International Day of Peace. Dilijan

After quickly packing up, I headed to town and found myself in the city center, in the middle of a festive celebration, young people, brightly colored, singing, dancing, waving flags. I approached a black kid, who stood out in this homogeneous country in the Caucuses, and asked what was going on. It was Armenian independence day and the UN International Day of Peace, he explained to me that him and his fellow students from the nearby international UWC school were celebrating and he invited me back to their campus for a tour. The grounds were amazing, a huge atrium, football field, swimming pool, indoor court, cafeteria, modern dormitory, and all gift wrapped with stylish lights contemporary materials and conscientious gardens. The students were a collection of 200 bright, young, happy students from all over the world, all singing and dancing, hugging each other, laughing with one another, like Disneyland University… I was jealous. It wasn’t like that for me at their age, I was more disgruntled, angry at the world, with no clear direction or reason to put in effort to learn, I just floated through school, and yet did well enough, the bare minimum. And here these kids were embracing education, event standing up to voluntarily perform music and poetry in front of one another. One girl of Armenian descent approached me and said that she saw my trailer online, it hit her heart, and gave her goosebumps, she felt the very same way. I’m not alone in my search for cultural identity, it spans generations and countries, especially in today’s cheap and fast world, youth displaced.

I left the school with a smile on my face and a new beat in my step, and followed the railroad tracks leaving Dilijan, toward Vanadzor, and when night fell, I headed toward the lights at a nearby village, not knowing which one because it was written in Russian. An isolated outpost of another culture in Armenia, the 1%. I slept in my tent and it was a welcomed experience. I had grown accustomed to the outdoors, and sleeping on the floor, within the fresh cold air.