My Story in a Nutshell

By: Maria Martirosyan

Born in Ukraine, I have not lived the traditional Armenian life. I was never fully exposed to the Armenian history, heritage, culture, or proper language. Although at home my parents would speak Armenian, cook Armenian food, and do all they can to teach me how to speak Armenian, growing up in southern Ukraine where majority of the population spoke in Russian, naturally the first language that I learned was Russian. At the age of four my family and I moved to Tbilisi, Georgia where my parents and grandparents lived ever since my great-grandparents escaped from the 1915 Armenian Genocide and resided in Georgia. Although I was surrounded by many Armenians, during those years Armenians faced severe racial discrimination and were pressured not to speak in Armenian. Being a child and adapting to the environment quiet easily, I quickly began to learn the Georgian language. It wasn’t until my parents and I migrated to the United States of America, was I exposed to the large number of Armenian people, Armenian culture, and multiple dialects of the Armenian language.

Growing up I did not have the privilege of attending a private Armenian school and so I learned to speak Armenian by listening to others. In elementary and middle school, the Armenian culture was not emphasized instead we were taught about the “Great American Melting Pot”. I was content by that idea until my interests in discovering my roots and who I really am surfaced in high school. It all began after I joined the Bravo High School Armenian Student Association (ASA). It provided me with the spark of interest which inspired me to do more research, whether it was reading about Armenian history, following Armenian-American politics, or engaging in conversation with elderly Armenian people in Hollywood to learn about life in Armenia. Since then I have been an active member in the ASA at my school, having been voted twice as club coordinator and club president my senior year. As a member I did my best to educate myself and the club members about the multiple historical events and great historical figures in the Armenian and Armenian-American world. As I continue to learn about my culture and heritage I seek for more opportunities to engage myself in Armenian based groups and organizations.

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