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Anna Khubayeva, Tbilisi

My Abkhaz cousin has never heard about Justin Bieber, and I've never heard Chechen music

A few days ago, my cousins came to visit. They live in Sukhumi and come to Tbilisi several times a year: to see a doctor, to do some shopping (from what I’ve heard from our moms’ talking, prices here are way cheaper than in Sukhumi), to spend some time with their grandmother and, since not too long ago to visit their grandfather’s grave.

My sister and I always get to see them when they come to Tbilisi, and every time we come together a bunch of emotions surface.

At the beginning, I’m super shy and feel like I’m meeting someone new, but then we never fail to find something to have a conversation about. This time we happened to talk about music (among other things) and discuss our favourite bands and singers with each other. And how surprising it was!

Our music tastes turned out to be absolutely different: they didn’t like the songs I like and I didn’t like the ones they did.

In general, it came down to a ‘East-West divide’; they listen to songs in Russian and I prefer songs in English.

They knew that I liked “One Direction” from their previous visit, but I was shocked when they told me they’d never heard of Ariana Grande or Arctic Monkeys (though I’m not saying that they should know them, it’s just that I’m used to the fact that literally everybody around me has an opinion on these musicians).

What surprised me even more was that he hadn’t heard the name of Justin Bieber (!!).

I showed them my music playlist and my younger cousin, Alan asked: “Like how is that possible? You have about 100 songs on your phone and none of them are in Russian?”

He said he liked listening to Arab and Chechen songs, and it was the first time I’d heard about such music, or even that Chechnya existed.

The same thing happened when we started talking about TV-shows we liked.

Richi, an older cousin of mine, said he watched only Russian channels. He scoffed when I failed to name at least one entertainment TV programme produced in Russia.

He said English was not the most important subject in his school. He was surprised when I told him I could speak English and most of my classmates could, too.

My younger sister Maria and Alan are the same age. She has been learning English since the 1st grade and Alan hasn’t even started learning it. He's in the 5th grade.

Richi wants to be a doctor. I haven’t decided what I want to be yet. Maybe I will be an interior designer. Taking about what we will be in the future is one theme we can discuss without getting on each other's nerves.

The opinions expressed in the article convey the author’s terminology and views and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editorial staff

Published: 31.08.2016

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Anna Khubayeva, Tbilisi

collage by Anna Khubayeva, Tbilisi 09 January 2017 - 04:55

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