Contributors: Yeraz Kochkarian and Stepan Trdatian
I found out about the HRI trip a few months ago and immediately knew that this was a trip I wanted to take after graduation with no one other than my boyfriend of one year, Stepan.
Now that we’re here, I can easily say that our experience has been very seemingly different than the other participants. I personally thought that venturing together was going to be no different than going with a group of friends, but I soon found out that this would be the greatest test to our relationship thus far. Spending these past few days in the most difficult and uncomfortable circumstances we’ve ever experienced, tensions were high and time apart was necessary.
Even after the arguments and moments of awkward silence, Stepan has been my support system and I’m glad that we decided to take this journey of self-discovery together.
Would it be too easy to just call this whole experience a Dream?
The Armenian word for dream also happens to be the name of my girlfriend, Yeraz.
After one whole year of being together, this Hidden Road Initiative serves as a sort of a milestone as well as kickstarter for our next year together. Needless to say, our circumstances escalated relatively quickly –going from dating and spending just days together, directly into two solid weeks of cooperating continuously in a tiny village together! But as drastic of a change it is, I believe we’re handling it well; adjusting to new scenarios and circumstances is important in a relationship. It is here that we have experienced a few of our perhaps most trying moments and where tensions have been the highest between us. I am glad to report these conflicts have only ended with us having a stronger bond and deeper appreciation for one another. Learning to consider each other’s perspective and communicate as sincerely as possible has been essential. Add on the fact that Yeraz and I are sharing this literally once in a lifetime experience filled with endless laughter, amazing people, some cows, breathtaking scenes, delicious food, and a million other simple joys… and I wouldn’t want to have spent my summer in any other way.
I’m not one to shy from powerful experiences, particularly village-living and even love. I’m glad to see Yeraz isn’t either.
There is no one else I would have wanted to endure this adventure with other than her.