As far back as I can remember, I and every other first generation Armenian-American in northern New Jersey within a 45 mile radius that I knew went to the same Armenian school. We studied all about a country we couldn’t visit, a history that read like a novel of legends, and a language that nobody other than our parents and their friends spoke with to us and to each other.
Armenia was a place under Soviet rule and as far as we knew there was no way in or out of the country. There was no way for us to meet people from Armenia or experience for ourselves all that Armenia had to offer. I remember clipping and saving any articles shown in the New York Times or elsewhere about Armenia or Armenians, and trying in vain to teach my American classmates about a place I had never seen or experienced for myself in person. In 1991, the Soviet Union had broken up, Armenia was in a war with neighboring Azerbaijan, and Turkey closed its border to Armenia. During this time, the internet had just started forming its own legs and spreading to the colleges. I remember being in school with no Armenians in my vicinity for miles around, and getting on Armenian chat lines to meet Armenians from all around the world and joining email lists about Armenia just to get any kind of current information I could about our newly independent country.
In 1994, the war with Azerbaijan came to a halt, and Armenia started its post war healing process. Since then, I graduated college with an Engineering degree, moved to Framingham, Massachusetts for work, and found myself an Armenian girl from Armenia, and got married. Through all this time I had heard many interesting stories from friends, and wondrous tales from my wife, who was born and raised in Armenia during those Soviet times. Any time someone gave me a picture of Armenia or a souvenir from the country, I cherished it as I did the newspaper clippings about Armenia I had saved as a child. I grew more and more restless and wanted to visit and experience the country firsthand. In August of 2005, my wish finally came true. I made my maiden voyage to Armenia and for the first time, saw, heard, and smelled for myself the country with all its history, traditions and culture that I had only heard and read about my whole life.
When I came back to the US, I had brought back about 500 pictures and many hours of video I had taken on my trip, and tons of souvenirs I had bought during my travels. I picked out 10 of my favorite pictures, blew them up, framed them, and showed them to family and friends along with some of the jewelry we had brought back from the country. Then it hit me. Before I had gone to Armenia, I had cherished those pictures and souvenirs that were given to me from friends who had visited the country before me. After I came back they served as great keepsakes and reminders of all the places we had gone to see. I started to wonder if other Armenians would also be interested in the souvenirs and pictures I had brought back for all the same reasons. My wife and I started to participate in a few local Armenian bazaars and set up tables with our pictures and jewelry. Since then years have passed. We have sold literally hundreds of pictures, and have grown our stock of souvenirs from Armenia to include all that you see on this website today and more. As this website grows, our hope is that our variety of items will grow as well. Of course the best way to experience all that a country and its people have to offer is to actually take the trip there and experience it firsthand. In the meantime however, for those that can’t go to Armenia right now for whatever reason, we wanted a chance to bring Armenia to them, and that is indeed what this website is all about. To show you all that modern day Armenia , and Armenians from all around the world, have to offer, all in one very accessible locationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ ArmenianVendor.com