Before the time I reached China, I have heard various ideas from my European friends about China, about Chinese customs, culture and people. Generally saying it will sound like Chine is a different planet with its unique conception of life, ancient culture and its marvelous customs, which are quite different from other countries of the entire world. My knowledge about China ranges from the Chinese history to Chinese Foreign Policy and some information from mysterious telling and sayings in many books and people on its nature, culture.
So, I am coming to China, do not know a single word in Chinese and have narrow idea on its nature, what kind of people are Chinese here, in China, how they behave and how they live…These were questions I was so much fascinated with. At night I arrived in Nanjing, due to the body language succeed in finding a hotel to spend the night. Next day I walked out and to my great surprise, I found myself in no other place but in my childhood. The red Communist Party flags, pioneers, sayings on red posters…On the very first day on the place which seemed to be so far from my home, I found myself so familiar, as if I took a trip back to the Soviet Socialist Armenia.
It took me several months to get acquainted with Chinese and investigate new similarities between Armenian and China, the two countries which I had never drew parallels before.
Who could even imagine that there are some customs so close to ours’? My European friend could hardly ever imagine them living together with husband’s parents with their new-formed family after marriage, but many Armenians couples are still living, so imagine my surprise when I see such families in China.
I year ago, in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, I met two Armenian guys who were married to Chinese women and they live with their mother and father, I asked to myself how these women feel themselves while living with their husbands’ parents, because I thought that modern Chinese life must be much more look like western. But I found out that, it is a part of their custom as well.
The parents take care of their children up to the end of their life, and children no matter of what age are they, take care of their parents.
Another story is with the bill that Armenian guys are rushing to pay while having meal with their friends. Almost in every country even the close friends are sharing the bill, but the Armenians, who have the honor to pay first, so it turned to be that it is with the Chinese guys as well. Whiling having my meal at various places not once I had chance to see friends jokily quarrelling on who should be the first to rush to pay for all of them.
How it comes that two countries China and Armenia geographically being so far are so close to each other. How it comes that an Armenian living in South Caucasus will find more common things with Chinese living in Far East rather than with let me say Europeans leaving closer to us…It is the question that interests me greatly, but still have not a complete answer.
I wonder maybe it is the influence of the Communist ideology, which no doubt, played a significant role in the “formation” of customs, but in no other Former Communist countries one can see such similar customs in everyday-life as it is with the case of China and Armenia.
Maybe it is the case of Asian similarities, but that also cannot be the last answer, as compared with Chinese and Armenian customs some Asian countries are so different as the planets on the space.
Maybe it is worth mentioning to investigate the Mamikonyans’ Dynasty, who came to Armenia from China in middle ages. Mamikonyans in a brief period get acquainted with Armenian life and finally became the Historical generals of the Armenian Kingdom whose braveness and poverty impressed historians and new generations.
In the end, I will say that my travel gives me new opportunities to discover China and Chinese people and maybe I will find answers to my questions as well.