1/2 in Tbilisi — Interview #5 — Neli Tsivtsivadze
Who are you?
So, my name is Neli Tsivtsivadze. I'm currently a student. I'm studying to become a lawyer, and I'm working as a paralegal.
What makes you or made you do what you do?
I wanted to work with human rights. In Georgia, I think there are a lot of problems in terms of women's rights, racial, religious and sexual minorities, and so on… And that made me want to work more with these issues. That's why I decided to study law. That is one of the mechanisms that you can actually use to have some impact on the society. I know it sounds abstract and big but, you know, just small parts of it. I'll probably pick a small field, like one of the rights. Just work in a NGO or somewhere, I don't know… I tried to work at a public organization and then I started working at a private organization, just to see which one would be more effective. I'm just exploring different things…
What is your dream? Or your ambition?
My dream would be to just have a lot of time to travel around. To have experiences in different cities and different countries, to see more before I actually settle down and start working, and become concentrated on my profession. I just want to have the freedom to move around as much as possible.
Could you tell us a childhood memory?
When I was a kid, I was really afraid of mirrors. Usually, we think that we're looking in the mirror and we're seeing ourselves. And I would sit and I would think: maybe, it's not like that, maybe, it's the mirror that is looking at us. And we feel so free in front of the mirror because it's just us and the mirror, and we can be whatever we want. But maybe it's the other way around, the mirror is making you vulnerable to do whatever you want and it's just looking at you.
What do you do when you don't do anything?
I just sit in my room and listen to music. And I'm doing nothing. It's free space. I don't even have to think. My mind is occupied by the music.
What is the place in Tbilisi you like the most?
I like green areas in Tbilisi, like squares, Mtatsminda park maybe, Botanical Garden. And also older parts of Tbilisi, with smaller streets which have all this character and are very old. I think at the moment Tbilisi is going through great changes. Old parts of Tbilisi are turning very modern and it's not organic. So, I like being connected to these older parts which feel more like home or something, I don't know. Like our childhood, maybe. Maybe it was just like that.
Could you tell us a Georgian personality you find inspiring?
I would say that it would be my friend right now. We have been friends for five or six years. And it's a big presence in my life. We used to be very different and then we met each other, and now it's like six years later, and we are still these very different people but we see characters traits of each other in one another, and that feels very strange. And when you just look at how you used to be and how you are now and you feel you've done a good job; when you feel you have developed in some way through interconnection with other people - it feels great.
What inspires you?
At the moment, I would say music. The first song I listen to in the morning, that's how my day will go. When I'm going somewhere, I listen to music, and you know, it just determines how my mood goes, how my interconnection with other people goes… Sometimes, I'm walking in the street and I ask myself: what should I listen to? And you know that if you pick the wrong song, it will spoil everything. It will the spoil the moment.
Do you see any relationship between your work and the city of Tbilisi?
Yes, I think so, because our society doesn't really like change. It's very reluctant to change and, I mean, in terms of people, we like people in general but we have a little trouble to like them individually, when people are different. We have a big comfort zone. I think that's maybe a complex from the Soviet era, because everything had to be very similar and that gave us a sense of comfort. We knew who these people were, because they were supposed to be just like us. And then, when you see that one person, who is different — and it can be some ideas, it can be religion, sexual orientation, it can be anything — it brings a sense of discomfort in many people. That's why some people tend to be a little bit aggressive. I think there is a lot of work to be done with that. It's very difficult to understand from which point of view you can focus on that problem. So I decided to work from the point of view of law. Maybe, there could be some changes in the legislation. You can think a lot about what to do about all these social issues, but I thought that this would be a way, a very specific way of addressing some of the problems I see and which I have encountered personally and which many of my friends have encountered. So it gives me a sense of being more in control of the situation, finding a way, a very specific plan, to deal with the issues that are very big and very hard to identify.