By: Talin Orfali Ghazarian
I am Talin Orfali Ghazarian. Since I was born, I ventured into this world becoming a Canadian born Armenian through my roots of my family in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was Christened in an Armenian church a few months after my birth. In my early years, my family took me to church in the city of Toronto where I began to meet other Armenian’s; when my parents sent me to St. Sahag. St. Mesrob Armenian Saturday School and Sunday School too. My brother as well, when we both went together to school, but we are a few years apart in age.
Becoming active in the community was absolutely important for my family and then to me too and it still is to this day. I remember my late grandfather Habib Torossian had said to me when I was a child, he said to me to always “keep you’re Armenian heritage and culture alive, and make sure to always stay close to your community”. When my grandfather said those words to me, it stuck with me since then. I became a proud diasporan. My grandparents, my parents, my uncles, aunts, teachers, and so many other important people in my life gave me so much advice which I will take with me in my life.
As I began to be a teenager to my late teenage life into my early 20’s and up until now into my 30’s, I became part of the Armenian youth, where I made lots of new Armenian friends across Canada and the USA. We ventured out to Vancouver, Montreal, Laval, Ottawa, St. Catherines, Mississauga, Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and Kingston for meetings, gatherings, sports weekends, retreats, seminars, festivals, parties, dinners and more. Getting to know more Armenians was and is so special to me. We are still in touch today.
I got to meet many clergymen, bishops, those in government, prominent figures of our Armenian diaspora, singers, performers, writers, artists, comedians, actors, inventors, innovators, actresses and got to make friends with a lot of Armenians through social media as well. We have so much culture that is so rich, beautiful and blossoming. We have so much to give to the world our talents, the way of life.
With social media now, it is so much easier now to spread who we are to the internet, interacting with others, and communicating to make the world a smaller place which has happened many years ago. Being in a social setting to me is so important to me. I made Armenian friends and now we hang out regularly every week or almost every week. It feels incredible to be part of it all. I have so much to be grateful for. I appreciate all the people in my life and for being surrounded by positivity every step of the way.
We should never take who we are for granted. It is important to stay true to who you are and to never go away from your community. Things can happen, disagreements, and things that we may not like, but it never means to stay away from your community. Nothing and nobody is perfect. Mistakes can happen as we all do make them, but never let those things deter you away.
I can never forget the time where I was in high school in computer class and we had access to the internet and my high school teacher was Armenian by luck and we had an assignment to do online, so I went on the internet and began to search Armenian stuff and famous Armenians, and then my teacher approached me and said, Talin, that is not what you are supposed to be doing now during class, but then she pulled me aside after class and said, I really didn’t mind you doing that and she said, I applaud you and I am so proud of you for looking those things up, and she said I am not going to deduct marks off from you. So, I finished the assignment I had to do and gave it to her promptly the day after and she gave me full marks for it. I apologized to her, and she said to me, there is nothing to apologize for. She said she loved what she saw.
I am absolutely lucky to become and be an Armenian. It is so important to me. You cannot put a price on the love and appreciation I have for Armenia and Armenian’s around the world. When I graduated from Armenian School, I got the chance of a lifetime to go visit Armenia our motherland. It was the most beautiful 3 weeks I had ever spent in my life. I was homesick as well. I was just 14 years old travelling away from my family for the first time and I remember crying at the airport and a few times to want to come back to Canada to be with my family, but then I realized that I am in Armenia on this beautiful soil, so I just began to really enjoy and take it all in. I still remember it like it was yesterday. It has almost been 20 years since then. Time has flown. I need to go back.
Being an Armenian outside of Armenia is absolutely a vital part to globally keep active, to represent our motherland. It is absolutely important to keep being informed, to take part in events, to attend Armenian bible studies, schools, church mass, being part of groups, meetings, to attend Armenian community centres where ever you are and to enjoy the ambience and atmosphere. In order for our community to blossom, we have to fill these facilities with all of us. These are just buildings, but we as people have to get into them to become a vital community in numbers, which it is and it is such a beautiful thing to see.
We must never stop informing Non-Armenian people of the world who we are, what we have, what we eat, our landmarks, churches, picturesque views of Armenia, and to raise awareness on a terrible part of our history when the Armenian Genocide happened when 1.5 million Armenians were massacred in the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire of Turkey on April 24, 1915.
In the past 4 years or so, I began to date an Armenian and his name is Armen. A year or so ago, he proposed to me and now we are happily married with both our families being very close to our Armenianess and being part of our heritage, how we speak Armenian to each other. It is so beautiful. God willing when we begin having a family of our own, our future will be blessed with children and we will instill the same Armenian values and teach them to be full-fledged Armenian and to keep our diaspora alive. It all begins with how we as adults spread our love for our community to share it with children who are just beginning at life.
Being a proud Armenian diasporan for me is so important, and I promise to Armenian’s all over the world, the bond I have with you all will never die and I will always keep that promise where ever life takes me. That I will always guarantee. God bless our diaspora, our Armenians all over the world and our motherland of Armenia!