Call of the Blood 06/15/2015

Being 1/8th Armenian, Lindsay Peckham always recalls having an interest in all things Armenian due to her close relationship with her paternal grandmother. Her father instilled in both her and her brothers a great sense of pride in being Armenian early on, and would often tell them intriguing stories of their Armenian great-grandfather.

Lindsay lives just 30 minutes south of Watertown, MA, where there is a large Armenian community. As her grandmother taught her how to bake, Lindsay and her family make regular visits to Watertown in order to buy the ingredients necessary for Armenian almond cookies, nutmeg cake, and the classic choreg.

After the sudden death of her grandmother in 2012, Lindsay wanted to find a program in order to continue having a connection with her Armenian ancestry. After the birth of her daughter, Lyla, she needed something flexible that could fit with her schedule as a busy mother as well as a part-time worker at Quincy College. That was when she found the Armenian Virtual College and knew immediately it was what she needed.

Initially interested in the Armenian culture, Lindsay enrolled in AVC’s courses on Armenian architecture. “I knew nothing about architecture when I first started and I didn’t know what to expect,”she says. “By the end of the course, I had such an appreciation of the architecture—especially that of Armenian churches.” Lindsay then decided to enroll in Armenian music courses as well, and connected with the composer Komitas and his story. She continues to listen to him today, and often wonders if her great-grandfather did as well.

As no one in her family speaks Armenian, Lindsay was understandably apprehensive about learning the language. However, due to her desire to always learn another language, and her great experience with her Online Instructor Ani, she ultimately decided to enroll in language classes as well, and is now in Intermediate Western Armenian. Lindsay says, “The alphabet was definitely the most difficult thing at first as it is completely unique and different from English. While it was challenging at first, I now love it. I enjoy teaching my two-year-old daughter Lyla some words, too!”

Lindsay also mentioned that she just recently finished Zabel Yesayan’s The Gardens of Silihdar , and found the subject matter fascinating, and would like to someday enroll in Armenian literature courses as well.

Over time Lindsay has become very attached to AVC and her Online Instructor: “ I consider AVC to be family, and anyone would be lucky to be a part of such a great family.” She speaks of her Online Instructor with admiration: “I could not have asked for a better instructor. I consider Ani to be one of my friends! She has taught me so much and is always there when I have a question or a concern.”

While she does not have any immediate plans to visit Armenia, it has always been a dream of hers. Lindsay noted that one of the highlights would now also be to meet Ani and the entire AVC crew, as well as her pen-pal who she has been writing to for 17 years!

Now that Lindsay recognizes and understands Armenian—whether written or spoken, it provides a great confidence boost and she knows that her late grandmother would be so proud that she is pursuing the Armenian language. Lindsay’s devotion to her ancestors goes even further. She aims to instill the sense of being Armenian into her daughter as well by continuing to teach her about the Armenian culture and language—as they enjoy homemade choreg!

By Lena Tashjian