Learning where your family comes from and who you are is an exciting, confusing, often lifelong process, especially for Americans whose mixed ancestry or eradicated culture has hidden the facts and obscured the details. Many Americans don’t even have a physical homeland to make a pilgrimage to, let alone a shared cultural pedigree beyond the TV shows we binge watch and the solidarity we feel from our favorite sports teams and kinds of pizza.

In the literary magazine EcotoneNaira Kuzmich travels to Armenia, where she was born and where her parents eventually left for America. Invasions, survival, Christianity, sacred numerology, femininity, hefty stones and churches — Armenia is a rich, beautiful, ancient country like no other. Living in Los Angeles, Kuzmich still struggled to understand her ancestral home. When her aunt takes her to the Garni pagan temple and the famous Geghard Christian monastery, things start to become clearer. Sort of.

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