10293741_10152022042925976_2810204229727033269_o“I am home. There was something in the air when we reached the Armenian border. I swear I saw the prettiest sky out of all the ones I had seen before on my way home. It was like the fresh daylight of the new day was mixed with the sleepy darkness of the previous night. I felt home, I felt like my feet got chained to the ground and I was so certain of my happiness. And the plane landed. And we all cried and screamed and the other passengers were shocked by our excitement. We were walking in the hallways of our beautiful airport exchanging smiles and tears that didn’t need an explanation. There this young lady, an assistant of the airport, saw us beside the stairs and said hello to us. I gave her a hug, but she did not give me a hug back cause it was absolutely something she did not expect me to do. But I think she liked it. And then we got even happier cause there was an Armenian flag right in front of us. We came closer to an electric door, and it was the kind of door that you could see the shades of the people who were on the other side.

FLEX Alumni Coordinator Alen Shadunts and FLEX Alumna Lilit Ghukasyan ’09 meeting newly returned alumni at the airport

The doors opened and a crowd of happy parents and siblings and other relatives appeared. I found mine. And I hugged her so hard I don’t think I had ever hugged anyone like that before. Then the tears came down our eyes. And she told me not to cry even though we kept on crying for the next 4 minutes. Then I hugged the others.

The tears had dried off my eyes on our way back to Vanadzor in the car, but I was cold as ice. And all the questions I was asked about my flight were followed by short and simple answers. The car passes the gates of my town and I see almost nobody on the streets or the sidewalks in that early morning – exactly how I like to see my town, empty. Cause it belongs to only me. He drove us to our neighborhood, but I did not have my shoes on as they were so tired. I got out of the car and I looked up to the very top of our apartment building like I used to do it all the time. There was this old lady looking out of the window of the 5th floor. She smiled at me and I smiled back at her, and I waved at her. But it was a quick exchange of smiles like the ones that the superstars give to their fans and turn their faces around cause there are so many of fans and a short smile is so satisfactory for them. The street was very muddy but I walked barefoot to my apartment, and I opened it with my old key. I went to my bedroom and there were all the indoor plants I left a year ago. I cried again.

Life is good because I am on the edge of the glory, and because I made it back to my apartment, and my plants, both my feet in the mud.”

By Hayk Hovhannisyan FLEX Alum ’14