Senior Staff Writer Vicky Melkonyan’s retelling of a summer in her homeland. In typical Armenian fashion, mountains and barbecue are recurring themes.

Where: The many corners of Armenia. 

Sight: A view of Mt. Ararat from the balcony of my cousin’s apartment, where I slept over for one night. We met each other for the first time this past summer.

Sound: The utter silence on the shores of Lake Arpi. It was the quietest place I had ever been. The pastoral stillness was occasionally interrupted by murmurs of local fishermen.

Smell: Traces of wildflowers and medicinal herbs in the fresh air of Bashgyugh, a village near Gyumri. A little later, the smell of խորոված (Armenian barbecue) wafting from a bed of coals nearby. A makeshift grill for a family dinner.

Touch: Sheets of snow sloping up towards the peak of Mt. Aragats, the highest point in Armenia and the Lesser Caucasus range. The divots and edges of a stone that I added to one of the many piles at the summit. 

Taste: Pickled vegetables of all kinds; шашлык (barbecue) potato chips; The watermelon salad and iced cappuccino at my favorite café, Artbridge; the wild sour cherries in my uncle Samvel’s backyard; a thousand tender apricots. The many faces of home.

Over one hundred thousand Armenians are currently facing a humanitarian crisis. Please keep yourselves informed, and keep Armenia in your hearts.

Images via Victoria Ani Melkonyan