In the Fall of 2020, I experienced pain and trauma that I hadn’t been truly familiar with in the 33 years of my existence. That unbearable pain of loss and fear, however, was something that my ancestors, sadly, knew very well. I have always been interested in my family history. When my son was born, I knew it was my duty to teach him about his roots, and the fact there was so little to share due to the lack of information has set me onto this investigative journey.
Bit by bit, I’ve started collecting stories, interviewing (if not interrogating) the relatives who still carry the knowledge about our ancestors, and developing our family tree. This project has emerged as a reflection of what’s happening in my beautiful homeland, Armenia. Revisiting the places where I grew up and reliving the warmest, most cherished childhood memories help me to rediscover who I truly am and where I come from.

*Armat (Armenian: Արմատ) means Root

The house I have so many warm and tender memories with was built in 1952. And little has changed since then. Just so, the parquet floor will turn 70 years old this year. The walls of this house have seen a myriad of family gatherings, celebrations, weddings, children’s shenanigans; it is soaked through and through with the smells of delicious Armenian food and the most varied, mouth-watering pastries. But there were also sad days of saying goodbyes to loved ones.
Grandpa is 86 years old. He is a mathematician who devoted many years of his career to programming. He worked at Yerevan Scientific Research Institute of Mathematical Machines (YerNIIMM) and was at the origins of creating the general-purpose electronic machine “NAIRI”. He retired only six years ago.
As children, we carried this chair around the house for the countless mischiefs. In its free time from our games, the chair took a second job as an assistant in Granny's household routine.
My Granny was a real woman - gentle, wise, caring, and loving her children and grandchildren unconditionally. Granny was a charming, well - groomed woman with exquisite taste. Granny always had perfect order at home, and it smelled heavenly - she was a fantastic cook. Besides, she was a piano teacher.
And then I found this old pal. This vessel was always there for us and our childhood scratches; it probably survived my mum’s childhood too.
Grandpa had a plot of land where he would go each weekend to relax his body and unwind his mind through growing the most delicious apricots and strawberries in the world. He would bring buckets of harvest, which then passed through the warmth of Granny’s hands and turned into endless jars of strawberry and apricot jams (in fact, there were also cherries and rose preserves, but I especially remember the apricots with strawberries).
Grandpa is an excellent chess and backgammon player. He never gave up trying to teach us.

On hot summer evenings, Grandpa roasted sunflower seeds. I don’t know what his secret is, but these were special seeds - the smell and taste have forever instilled into my childhood memories.