Syrian Armenian, Australian
Life is unpredictable and full of surprises, both good and bad. That surprise, in my case, was an ugly war that started in Syria, my birthplace. This war spread through the entire nation until it reached my hometown, Aleppo, which forced my family to make difficult decisions that would mark the beginning of a new chapter in our lives.
Like many other Armenian families, we travelled to Yerevan, Armenia to get away from the chaotic situation, until it was safe for us to return, as we thought it wouldn’t be too long. However, the conditions got worse in Syria, and we couldn’t go back. I attended Khachik Dashtents High School in Yerevan, where everyone was very welcoming and supportive. However, I found myself searching for the warmth of my first school, which I had attended since I was three. AGBU’s Lazar Najarian Calouste Gulbenkian School had been a second home to me and to every student who had attended there. I had too many good memories in my school and as a member in AGBU-AYA’s different branches, and could not easily let go. I tried to fill the void, and found in AGBU Yerevan’s Scout movement a friendly environment, where I met new people who shared my passion for AGBU. I spent almost a year in Armenia, visiting different places in our motherland, and enjoying my time with my fellow scouts. All that came to an end when we had to go to Lebanon, with the hope of moving to Australia.
Beirut was not a strange environment, as we had been there before, and due to the situation in Syria, there were many familiar faces, which made my stay there even more loving and familiar. There, I attended AGBU’s Tarouhy – Hovagimian Secondary School as a year twelve student. There I joined the AGBU’s AYA Scout movement, and became a brownies’ leader, which gave me the opportunity to spend time with an amazing group of devoted members.
This, too, had to come to an end, and we had to move again to start our new life. I was overwhelmed with mixed emotions of sadness for leaving my friends, and of happiness for the new life that was awaiting in Sydney with my family.
Finally, I arrived in Sydney, Australia. Relatives and family friends welcomed us and did their best for the next few months to make us feel at home and help us get settled.
Once again AGBU welcomed me with open arms through their Tamzara dance group, and later on as a member of AGBU Youth and now the AGBU Youth Committee.
The last four years feel like a lifetime away, and putting it into words seem too easy compared to what I experienced. I’ve learnt to cherish what I have and make the most of my time, no matter where I am. I feel lucky, somehow, for going through what I have, because it helped me become a mature person, and gain a different perspective of life. I still smile whenever I remember those days, and the people I have met will stay in my heart with the hope of meeting them again.
Written by Anie Kurumlian.
If you share a similar story, or would like to meet and help those who do, please join us at our Syrian Night on the 9th of April at 2 Yeo St, Neutral Bay from 7pm. If you require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]