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"One of the many reasons why I love Greece is the sea. It's a pity that my motherland Armenia doesn't have seas. I enjoy fishing on Sundays; it's more like a hobby to me. I don't see why I should stay at home. When I do it, I find myself running errands for the women."
Ruben Clian spends most of his free time fishing at Eleusis beach. For a living, he makes statue casts of Minerva, the Caryatids or the Acropolis. Even though he came to Greece when he was 30 years old, he loves everything Greek, because his father, the son of an Armenian immigrant, was born in Nigrita of Serres.
"When my father came of age he returned to Armenia in order to start his own family and he infused his love for Greece to me. He placed Greece in my heart from the moment I was born. I passionately adored Greece, even before I visited the country. He taught me the Greek dances and songs. I came here and I was able to dance zeibekiko as well as the Greeks did".
Ruben has four sisters, living in Greece, Estonia and France; a family in the four cardinal points. "My grandparents were immigrants, my parents too, we are immigrants as well, where will it end? We preserve our customs fighting tooth and nail, so that our children won’t forget their heritage. Our people will be vanished without our language and religion. I sometimes ask my son: what do you think about going back to Armenia, our home, it is difficult here. What am I supposed to do there dad, I don't even know how it is like", he answers.
Ruben's son is a good boy, an excellent student and champion in wrestling, while he is a fan of Panathenaikos, like most of the Armenians, because the team once had an Armenian coach named Markarian.
Life is getting hard
There are seven Armenian families living in Aspropyrgos. They often recollect their homeland when they meet. But they have been strongly affected by the financial crisis, like all immigrants living in the same area. "Life has been very tough in Greece, I'm not complaining, I just say what I feel. When we had the drachmas, we were able to go to a ten-day vacation trip at Kiato of Korinthos, now with the euro and the crisis nothing is easy any more".
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS