Become Inspired with Arshalouys Kashiktchian
Meet Ashley, AKA Arshalouys Kashiktchian, the woman behind the Youtube channel “Become Inspired”, that you should follow in case you want to learn some Arts and crafts, or make a Clear Mask with Velcro, or learn about Armenian Embroidery.
Learn Scalp Massage for Hair Growth & Migraines, or How to Cut a Cop’s Hair, making Pepper preserve, or keeping animals, How to Paint Flower (Oil on Canvas) and best of all Armenian Knotted needle lace making.
Her son, Michael Kashiktchian told us “My mom is such a special, magnificent woman. I mainly made these videos to leave a legacy for her so I could look back one day and see her incredible talent, to show my children, and to show their children.
She’s the friendliest and warmest person I know. We live in Los Angeles, CA. I will be posting her additional videos on her YouTube channel soon.”
What can you find on “Become Inspired”
An Armenian lady named Arshalouys greets her viewers in her videos on the YouTube channel, Become Inspired.
Armenian Needle Lace being one of her greatest passions. “When I was born in Syria over 60 years ago, I quickly became an orphaned child. Just after I became an orphan, I was taken to Lebanon when I was 18 months old and was immediately placed in the Birds Nest Armenian Orphanage – Trchnots Pouyn (Թռչնոց բոյն), which still serves children today.
At the orphanage, I loved playing games, running, and competing in sports with my friends. I had very high energy and was always running around; those were my fondest memories.
When I was about 6 years old, one of my teachers, Ms. Serpouhi, taught me the beautiful art of Armenian Needle Lace during a summertime visit to the Lebanese countryside, or village, in Jbeil, Lebanon. This is where I fell in love with all things related to art, handiwork, and animals.
I would find birds that had fallen out of their nests and would nurse them to health. I immersed myself in the beauty of the countryside and spent the rest of my time doing arts and crafts. I practiced my lace-making skills at the orphanage every day until I was 11 years old when I was adopted.
My new family brought me to America when I was 21 years old. Since 1980, I have been a hairdresser, and in 1987, I opened my own salon in Los Angeles, CA. I am married and have two wonderful sons who make me so proud to be their mother.”
How was it growing from the Birds’ Nest to Youtube
Aypoupen: Do you know how your parents passed away? Do you have relatives there? Have you been back?
Arshalouys Kashiktchian: I was born in Syria in 1958. As a young girl, I was raised by my father for a few years before he came to Lebanon to continue working on sewing machines. I had five siblings and my father was unable to care for us all.
Four of us were put into an orphanage. My oldest brother, Ardo, was 10 years old at the time and was too old to be accepted into the orphanage. Lucine, Anahid, Vasken, and I went to the Trchnots Pouyn Orphanage. Just before that, I had my one and only memory of my mother from when she was in a mental hospital.
When I was 5 years old, I visited my mother, who was sitting in a wheelchair in a mental hospital after she had lost her mind some years before that. My only memory of her is when she made the sign of the cross with both of her hands. Shortly after my visit, my mother died in the hospital. My father had a long life and lived to be 97 years old; he died only a few years ago in 2018.
My half-brother, Khachig, and half-sister, Maral, along with my brother Vasken and sister Anahid, still live in Lebanon today. I had the blessing of being able to visit Lebanon in 2002 and in 2015. My sister Lucine lives in Australia and my brother Ardo was killed in a construction accident last year.
Aypoupen: Have you been at the Bird’s Nest Orphanage ever again? Did u have any close friends there? Do u remember anyone other than Ms. Serpouhi, maybe any priest? Were you treated well at the orphanage?
Arshalouys Kashiktchian: I went back to visit Trchnots Pouyn during both of my Lebanon visits in 2002 and in 2015. I had wonderful memories at the orphanage, and I was treated very well. Had great priests and “sisters”(teachers), I did have close friends when I was a child but I do not keep in touch with any of them today.
A teacher from the orphanage, Mr. Vartges, though my memory of him is not fond and I remember him to be abusive (hitting boys). I ran into Vartges some years back here in California. There have been many memories of abuse from different people that I have suppressed over the years. I am an optimist and I choose to see the positive always.
Aypoupen: Do u have photos of your adoptive parents? Or any photo of your childhood?
Arshalouys Kashiktchian: I have few if any photos from my childhood. Growing up in their household, I played the role of a caretaker of their four children, all four of whom I loved and still love dearly. They are my brothers and sisters here in the United States: Robert, Nadine, Pierre, and Janet.
In fact, getting adopted and coming to the United States at age 17 was the most wonderful thing to happen to me. I joined the Armenian Girl Scouts and went to school. Even though I did not complete high school, I learned a lot about living in America. I still continued caring for my adoptive brothers and sisters, as I was the oldest sibling.
I earned my license in cosmetology, got married, and began my own life as an independent Armenian woman with my own beauty salon. Back at Trchnots Pouyn, there is a photo of me as a young girl on one of the walls at the orphanage. I was so amazed to see this photo at the orphanage when I went back to visit in 2015.
Aypoupen: What other crafts and arts do you do? Do you have any grandchildren now? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Arshalouys Kashiktchian: Arts and crafts are my life! There are too many to name, but I am passionate about all of them. Crochet, basket making, sewing, masonry, knitting, carpentry, Armenian Needle Lace, cooking, painting, cosmetology, tailoring, and rescuing all kinds of animals.
As an orphan at Trchnots Pouyn, I (ironically) rescued many baby birds (Trchoun) that had fallen out of their nests (Pouyn). I nursed them to health and freedom as I did to a sparrow just two weeks ago! And about three days ago, a lost and sick baby kitten wandered into my yard. I’m now taking care of it.
It is as if these animals know to come to me, and I welcome them with open arms. Where do I see myself in five years? Only God knows, but I hope to be with my two amazing sons, Daniel and Michael, and my future grandchildren. Hurry up, Michael and Aysha! Daniel, may you be next.
Aypoupen: We are proud of our women, whose lives are proof of the strong indestructible material they are made of. You represent the Armenian mother image who is unstoppable and always giving.
Arshalouys Kashiktchian: Thank you for your kind words and thank you for empowering Armenian women. I am happy to answer these questions, and since I’ve never been asked some of these questions and have never had a chance to answer them, I had a little hard time with some of them.
Araz, this was difficult for me to write and I’m grateful for the opportunity you gave me to share.
Aypoupen: Thank you for your time, for speaking out from your heart. Love your spirit and dedication, may God bless you and your family.
Michael added, “…and I noticed you featured my mother’s Armenian needle lace videos on your website! I wanted to thank you for that… this brought her a lot of traffic on YouTube! We just recorded 6 more videos and we will be posting them very soon.
I hope the videos brought Aypoupen just as much success as they brought for my mom’s YouTube channel. Please let me know if there are ways we can work together in the future to help promote one another.”
Thank You, Michael, for supporting your mother, believing in her and helping her with the videos, we wish her to have a long, healthy and happy life, in a house full of young children, so that she might share her experience with us on how to raise and inspire her grandchildren.