Assa Novikova

Assa Novikova

Where did you come from and why?

I came from Moscow because I fell in love with a Georgian boy named Gabriel. I’ve been visiting Tbilisi very frequently since last year and dreamed of moving here. So, in February, I fell in love and finally made the long-awaited move.

In what district do you live?

I live in Chugureti district, in a “dead” one-room apartment, along with Nastya (roommate/friend). When I saw photos of this apartment on the Internet, I thought: Oh my God, this is some kind of Jarmusch’s film “Endless Vacations”. This apartment has potential. Just like all of us. Our balcony even “starred” in the movie Blue Mountains. But it is very cold in the winter.

Five of your favorite places in Tbilisi.

I don’t have any special favorite place, because I don’t go to cafes and bars. And so, every place where I made good memories or felt good becomes my favorite. These places are – the Tabidze bridge, houses, and apartments of friends, Turtle Lake, and the Botanical Garden, the Dial, which has already closed, or Dunkin Donuts near Marjanishvili.

What are you doing, tell us about your project?

I have one project – how to make money. But this is not going well at the moment. I have a cool page “From the Red Line”, which is lagging behind because I do not have enough interesting Russian books in Tbilisi. Nastya and I are now planning to make a zing about Tbilisi. Well, in general, for half a year in Georgia a decent amount of cool texts have accumulated, and like any decent person, I finally need to write a book.

Name five things in Georgia that surprised you.

Oh, there is too much to say in a nutshell. It was especially felt in the first weeks after the move. There are very handsome men. And women. People are truly beautiful here. People dress stylishly. They have some very relaxed, European urban-chic style. Moscow also has a lot of fashionistas, but they are too pathetic. There is no pathos. There are a lot of stray dogs on the streets. But they are all microchipped and affectionate. In Tbilisi, I always feel safe. I’m never afraid to return home at night. Here people look at you.

After Moscow, where everyone is looking at their feet, this is unusual and seems defiant. Here everyone is very kind and open, always ready to help. If you stop in the middle of the street in confusion, they will definitely offer their help. Also, it is in the order of things, to shelter someone for the night, or for a month. I’ve been rescued more than once.

I was also very surprised by Georgian medicine. I underwent one major operation here, and I still remember the doctors with gratitude. I had never seen more tender doctors in my life. And everything that happens here is very similar to a movie. Very much like constant series of some funny and touching scenes. The most picturesque texture of Tbilisi: everything is beautiful here, even the ruins of houses.

People who just stand on the street and chatting, the boys who play the ball, the old man busy fixing shoes – all this is so open, so frank, and just … I’m even sorry that nobody except Danelia and Gabriadze could really express this enchanting Georgian space. 

Can you say something in Georgian?

Kartuli ar mesmis. I repeat this phrase most often. It means “I do not understand Georgian.”

Stan Gaivoronsky
Stan Gaivoronsky

Author of the book “How to open a bookstore and not to screw up", founder of the school of creative writing and the blog "Tbilisi and surrounding area". Born and raised in Moscow, lives in Tbilisi.

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