Thoughts 2

I was taught by my parents ever since day 1 to love and be kind to everybody. That’s a super cliché thing to say, I know most of us ever since we were born our parents have tried to paint a beautiful and loving world in our minds. Well obviously the real world isn’t even close to what we had in our minds. Not to sound too gloomy but yes that’s the truth.

In my case I guess I was already born with some extra dosage of “mom” hormones or don’t even know what the phenomenon is called. But yes, I’m the “mom” of the group. Not only in my friends’ group, but I’m this over-caring creature who would literally do anything to make others feel they are loved. Ever since I discovered this about me I have felt the need to tone it down. The need arose after I discovered that not everybody has the same heart as I do (yup a cliché sad quote but true) and that too much of anything is bad. That, and I kind of read and related myself to every sad quote I read (my bad)

It took me a lot of time and a set of sad events and losing some of the dearest people in my life to realize that I was wrong. Yes, I confess that I was wrong and so were the sad quotes. Being too caring and living up to the values and principles my parents raised me on is not that bad after all.

I tried so hard to understand and explain to myself that the reason behind every single time I fell on the floor was because of me, who I was and since I loved and cared too much. After almost 24 years and still counting, life slapped me on my face and reminded me the simplest concept coming from Physics! Yup not a big fan but I discovered that it explains a lot. When you throw a ball on the floor the kinetic energy is transferred to potential during the fall and when it hits the floor it bounces back due to conversion of the potential to kinetic. Okay some of the energy is lost as heat and yes probably what I’m remembering is not that perfect, but the thing is – the ball bounces back! The harder you throw the higher and the more frequent the bounce backs but if you throw it several times the ball will reach a point where it wouldn’t bounce back as much as it did the first time.

The logic behind it is simple, we fall several times in life and we bounce back. But what’s fascinating is that the nature of the ball plays a role. The more elastic the ball the higher it bounces back! So yes, elasticity is good. Elasticity is what each one of us view in ourselves as our insecurities or things that we think make us push and pull in and out of the “real world”.

Yes, I am too caring and I’m the “mom” of the group that’s my elasticity and kind of my cushion after each fall. I will fall a lot maybe even more than others but all I know is that who I am will make me reach the point where I won’t bounce back but I will safely land on my feet and stay there stronger than ever.

 

Embrace your elasticity and be good!

PS: Quotes are fun to read not so fun to relate

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First Eurotrip

It all started way back in time when I just started attending university that I wanted to travel alone.  But it wasn’t that easy to save up enough money for the ticket and the expenses and well to have the guts to travel alone as well. As 2018 started out to be the year of independence and self-discovery, I decided that summer 2018 was the perfect time to finally fly away and see not only 1 but 2 of the most beautiful cities of Europe – Paris and Amsterdam. My excitement grew bigger and as usual I started to countdown quite early. Just to show you my excitement … this is what I thought of a month before I actually traveled.

July 1, 2018:

In about exactly a month I will arrive in Paris and so my long-awaited vacation will start. I can barely wait, and my excitement is off the roof! I’m going to observe the beauty of not only one but two of Europe’s most beautiful cities – Paris and Amsterdam. After many years of saving and dreaming, only 30 days are standing in my way of seeing the architectural, historic, and natural beauty of Europe. I can already imagine the details on the buildings, the carved designs stemming from ancient euro-civilizations, the odd languages I will be hearing, and the long-lasting nights.

What’s even better about my vacation is that I will have the opportunity to share it with two of my favorite cousins ever – Raff and Khaj. They know the extent of my excitement and they know me very well so I’m quite anxious about their plans. 14 days of crazy photos and adventure with them … sounds perfect.

To all those who know me well the above will sound normal and to those who don’t know me well? well, this is me!

As soon as the plane touched the land my eyes grew wider and my heart was filled with joy. I was anxious to see the city of love with all it’s beautiful buildings. The first impression I had about Paris? ” Now I know why they call it the city of love!”. The architectural miracles surrounded me and the buildings were magnificent. I felt like I was in a museum. every corner has a story, everywhere you look is a piece of art. The people were always happy and warmhearted although I didn’t understand a word but I managed to say “Merci” occasionally and get away with it. The churches, museums, the Eiffel, Chateux Versaille, Mont Marte, Conciergerie, all these and i still wanted to see more and more. You just can’t get enough of Paris! i will definitely come back Paris!

As amazing as Paris was, so was Netherlands. I didn’t visit Amsterdam only, i also saw Giethoorn, Leiden, Rotterdam, Utrecht, and much more. Netherlands is just a wonderland, literally. They have built a whole country on water! Every single detail is built in a way where everything is synchronized and organized. The bridges, the bikes, the lights, the lakes, … the beauty of Netherlands will always remain in my memories. Amsterdam though is a whole different city, it’s such a vibrant, wild, and bold city. It’s where you feel free. Free of all the restrictions you can think of.

Although both cities were completely different in terms of their people, their language (Dutch was interesting though), their scenery, and touristic sites; they both knew the value of their people and their country. Throughout my vacation not only did I enjoy my time with the people I love, and saw beautiful sites, but I also saw the injustice and the corruption I was and still am living in. Netherlands was built out of nothing, so was Paris! All these wonderlands were built and still remain as miraculous as they were so many years ago, in our case? We were granted the wonderland but in time we have destroyed it, and sadly we are still destroying. Unfortunately we have abused our resources. Greed and political corruption has ruined and still is ruining our future… The only way to put an end to this ugly reality is to actually have the courage and make a change in whatever we do from things as simple as recycling to things as big as standing up for our rights.

It was such a great and unforgettable adventure… but it’s only the first of much more adventures to come!

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts

When I was a young curious girl all I ever wanted was to grow up just so I could take my own decisions. Back then I wished for a fast forward button on time. As time passed and I grew and am still growing all what i’m discovering is that as you grow everything else grows with you. You don’t just grow physically and mentally, you also grow aware of the responsibilities that are growing at a faster rate than everything else. You realize that time is racing before your eyes and that all you have to do is to adapt to each and every stage of your own time called “life”.

As they say, each and every stage of life has its special touch. We are introduced to this world and from that moment our race with time starts. At first, it seems to be really slow because during the early stage of life others fill in our time. Gradually we get to understand what is time’s value and we start managing it. That’s when we start prioritizing, making lists, and following agendas. As we grow up we start a rather fond relationship with time. We try to enjoy every moment and that’s when we start to make “bucket” lists and say YOLO. When we pass adolescence we realize that we really do only live once and to make that once worthwhile we need to work hard. Meanwhile life starts striking us with opportunities, failures, successes,  troublesome days, and many other good and bad obstacles. Such obstacles slow us down against our race. At some point time becomes the enemy and all we want to do is to slow it down. But is time really the enemy? OR is it a magic potion to heal wounds (as some might believe)? Well to cut things short, time for me is a great teacher –  a teacher that challenges you, makes you work harder and harder to reach your goal, teaches you about the reality you live in, helps you grow out of your miseries, and learn from your mistakes.

Life is dynamic and time goes on… all that it takes is for us to be ready for the race and to grab each and every lesson we can from the best teacher of all times “time”.

Badanyats Camp 2016 – Reflections

Before talking about the camp I would like to step behind and tell you how I ended up as an “oknagan leader”. Believe it or not at first I rejected Datev’s request to serve as a leader. I couldn’t accept because I had already registered 2 courses for my summer semester. To be honest I wanted to both finish the courses and serve as a camp leader. From the very first day of the semester my courses were cancelled because the number of students attending the classes were less than 8. I was really frustrated because for my last semester I will have to take 6 courses (out of which 4 are really tough courses). For a complete week I got mad, my stress controlled me, and I just prayed for God to help me as I go through this period. Eventually I realized that instead of stressing over the cancelled courses I could use my free time to serve in a DVBS. I asked around if they needed anybody but unfortunately I was bit late all the DVBS-s had enough leaders. As I was thinking of ways to fill my empty schedule, I remembered Datev’s request of serving as a leader for the Badanyats Camp and so I grabbed my phone immediately and asked him if I could still serve. Gladly, he accepted and introduced me to the group of leaders who had already met several times to prepare for the camp.

Honestly it was really weird for me to see myself as a Badanyats Camp leader. I was a badany 4 years ago but now I had to be an actual leader! I was really worried and nervous since I had never worked with teens. I had worked with Sunday School Children but teenagers?! I started thinking things like: “Am I really ready to lead teenagers?”, “What would teenagers think of me as a new leader?”, “Would I really make a difference?”, “Would I be able to share my faith with them?”, “Would I be able to help them as they snap out from the self-centeredness/escapism/stress?”… At the same time I prayed and asked God to use me, to show me what I can do and use it for a purpose greater than myself.

From the very first day of the camp I knew deep inside that there was a reason for me to attend the camp. 78 teenagers entered KCHAG each with a purpose in mind. Their eyes were filled with curiosity and their warm smiles comforted me. After the worship the leaders were introduced via a snap-video, then I had to lead the Ice-breaking Games alongside Lori. Contrary to what I thought the badanies really enjoyed the games, got introduced to each other, and we all had a good laugh! I tried to socialize and to get to know badanies from different youth groups. I can still remember my first awkward meeting with a group of girls. I just sat beside them and asked for their names, their hobbies, whether or not they had siblings, the countries they had traveled to, and so on…

Early in the morning the leaders met and we discussed about the daily schedule. Everyday badanies had the opportunity to worship and praise God, to learn about Him, to play fun games, to learn about something new (through the workshops), and to socialize. Together we discussed about snapping out from escapism, stress, self-centeredness, and finally to ask God to snap out. The badanies were reminded the following:

• God created us in His own image. Each and every individual is unique with all his/her flaws and imperfections. It is normal for us as human beings to escape from who we are. Nobody wants the other to see his/her flaws and that’s exactly what social media profiles are promoting (to hide your true self and to create a profile others want to see). Jesus was transparent. He didn’t hide His identity although everybody mocked Him. Instead He removed some people’s masks and revealed their true selves.

• We need to snap out from our anger and stress. Stress causes disharmony, intensifies our fears, and controls us such that we act contrary to who we really are. God’s strength is revealed through our weaknesses.

• Narcissism or self-centeredness VS self-worth. It is important to take care of ourselves, our bodies, our minds, etc.… We need to make sure to snap out from the thought that we are the center of the universe. Love yourself but remember to share your love with others as well since after all our God is Love.

• It is normal for us to fight with God. We usually tend to think that we know what’s best for us and when God does the opposite we get frustrated. Just like any other relationship, to keep it solid we need to communicate with Him even if that means to actually fight with Him. Finally, God is moved by faith and not by need.

The discussions nourished our faith and to put our faith into action we had the chance to serve the Trad DVBS children. The badanies were really excited and they worked hard to prepare fun activities for the children. The event was a success! The children enjoyed a lot and their warm smiles were a proof. In addition to the discussions we had prayer periods where badanies had to use their 5 senses to get closer to God.

Furthermore, the badanies had the chance to play various games such as Army 101, Muddy Games, Murder Mystery, Jeopardy, and Pokémon Go. The games required physical strength, general knowledge, analytical skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. Throughout the days I had the chance to chat with some badanies and to get to know them more. I shared with some of them about my relationship with God and how my faith gave me strength every step of the way. I loved (continue to love them) them more and more as the days went by. I felt blessed as I saw talented, curious, friendly, and fun badanies all gathered in KCHAG.

The highlight of the camp was the Nvirman Period. As we, the leaders, stood in a circle I remembered the day I took the decision to be a member of God’s family. I couldn’t stop crying as Badanies approached us and hugged us as we sang worship songs. My eyes were filled with tears of happiness as I knew God was celebrating with us. With His wide arms He embraced each and every badany as we prayed for them.

   Oh Lord, I pray that you hold their hands and guide them as they go on their journey to know you more. Dear God, please let them feel your love and let them sense your presence in every step of the way. Help them to snap out from whatever is holding them to come closer to you. May your strength appear in their weaknesses and may you bless them and their families. I pray that their decisions would be put into action and they would be filled with your love and hope. In the name of the leaders I pray that you give us the wisdom we need to guide your children and bring them close to you oh Lord. I pray this in Jesus Christ’s Holy name, Amen.

 

  Finally, I thank God for giving me the opportunity to attend the camp, meet the lovely badanies, make friends, and to get even closer with Him.

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Stereotyping Students and Majors

Graduating high-school is one thing but choosing a university and a major is a whole different story. People expect from 18 years-old to choose their “destiny”, which is ironic because they don’t really know how to make decisions. Since they have no idea what to choose, society has already made a list for them. Before getting started students are already categorized according to their grades. So it goes like this…

  • Students that have an average of 85 and above: They are kind of destined to be doctors, engineers, biologists, chemists, mathematicians, physicists, programmers, university instructors, and all the other sophisticated highly intellectual majors that you can think of. If society had the ability to talk it would sound like: “Hey kid you got A+ grades, you have invested your time during your school years, your parents have invested their money; so it is about time you choose something appropriate of your intellectual level and that would get you enough money so that you and your parents would have a win-win situation.” If students of this category choose any other major they are either immature, stupid or have really bad guidance. It’s like giving up on a blessing for heavens sake! You have the analytical mind and the high level intelligence so? this is your thing.
  • Students that have an average between 80 and 85: Well, luckily they have more opportunities!  They could either be interior designers, architects, pharmacists, medical lab assistants, psychiatrists and the list goes on… Society views this category as a category which was almost close to the “peak” but that hasn’t reached it. Students of this category are quite lost since their labels are not that clear. They could be upgraded to the first category or they would just be downgraded.
  • Students that have an average between 70 and 80: They don’t really know how they got into this category but they’re glad they did eventually. Knowing that they are just above the passing category, then at this point the majors of the business school shine! You need to do something simple so why won’t you study about selling 2 bags of potato chips and 3 bottles of juice?! Simple is your thing and you just can’t go beyond 1+1=2.
  • Students that have an average between 60 and 70: OK so now that they made it, they don’t really care that much what major to choose. Anything will do! from teaching elementary kids some maths to ending up being an arts and crafts teacher. They don’t really have that much choices… You barely passed, thus you barely have 2 or 3 choices. Deal with it.

Ugly truth huh? Well this is almost how society categorizes and stereotypes students and  majors. Each and every major has its challenges and difficulties and it has to do nothing with the categories you belong in as mentioned above. These categories are actually pathetic, you could do anything that you want to do. Your grades are not standards and the rumors about your major are not good indicators of the choice you will make. You could always choose a major and then broaden your horizon of knowledge by taking minors or just by self-education.

    It’s not like when you’re majoring in Armenian literature you wouldn’t know how to solve an equation. Majoring in engineering and mathematics wouldn’t make you any better. Majoring in chemistry wouldn’t make you a white coat-ed geek who knows nothing about the world except his/her reactants and products. Majoring in marketing wouldn’t make you a talkative manipulative person who would do anything to sell you his/her product. Majoring in English literature wouldn’t mean becoming the next Shakespeare. Majoring in business is definitely not studying about selling bags of chips or any other thing ( trust me on this) .

Wake up people! You could be anything as long as you have control of your mind and your free will. You could make wonders if you just go beyond the stereotypes of the society and the labels that people attach to each and everything.

Take me as an example: I’m an A+ scientific student, majoring in Finance but at the same time I love to write, I adore Intercultural studies, I tutor biology/chemistry/math, and finally I love to go beyond the frame in which society tries to label my major.

1995 – 2015

       Some people believe that I over-dramatize my birthday and that I make a big deal out of it but for me April 25 will always be my favorite time of the year. It is that time of the year during which I examine myself and see where I stand compared to the previous year. Yes! It’s quite important for me this date, because it is on this day that God blessed me with the best gift ever.. “Life”. On this special day God blessed me with a unique body and personality. Furthermore, April 25 marks the first time I felt my mom’s heartbeat, the first time I saw my parents, the first time I breathed, and the first time I cried. It is on this day that my eyes saw the beauty of life, my ears heard my mom saying “Thank God my little angel is born”, my hands felt my fathers hard-working tough fingers, my body felt the warmth of my mom’s love and my heart started beating faster and faster as i got excited to see my brother and sister.

     Every single year on this day a wave of joy surrounds me and 2015 was more than I expected! Here I am after 20 years surrounded by some lovely friends, my adorable Sunday School children, my beautiful nieces, my one of a kind family, and by people who love and respect me. This year I realized that as much as life seems to be cruel and unfair, at the same time it just keeps on surprising us. Throughout this 20 years life has taught me that no matter what it will eventually be good. As long as there exists within me the seeds of love, respect, faith and kindness that my parents have placed within me I shall pass the thorns, grab the rays of sunshine or the drops of rain, enjoy the rainbows and grow

     Thank you for all who have made my first 2 decades of life amazing !

What is Easter all about?

   For some Easter is all about colored eggs, bunnies and chicks for others it is a day off. Even for some Christians Easter has become just another day to dress up, go to the church and take photos. What is Easter then? Is it the time of the year when mothers make ma3moul and ka3ek? Is it about watching “The Passion of the Christ” for the 100th time? Is it a holiday “for kids”?

   Well Easter for me is a reminder and a wake-up call for believers and non-believers. Easter reminds us that God’s love is unconditional and that through Jesus He gave humanity a second chance. After Adam and Eve’s sin people’s sin developed like a snowball, growing day after day as humanity started falling from the top of the hill to the unknown future. God gave his only son Jesus for people to remember his unconditional love and to be saved from theirs sins. Jesus, who came to save his people was instead mocked, tortured, betrayed and crucified by them. But God’s love endured all the pain and so Jesus conquered the grave and saved us from our sins. With Jesus we are now able to reconcile our relationship with God.

    Nowadays I feel like we are no better than the people who crucified Jesus Christ. With our sins and wrongdoings we crucify him and hurt him every single day. We should wake-up and ask ourselves “What are we doing with our second chance?”. Going to the church is just shutting up our subconscious but is it enough? Is it enough to just go and sit there and try to listen to what it is being said? The church is where people gather in the name of God, so as you go to the church think of it like the place where the word of God comes alive and touches your heart and soul. Clarify your mind and let the words of God bring you closer to Him.

   Finally I just want to say that Easter is not a kids’ holiday but is a holiday during which we all should triumph for our Christ conquered death and saved us from our sins! Hallelujah!

Christ the Lord is risen, He is risen Indeed

He-is-Risen_desktop-wallpapers!