Contributor: Aureen Aghajanian
Beginning the second week of camp, I am saddened at the realization that our time in Shvanidzor is almost over. Most people might question why considering we sleep on classroom floors, take cold showers, use holes as our restrooms, and choose to disconnect from the digital world.
However, that’s exactly why. Living a fast paced life in Los Angeles with a To-do list that never seems to finish can get quite overwhelming sometimes. We are so focused on accomplishing our tasks that we forget about human interaction. We forget about all the little things. In addition to this cycle, we use our phones / computers to wind down from this hectic schedule. And so that all changed.
From the first day, I took a 180 degree turn. Never touched my phone, forgot about social media, and began to feel alive and more connected with my day. The children of Shvanidzor expressed just how easy it is to be happy with so little.
Some might think, we change the lives of these villagers, however I think it's completely the opposite. The first lesson I learned was that happiness comes from within. It comes from giving to others. It comes from being selfless to some degree.
And so as I sit here and write this blog, I remembered how I felt right before leaving to Armenia. All the toys and gadgets I wanted that would make my life feel more significant, are now gone. I have no desire to allow a material item to make me excited anymore. These kids showed me that it's possible to be truly happy without even common amenities such as a hot shower or working toilet. It’s not the situation you’re in that matters, it’s your attitude about the situation that truly matters. With that being said, the next time I allow something little to throw off my mood or make me feel anything less than amazing, I will remember the 50+ smiles on these students faces.