It all started with a journey into my past, into the depth of myself. Unexpectedly and abruptly, I was called to drop everything I was doing to go back. Living far from my original home, I was slowly withering away, having turned into someone else, when a dream awakened me from my stupor.

‘Finally in Armenia, in front of me I see Sevan, our high mountain fresh-water lake: the only place where the dry, rocky, mountainous highland can sooth its thirst; the place where the struggles and efforts can surrender to peace, finding healing life forces. I see a small…


The relationship most women have with their appearance is a complex one. Rarely is it ever simply a natural part of one’s identity and a way of being; normally beauty or sexual attraction is either underplayed and feared, exaggerated and abused, or put aside all together.

When women’s day celebration rolls along, I often ask myself which aspect of being a woman we are addressing? Is it the celebration of this appearance, of our beauty? An emphasis on our sexual differences from men? Or maybe an apology for the equality that seems to be forever eluding us?

Being a woman…


Today would have been Carnaval here in Brazil. Walking the near empty streets of Rio, I felt sadness for the world’s greatest celebration that did not take place, for the people who did not have time to let go, lighten up, unravel themselves. I sorely missed seeing all the colorful masterfully crafted costumes, the silly and sexy, the frivolous and elaborate. From youngest to old, everyone would take part in the festivities, sharing a contagion of happiness and letting go, of becoming someone for those magical days of transformation.

The more I thought about what I missed most, the more…


It was exactly ten years ago. I remember clearly the moment I received a call with an urgent offer to move to São Paulo for a one-year USAID contract. I said yes. Immediately. Without thinking twice. I had just gotten a very reputable position at the World Bank, living a very prestigious comfortable life in Washington. But there was something inside of was pulling, calling me viscerally, to Brazil.

At the time, I didn’t understand my own decision rationally. I recalled the wave I first dove into in Bahia and the blissful feeling of being one with nature. Then I…


It’s five am, and I am up sleepless. Woke up restless with heavy stomachache, gasping for air, unwell, body aching. No, it’s not Covid. After spending two beautiful months ´exiled ´into wilderness, I came back to the city, to Rio de Janeiro.

Within a few hours, my husband started having his regular allergic reactions (something he had completely forgotten about in the last two months), my daughter fell prey to itchy skin and UTI symptoms. My digestion immediately deteriorated, making me feel pain, foggy-headed, lethargic. Immediately, our sleep became restless, our energy levels dropped, we became anxious & unwell. …


As we enter the sixths month of our fight against the strange enemy, I can’t help but pull my notes from healthy policy and public health classes out, in an attempt to process and put our current situation in context. Immediately, I come across the definition of health, coined in 1948 as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’ by the World Health Organization.

Asides from the definition, I am reminded of the great world of difference that exists between the concept of health in conventional versus traditional medicine…


I was a young idealist, aspiring to contribute to a better world when I moved to Washington D.C. from the West Coast to pursue a career in International Development. I had just finished my BA in Health Psychology, when I received my acceptance letter into the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies Master’s Program to be part of the first cohort of health policy studies, funded by the Gates Foundation.

As our class grappled to figure out how countries and international organizations could best coordinate policies to work on and resolve increasingly global health issues, one important theme kept coming…


For the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten myself into many uncomfortable arguments about the lockdown, data analysis, use of masks with the intention of making sense of this new life we are supposed to make work. As I found myself deeper into the arguments but further from any consensus, I looked deeper inside to figure out the reasons for being unable to agree on any of my friend’s and colleague’s convincing arguments. I finally realized that my opposition was not about the measures per se; it went beyond them.

Before all of this happened, we as a humanity were…


This time of the year is an emotional rollercoaster for me: April 23rd and April 24th, for completely different reasons, have a powerful significance for me of remembering and reconnecting to my ancestry. My beloved grandmother’s birthday — a day of remembering someone in love with life and unwavering sense of inner power. Followed by a grimness of the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. This year, as I was sharing with my 4-year old pictures of Rita, the great grandma she’d never met, and contemplating whether it was time to also show her the documentary I had made about the genocide…


Yesterday, as I posted a ´very´ controversial article on Facebook about Sweden’s less-than-strict response to the virus, I knew I’d get some negative comments. What I didn’t realize is how personal some people would take my opinion, nor how serious of a backlash I’d get. In an effort to explain my dissenting opinion, I decided I owe everyone, myself including, a real explanation of the reasons for my disagreement.

My motivation for questioning the current draconian lockdown policies is not in an aim to belittle the seriousness of the situation. Nor does it suggest a defense of the economy in…

Bella B

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