Contributor: Asya Grigoryan
Imagine swinging in the air with a beautiful breeze sweeping your skin.
A bright blue sky and the greenness of nature encompass your surroundings. The soft cries of children and free laughter of adults are heard in the background. As you look around, you can’t help but smile to yourself and gaze in awe at the sight. This is exactly how I felt as I was crossing the bridge in Khndzoresk.
Having the opportunity to experience this with my HRI family is a memory I will forever cherish. It took us 365 long steps until we reached the man-built suspension bridge. When we crossed the 420-meter bridge together, it was liberating. I didn’t have a care in the world because, in that moment, all my problems faded into the darkness. I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty that is called Earth. Then Kat and I started spitting and watching it land on the ground (sorry Earth). The other side of the bridge held many surprises as well. We landed safely on what is known as Old Khndzoresk. We visited cool caves that were once used as houses for approximately 15,000 villagers up until the 1950s. We continued our journey up the hill until we found an abandoned church that was built in 1665. A nice lady inside told us some more history about Khndzoresk. She said that the villagers used the materials from their man-made caves to build New Khndzoresk.
It is the bridge that separates Old and New Khndzoresk. It is (literally and figuratively) a bridge to ancient and modern Armenia. It is also a bridge that connected me with my fellow friends from HRI. Words cannot express how honored I am to be a part of this awesometacular organization. If it weren’t for HRI, I wouldn’t have the chance to visit such a phenomenal site with a group that I now consider family. We laugh. We sing. We dance. We cry. But the best part is that we do it together. We came here to lead an educational summer camp for students, but I find myself learning with our students as well.
I’ve learned about how lucky I am to be here, how happy I am to be teaching, but most of all, how blessed I am to experience the utter joy that fills my heart with a fantastic group of individuals.