A Dichotomous City

There is a stark dichotomy in my neighborhood between decaying and ripening. The buildings are unraveling at the seams; the trees are growing. Death and life collaborate, producing resilience.

I came here to study resilience, and Tbilisi, Georgia itself is teaching me how to keep moving forward.

Buildings stand vulnerable, exposing their layers of history, teaching me the value of being resilient by being transparent with others. Each layer tells a different chapter, while the archive of layers tells the entire story.

Gates into courtyards remain open through the day, allowing glimpses of people who have endured conflict and who have seen peace. The open gates teach me the courage to welcome others in, in spite of those in the past who have invaded with ill intentions. Those who stand in front of the church, waiting for the priest to arrive, teach me to believe in something (religious or otherwise); for to be resilient you must have something for which to fight.

Such a dichotomy is a reminder that our identities are much more complex than the image we attempt to create for ourselves. Past any facade is an entire story waiting to be told and waiting to be heard. This is a glimpse at Tbilisi’s resilience.

Tiana Hodzic is a psychology major and women’s studies minor. She is studying abroad at Tbilisi State University through the College of Extended Studies program Issues of Gender and Identity in Georgia.

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