A genuine smile with few teeth is preferable to an empty smile with beautiful teeth.
America might be beautiful with its accessible luxuries and social necessities but how far can that beauty take you to happiness? Being in Armenia has allowed me to realize the difference between genuine happiness and fabricated happiness.
There are problems in Armenia, many problems that don’t have easy or quick solutions. But how can I dwell on the problems when I meet a “dadik” serving corn on the road smiling as we come upon her. We were on the road to Dilijan when we stopped at a random corn stall. The “dadik” smiled when she saw that we were a group of young Armenians; one could tell how happy she was to meet us. The warmth of her smile gave our group a strong connection to this newly met woman.
Another person we encountered that left an impression upon me was an old man from Dilijan. We were walking around the village and we saw a small opening, we decided to go near, when we got close to the opening we realized that it was a shack with an old man inside. We slowly started to walk away not knowing that it was inhabited, but then the old man began to come out to greet us. He was equipped with a hammer, dusty clothes and a smile. This man goes on to explain how he recently purchased this room and is currently under renovation. We died of laughter as we walked back to the van! Thinking of these two individuals from two separate places in Armenia brings a smile to my face. Both were from different places, but were extremely welcoming regardless of their situations.
Some might say that these people are blissfully ignorant without having American resources and innovations, but I believe that America has been blinded by its own progression. Regardless of the problems and tribulations my country and my people have been put through, happiness exists and we want to be a part of fostering good spirits. Happiness can be created in many ways, whether it is through the relationships made with the sharing of corn or through being welcomed into one’s personal home.
America’s smile can captivate and mesmerize people with its razzle-dazzle, and although Armenia is missing some teeth and does not have that eerily perfectness, I am more likely to return that smile.
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