Gagik Abrahamyan: “It was LOVE that took me to France”

During a visit to the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, our compatriots from France-Gagik Abrahamyan and Lilit Ter-Arsenyan-gave an interview at the editorial office of Hayern Aysor.

Karine Avagyan: Gagik, when and how did you find yourself in France?

Gagik Abrahamyan: I settled in the French city of Toulouse on December 31, 2002. The reason why I left was neither an employment contract nor an invitation from relative. It was LOVE that took me there. I went to France with “a love contract”…My future wife, Lilit, who had been living in Toulouse for a long time, came to Yerevan where we met and realized that we were “doomed” to live together and start a family. Lilit’s family had moved to France a long time ago. So, I left as well. We got married, started a beautiful family and now have three children, that is, one daughter and two sons. Our family wonderfully preserves all Armenian national traditions. Armenian is our household language. We live as Armenians and preserve our national identity.

Karine Avagyan: Gagik, what are you by profession? Do you work by your profession?

Gagik Abrahamyan: I am a barber at our salon where Lilit also works as a makeup artist.

Our customers are mainly Frenchmen. My job provides me with the opportunity to interact with the French a lot. While we work, we talk to our customers and never miss the opportunity to talk about Armenia and the Armenians. Most of our customers know Armenia and love the Armenians. The French are interested in Armenia and the history of the Armenian people. Besides working at the salon, we have also opened our own Mesrop Mashtots Armenian School. I am the principal, and Lilit is my assistant. We opened this school with a group of friends and with the help of Lilit’s father, Albert Ter-Arsenyan, who is a very patriotic Armenian. Fernand Torosian, one of the longtime Armenian citizens of Toulouse, always supports us. The Armenian community of Toulouse was established about 50 years ago. It has a school, but our school is a separate organization that we and two other families run. We have distributed labor. At school, we teach children Armenian language, history, songs and dances. The goal of our school is to provide Armenian children with an Armenian education and upbringing and lead them to the Armenian Apostolic Church. As far as textbooks are concerned, we have received help from the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia. Lilit’s father has visited the Ministry, while we are visiting for the first time ever. We have come to express our gratitude to the Minister.

Karine Avagyan: Gagik, let’s touch upon the letters that the students of your school addressed to Armenian soldiers.

Gagik Abrahamyan: The children wrote those letters with great pleasure and excitement, and the soldiers responded. We received the replies from the relevant department of the Ministry. Our children will be very happy to read the responses. I think this is one of the ways of raising Armenian children abroad with the spirit of patriotism. The students of our school have also participated in the “My Sweet Language” essay contest announced by the RA Ministry of Diaspora. For that we received a letter of appreciation from the Ministry of Diaspora and are taking it with us to Toulouse. Overall, the programs of the Ministry are very close to our hearts.

As I bid farewell to this beautiful couple, I became convinced once again that most of the Armenians born and settled in different countries create a small Armenia or a beautiful Armenian oasis around them.

Karine Avagyan

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