From Europe to Georgia with love13.02.2013 | 20:02
Nina Topuridze is one of more than eight hundred thousand women in Tbilisi. Nina is a native of Georgia, but she has spent abroad more than 10 years. The first departure was associated with the disease, and then difficult 90s came, when everyone who was able fled from Georgia. Nina left for Europe with this flood. West has taught her a lot, changed her habits and tastes, and made her more relaxed and smiling. But, as Nina says, home is home. And a person may have only one home. Today she is back to Tbilisi.
- Nina, you have lived abroad for a long time. What were these countries, and where have you lived for the longest?
- Can we consider Russia a foreign country?
- Well, in general, yes, but it depends on when you lived there.
- It was in the Soviet era, and I left because of illness. Treatment was delayed, and I stayed there for a total of 5 years. But if we're talking about the time when Georgia was independent, then we should talk about England. I liked England more than the rest of Europe. Contrary to popular belief that the people there are cold, stiff and arrogant, in fact, I have not noticed that. For me, England - this is a good-natured atmosphere, respect for tradition and family values.
- So, the familiar and native things attracted you in the West.
- Yes. It is very difficult to leave such a country like Georgia, for example, for Germany. There, you should expect coolness and indifference. You feel like a foreign body. I was not able to get used to the cooler climate in the society and to adapt. In England, you can easily knock on the door to the neighbor and ask, for example, an onion, and you will surely get it.
- Have you had to work in England?
- Yes. I worked in a company hosting ballroom dances contests. I had to deal with teams from the former Soviet Union. Specificity of work here and in the West is very different. First, there is a huge number of jobs that do not require higher education. Here, even if you aspire to job of a saleswoman at the store, then you will be asked about education, and they will chose the one who has two higher educations. In Europe, when you are already taken at a period of probation, they will initiate you into all stages of work. You start from the bottom and gradually get through all the stages. This helps later when you give orders to subordinates. Your requirements are not impracticable. It would be nice if the Georgian employers introduce this practice.
- Was it difficult for you to find job?
- My friend helped me. But there really was a vacancy. A woman took maternity leave and the place was vacant.
- So, you got a job in Europe through the acquaintance, as it's done in Georgia. Have you had free time? How did you spend your leisure time?
- Yes, I had. First, I am very disciplined person, secondly, the way of life there is such that everything has its time. There is time to work, there is time to relax. I met with friends, went to the cinema, cafes and restaurants.
- Where your day lasted longer: here or in London?
- In England. You know, there's more time to do your business. It depends on many external factors. Sometimes you have to work overtime. You can't schedule everything. In London, you spend even the time in a bus in a sensible way.
- Like what?
- For example, you get to the second floor, make yourself comfortable. You can eat, paint your nails, read a brochure. Here, transport is not a place where you do not live, where you do not want to linger.
- What has changed you personally in Europe?
- First of all, it has cultivated in me a love to minimalism: in the clothes, in the interior. We have got used to think that the more shine, the more expensive, the better a thing is. And in fact, it is better when there are little things, when a person exists in every thing.
- Nina, what caught your eye in the first place when you returned to Georgia after a long absence?
- It was sadness on people's faces. I would not say that they are evil, but they are sad. And a little bit rude. In Europe, there are more smiles, more politeness. For example, in Italy or Spain, if some man on the street likes you, he approaches you, makes a compliment and says a bunch of nice words and so on.
- And what's in Georgia?
- A Georgian, even if he likes a woman, he would nothing but to shout something. A man experiences simple lack of human warmth, courtesy and kindness always and everywhere. Even when you know that smiling saleswoman - this is just a mask of duty, it is still more pleasant than to meet a stern face full of sadness. Or let's take the attitude to pedestrians. Our drivers won't give way to pedestrians, especially when a woman is behind the wheel. She never gives way to female pedestrian. And in Europe, they certainly make way for the pedestrians.
- And yet, no matter how well you felt in Europe, you have returned. Why? Is it due to changes in power? In 2011, I often had to meet Georgians living in different European countries. And almost all of them said that if Ivanishvili comes to power, they go home. Has your return something to do with it?
-No. I am totally apolitical. I've always felt that my home is here. When I bought something, my first thought was, "When I'll be at home, I'll do that and put it out there". Even when I was married. I was married twice. All the same, I've called this place my home.