Saturday, June 28, 2008
When "Abroad" Becomes a Home
Some of you probably heard about the Euro 2008 soccer semi-final results - Russia got completely swamped by the Spanish team. In fact, they met twice during the tournament, and on both occasions, Spain pretty much outplayed Russia, particularly in the semi finals.
Now, fear not, my friends, this blog isn't about football (sorry, I should say "soccer"!) but rather about sometimes - only sometimes - actually feeling like you miss being home, in my case, back in Europe.
One of my best friends in Moscow sent me a message on Facebook this morning and we had a brief chat about the Euro 2008 - she couldn't believe that I missed all of the games, except for the highlights (Russian cable TV made us, the viewers, watch the scored goals a million times over and over again!) - "It's time you come back home," she added, jokingly.
And then I realized something...
A lot of my friends - both in Russia and Georgia - have never really approved my moving abroad. Not only because we don't get to see each other that often (I visited Moscow, where my parents are still based primarily, last September, but believe it or not, I haven't been in Georgia for... 4 years... shocking!!!) but also due to a simple fact - you'd be surprised how many of my friends and relatives strongly believe that one should live and die in one's very own homeland. An admirable kind of patriotism, no doubt, and as much as I love and miss both of my homes and the family and friends, I sometimes wonder if I could ever go back for good, having lived away from home for so long now... Should I feel guilty? I'm not even sure if this is good or bad.
Ever since I was a little girl, watching all the Hollywood movies, listening to what we used to then call "The American music" ranging from Barbra Streisand and Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson, Whitney, etc. I had an inexplicably strong urge to one day live in this country and do what I love the most (and have always loved, in fact) here, in USA. A part of this fascination was definitely an offspring of my parents' ultimate dream for me to live here someday.
When the first group of ex-Soviet people were finally allowed to cross the border into the Western world, my parents came to the States to visit some friends on several occasions, which was pretty much unheard of at the time. So every time they went away for a couple of weeks to the Land of Hope and Dreams, my cousin (it's weird calling Ketuta my cousin, she's my sister, for God's sake - after all, we grew up together!) and I used to mark the days of their absence on our individual calendar as our grandma had suggested to keep us entertained and out of mischief... :-) We were rather impossible, particularly when we were plotting the next "disaster" as a duo! :-)
Back when the Soviet System Collapsed and people were hopeful and excited about the future back home, my dad, was offered a very tempting and creative job in NY with a Green Card, refurbished home, etc. to go with it, and had my mom not insisting on going back to Georgia ("How can we ever leave our home, family, friends???", she was definitely against it!) I'm sure we would have moved right away. But we stayed back in Tbilisi, and guess what? A year or so later, a civil war broke out! Good timing! :-)
The next opportunity was also turned down, but this time by none other than yours truly. When I came to New York to perform at the Alan & Marilyn Bergman show several years ago, my agent strongly suggested - no, he actually insisted - that I stay in the US and pursue my career here, except not in the pop world but on Broadway, instead. Because of all sorts of reasons, I declined the tempting offer and stubbornly made it clear that I wanted to live in London and that was it.
Well, I did move to London some time later, and I have to say I never ever regretted the teenage decision, although deep down, I always had a quiet urge to one day move here, to America, but this time on my own terms. How was it different from the previous offer? It was actually a great offer, now that I look back on it, but somehow I didn't feel prepared at the time and don't ask why - who knows! Immaturity being one of the issues, for sure :-)
So when I think about the struggle and a long path that perhaps could have been easier and shorter, after all, under different circumstances, I don't for a second want to go back and leave all of this behind, especially being half way "there", it would mean betraying myself in many ways. And as much as I love and miss my friends back home, there's a constant will power and a passion for what I do and why I do what I love in a country that was always an ultimate dream destination for me - and there's no way I could let it go. Those of you who had to make that journey at one point will surely understand what this is all about...
I don't think I'd be so passionate and so madly in love with all of this had it dropped on my lap too easily and too quickly... Doubt it.