Marni Injeian: “I thought I would adapt more quickly, but I still need time”

Syrian-Armenian Marni Injeian, 15, studies in the 9th grade at school N 144 after Khachik Dashtents in Yerevan.

“It’s a new environment and I’m trying to adapt. I used to attend an Armenian school in Aleppo where all the subjects were taught in Arabic, except for Armenian studies. Here we are only taught in Eastern Armenian. I still have some difficulty with studying in Eastern Armenian, but I’m trying to overcome those difficulties. I don’t understand the terms. For instance, I used to love math, but I have a hard time learning math here. My friends and teachers help me a lot and they treat me well. I don’t feel estranged. I feel relaxed here,” says Marni.

Marni also mentioned that she would love to learn Russian, but she’s not attending Russian language classes due to her schedule. “I would like to learn the language. My classmates have already taught me the letters and I know some words, for instance, “привет” (privet), “пока” (paka), “спасибо” (spasiba), and I always ask them any word that I don’t know.
I’m the only Syrian-Armenian in class since most of my fellow Syrian-Armenians attend the Cilician school.”

“We wanted to take Marni to an Armenian school. If we stay here, we would prefer to have her continue her education at an Armenian school,” Marni’s mother, Tamara said after listening to her daughter, smiling. “We want to settle in Armenia and hope everything works out the way we have planned.”

When asked if they aren’t afraid of the difficulties, Marni, who was looking at her mother silently, answered immediately, smiling, “We will overcome all the difficulties over time.”
Marni said she and her family would visit Armenia every year and even have a house here, but they never thought that they would come to settle in Armenia and that she would attend school here. “I feel that this is my homeland. I thought that I would adapt sooner, but I still need time. I never thought so much would change in just one year and that I would be in a different environment, a different home, a new school and that I would have new friends. I want to adapt quickly. I want the war to end in Syria so that we can be at ease and don’t have to think about it all the time. My aunt, uncle, friends and classmates are in Syria.”

Tamara joined the conversation and said: “Marni is our only child. We were helping her prepare to receive her higher education in Armenia, but one thing led to another and all that happened sooner than we thought.”

When asked what she wants to become, Marni said: “I’m still contemplating, but I would like to become a journalist.” I asked her what she especially liked about journalism. “It’s interesting. You get to meet and communicate with different kinds of people. I understand people very quickly and communicate with them easily,” Marni said.

Even though most of Marni’s friends are in Armenia and often meet with each other, Marni said she misses her friends in Aleppo. “I miss our home and my friends. Social life is more interesting in Aleppo. We always meet, go to clubs, and everyone knows each other. Here it’s a little different. Friends only spend time with each other at school and don’t go to each other’s houses very often.”
Marni says she likes Dilijan a lot as well. “I would like to visit Dilijan more often. I loved the road to Artsakh. Of course, I don’t remember it very well because I was little.”
In 2000, Marni’s family lived in Yerevan for three years and returned to Syria. When I asked what she remembers, Marni immediately brightened up and started sharing a story. “I was very little at the time, but I remember that I would attend dance lessons. I loved to dance. If I had time, I would love to take dancing lessons.

I also remember that whenever guests would come to our house, we would take them to different churches and museums and would try to give them a tour of Yerevan.

I remember there was an old man whose leg was broken. He would sit near our home and play music every day, and I would always pass by and give him money.”

Today, Armenia is a new world of memories and hopes for Marni. It’s familiar, but a little strange, unusual and full of difficulties. The important thing is that the 15-year old girl believes that “difficulties will be overcome over time” and didn’t forget to thank all those who support Syrian-Armenians who have taken shelter in Armenia.

Lusine Abrahamyan

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