Do you like to travel? Let me ask you why? There is a good chance that it is to see the world and to experience new things. But sometimes the motif behind travelling is to relive your previous life, to bring back childhood memories and to test yourself.
How much had I changed since I came to Australia? Had my values and principles changed? What had I gained from living away from Armenia? What had I lost?
With these questions in mind, I boarded the plane from Sydney International airport and began the journey to my past. At least, that is how I saw the trip that I had planned for a considerable amount of time.
I promised to myself that I was not going to have any expectations whatsoever. My biggest fear was coming back home yet not feeling at home. In fact, I thought I had no home… I was culturally stuck between my Armenian self and Australian self.
They say, live in your present since that is the only thing that belongs to you or don’t look back. But I tend to disagree with this. Being able to look back, reflect back on our path allows us to see where we were in our past and where we are now. It motivates us to appreciate our present, be more enthusiastic about our future and keep going to reach our future goals.
Perhaps you also think that your past is important and visiting it is truly rewarding…or perhaps you don’t want to look back at your older self. But I have to admit that I am a big fan of collecting memories. If you know me well enough you will know that I collect the most insignificant things in my memory boxes: from train tickets, to dried flowers, to chocolates (yes I know, they are not edible now), to random pieces of paper, to tickets to all the performances and concerts that I have ever been to.
Being a memory collector, you can now guess how much I have waited for my trip. I wanted to see the house we lived in, my grandparent’s backyard we played as children, the school that I have attended, my favourite teachers and my long time best friend.
And I did. To keep it short, I loved that part of my trip the most. One thing that astonished me the most was that I had not forgotten almost anything…all this time I had visualised that I would hardly be able to find my street, or I wouldn’t be able to find my classroom. But that was the easiest part of visiting my childhood.
The hardest part was trying to explain to the school principal (who was the only person in the building when I entered it) who I was. I tried my best. He didn’t understand…His expression was curiously asking “Young lady you clearly don’t have any other problems”. This, however, didn’t stop me from finding my classroom, getting surprised how compact it was (I guess I had inflated it in my mind) and take a picture at the desk which bears with it so many of my memories…
Then came the most emotional part. I visited my home, which had already become just an old house. I subconsciously tried to hide my face so neighbours don’t realise who I was…but, to my surprise, there were no neighbours. The street was now empty…
Nonetheless, I was happy to have an opportunity to visit my childhood memories once again, perhaps for the last time.
It was time to finally meet my “best friend”…a meeting for which I had waited pretty much since I came to Australia. I was over the moon.
It is amazing how big the gap between our expectations and the reality is. My advice to you is this: try not to have any expectations…from events, experiences and people. I try to let everything be as they are in my conscious self, but sometimes it just slips, and without realising, I do build expectations. As much as I tried to tell myself that I will have no expectations when travelling to Armenia, I had built some without even realising.
I felt disappointment – a direct byproduct of an expectation. She had changed. Or perhaps we have grown apart in our views. When this happens along with losing the bond of friendship, we become vulnerable to the words of the other person. To be honest, I was broken that night but I had to put on a happy mask to avoid my auntie’s long questionnaire. I was soon relieved as it was time to put my mask away and close my eyes, pretending to be asleep. I didn’t sleep that night.
Looking at the positive side, it was the only disappointment that I experienced throughout my trip.
will be continued…