely know about the boxes, they'll move somehow, from their ordinary world and we'll go to a completely different place. And this process is very important to feel that they're in a completely different place, and there's need for different approaches.
This is important, and we're obliged as we had very clever and progressive architects by our side, Bernard Coury and MVRDV recently, and they have very interesting it's a leading Dutch organization, as far as I know, in the world, a large organization and they have very clever solutions we work with them in order to finish the building of EU now it's in the stage of design, and it'll be done in 2 or 2.5 years, next to our building, in parallel it'll be a very interesting and different building in Yerevan. At least this nation hasn't seen yet. Will you tell us about the "Birthright Armenia"? "Birthright Armenia" or "Depi Hayk" in Armenian, is an organization, founded in 2003, our boss is Edil Hovnanyan, The Hovnanyans are a big family, She came to Armenia, when she was younger, From where? - The US.
Around New York. She came to Armenia and saw that, when you're young and you come to Armenia, it's completely different to discover Armenia by tourism, but if you see how is working in Armenia, The communication with people - Yes, correct, Let's say that it's a different experience, and she decided so, she knew about "Birthright Israel", as they brought Israeli people from the Diaspora, and it's a short program, as I know 10 days so she decided to create "Birthright Armenia" but in a longer period, she doesn't want them to come for 10 days, as it'll be intensive, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but "Birthright Israel" is supported by the State, I'm not sure, maybe yes, but then changed, Was it private? OK, we'll know and put on the screen, But she decided to do for a longer period, that's why until 1 year, when the volunteers come, the people from the Diaspora and we organize volunteering for them, or an internship, they have 1 year in maximum, and I also saw, that if they come at least for a year, they communicate well, they understand what's working in Armenia, OK, it's volunteering, but we offer it, but it's activating Network very quickly, and if they decide to stay they know what to do in order to stay here, or they apply for a job, sometimes it happens after volunteering, or they have another project, to open a restaurant so different things, BTW, when "Birthright Israel" saw that we could do it for a year, they changed, and tried to do like "Birthright Armenia" we can't learn from them, as least they learn from us, Yes. So this is "Birthright Armenia" it's for the people from the Diaspora, from 21 until 32 years old, I don't know why this age was decided. 22? -From 21 till 32. People from the Diaspora, you should be at least 25% Armenian, How is it calculated? Must one of the grandparents be Armenian? We always ask for the proof of being 25% Armenian, if your surname isn't Armenian, so, if it's Armenian there is no need. -Yes. So the Moldavians also can come, their surname is also sometimes ended in "yan" Really? We'll check once.
So it's the criterion, volunteering or internship, in Armenia, and we and our partners work with some organization here. In every sphere, it's very important, as they think for example the French understand by volunteering, only repairing and painting the walls, but all the spheres are included- IT, art,culture, education, sport, we have everything marketing, so everything. That's why we always say, when they come and we interview them to understand what they want to do, what sphere they want to go through, and we give the direction, we find the organization, and when they come, we're ready to start volunteering.
I offer to go to the place, where you work, and you'll also show Dilijan to us. Let's go. This is our office, a very beautiful place, we work here with pleasure, Is it a new office? -Yes, yes.
These are our guys who moved from Russia, for example Masha is a Russian, but she came to Armenia, How is it called? She already learns Armenian, that's why she understands you, don't you Masha jan? We have projects concerning tourism, urbanization, the development of the town, as we're talking about the street dogs, or building playgrounds in the yards, What are going to do with the street dogs, for example? It's a plan yet, we must meet and see. And why have you decided to deal with the problem of street dogs? We did surveys and realized that it's a big problem for the town, Frankly speaking, whenever I come here, I see that there's a gigantic amount of street dogs in Dilijan in comparison to other places. Yes, they from home to work and the opposite.
They're our friends. I want to show this map. It's the map of our repatriates, where we show from what cities they moved to here. Now the most part is from Russia, but I think they'll come to Dilijan from all the countries as Dilijan is the center of the universe. Toronto, Orenburg, Rostov, Tyumen, Moscow, from everywhere, even Yerevan, even from Yerevan, If people came even from Yerevan, so people will come all over the world. Yes! And what should we do in order people want to come to Dilijan all over the world? When we moved, we're asked a lot of questions, :"How can we come?" "What can we do?", "What kind of job is there?" "Where do people live?", "Where will the kids will go to school?" so such social, infrastructural questions, and when we came and met some problems, We decided to create a project, which will let the people live in comfort in Dilijan, we're thinking about it, what recourse there will be, that people call us, write and know by one click, how they can come to Dilijan, what is there in Dilijan in general.
And will be easier for them, I think it's a good idea, to make it easier, in order people come and live in Dilijan? So, by making easier, do you mean to find job for them? To create a list, what job is there, what you can look for, what recourses you can use, what flats and houses, so the people see the leisure, community, who has already moved, who you can talk to, to go somewhere, a restaurant, excursion, so every way infostrutural system, Will you use such recourse? Frankly speaking, I'll use and I can say, that when I moved to Armenia, I tried to find a community, repatriates or just people with who it'd be interesting to talk. And there was "AK Armenia" in Yerevan Yes, I know it, it's widespread in Telegram, and thanks to them I could intergrade easier, find more friends so it's a community, and we should have something like it in Dilijan, Great! Let me ask such question, you have a lot of knowledge in architecture, and you lived in some environment in Australia, then when you're coming to Yerevan, and saw the problems of architecture, what did you feel? We have the problem of new buildings, that exist in every yard, It's the most important question in my mind, There are such things in Yerevan, that shouldn't be but it's late, For example? In the center, we have a very good Soviet basis of buildings, and these buildings surround the park, as you've said, and it's a social park, which should be available for the people and residents, as the flats are small in general, it's the occasion for the people to breath, and feel that his in the nature, and there was a protected park away from the street, and like you said, that park slowly-slowly or quickly- quickly, I'm not sure which one it was, they aren't social, but privatized, the garages and so on. The worst option - skyscrapers, so this context is a little bit changed, and if we look from Cascade to the center, instead of seeing 4 or 5 floors buildings, there're towers in the center, that create questions concerning the shadow, as I know it's called shadow here, and the flats, which get heat, also get shadow, there're mixed things here, as I know such movement has already started, there is a basis, that the architects are interested in the city building here, I guess it isn't the correct word, I should remove it. But the city building and the State's power is the best variant, but it's a slow process. So, you see that we've started to think about it already, In our country? -Yes. -Great!
Can you say, when you're living in Australia How much is our Armenian community consolidated in Australia, How much is it concerned about the problems of RA, how much is it involved? I'm so interested. The community isn't so big, 50.000 residents, it's a big number for Armenians, in comparison to the US it's a small number, there are people, who aren't so much interested, but our life is connected with Armenian questions, with Armenian saving questions, the language and so on.
We have an every day lyceum in Australia, there is just one, can you imagine? There are 2 actually, but one of them is till the 6th grade, The goal of our life is only Armenia, Sincerely, it's just Armenia, The organization "Ayo" that I was talking, both my job and leisure time is for Armenia, I talked to the boss a week ago, I can't anymore, if I do my job and life only for Armenia I'm tired and I feel that I'm tired, Like I had a burn out, that's why I always say that you should find the balance. It's really very important. I can say by my example, I've not gone to St. Petersburg 1.5 year, and the same problem appeared in my mind. And you see, when you go, you're rebooting, and see that there's a another world, which differs, so you should go often.
I just realized it. Yes, I felt the same . as if, we forget about ourselves, I forget about me totally, only Armenia I like the mission of this work, I know why I come to work every day, but when I go home and think what to do to involve more Armenians, but it's difficult to stop This work cannot stop... On this day, as we don't an ally, our the only potential ally is the Diaspora, Look, we have volunteers who come for first time, who knew a little about Armenia and Armenians...
I guess very big investments were done here, big investments, and and the atmosphere of this street was greatly changed...