FIVE “ENEMIES” that I met in Bazaleti

By Sos Avetisyan

This summer was a summer of great discoveries… In June students and non-students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia gathered in lovely Bazaleti to play a game of being the other.

I deliberately didn’t reflect on the psychological game and training right after the seminar was over as it usually takes a longer time to understand great experiences. There, in Bazaleti, I have “FIVE ENEMIES,” and they all taught me something very important, just like those “FIVE PEOPLE” in the famous book of Mitch Albom.

THE 1st “ENEMY”: THE AWESOME-GIRL: A smart and lucent girl with green eyes and light curly hair introduced herself in a very friendly way, “Hello, I am from the “ENEMYLAND.” Very nice to meet you.” The first thought that I had was, “Wow this “ENEMY” is different!” During the workshop, I found out that we both were in the “THIRDLAND,” and also that she was passionate to use word “Awesome!!!” Our endless talks were hardly about the topic that made her land to my land an “ENEMYLAND” and vice versa. We concentrated our efforts on talking about music, books, shoes, diets, food in Bazaleti, weather in Bazaleti, people in Bazaleti, and also sometimes about “THIRDLAND” that we both happened to be in. The lesson that I have learned when still in my land was the following: of course we could have gone deep into discussions, but sometimes it is easier to discuss shoes and diet, and the easy way is not always the wrong way…

THE 2nd “ENEMY”:  THE GREAT GUY: This tall and mighty “ENEMY” was named   GREAT because some other “ENEMY” happened to have the same name as he, and the former was greater than the challenger. When shaking my hand with my GREAT “ENEMY,” I asked myself one question, “How did it happen, that this guy is so tall?” Obviously being older and greater than most of the participants, he was talking smoothly, slowly and to the point. Once he considered me for his audience in his room, and as this “ENEMY” wasn’t passionate about shoes; we smoothly started to discuss the conflict. He was talking carefully, but honestly in his position while leaving space for my points. We talked long and about things that we both disagreed about, yet in the end, without having any consensus, we both felt satisfied. The lessoned learned was that talking about the conflict with people who are being honest yet disagreeing with you is always useful and worth trying.

THE 3rd “ENEMY”: ТНЕ GIRL WHO READ THE BOOK I LOVED: Elegant, intelligent with а constant smile and cute-nice glasses, my third “ENEMY” glimpsed before me for a second and disappeared. Later she introduced herself as our trainer. It happened so that once we started to talk about our past experiences. It is sometimes shocking to notice that your “ENEMIES” have similar issues, experiences, thoughts, and concerns. But there was one thing that shocked me most; we both have read a book by Mitch Albom “Tuesdays with Morrie.” It wasn’t shocking that we have read this particular book; it was shocking that after reading this book for seven years I had been asking my friends and acquaintances if any of them had read that book, cherishing a hope to discuss it with them, and it turned out that none had read that very book. The lesson that I learned from her is that sometimes, something very dear and close to our heart can’t be found within dimensions that we know about, but they can be found in places that we would never dare to look for.  

THE 4th ENEMY: THE “YES, SURE!” GUY: I have to admit this “ENEMY” was a mystery for me, and I discovered him after the seminar was over, when we spent a day in Tbilisi. This “ENEMY” was just like the AWESOME- GIRL, passionate about the phrase “Yes, sure!” After the seminar I stayed at a friend’s house for a couple of nights in Tbilisi, and THE YES, SURE! “ENEMY” was in Tbilisi, too. Our common friend (who we had in Bazaleti) joined my “YES, SURE!” “ENEMY” and me on a very nice dinner with other friends of mine. My “ENEMY” wasn’t really comfortable at the table and surely he was more uncomfortable about the large pizza he had ordered which he wanted to share with all of us. When the bill was brought, my “ENEMY” was quick to pay for us. We, of course, asked him to allow us to share the bill, however, he disagreed and we went out. This is surely a common thing, especially in our part of the world; however, it taught me another thing: simple gestures and a hearty approach can change perceptions.

THE 5th ENEMY: Zafar Taghiyev: My worst “ENEMY,” fictional, not real, intangible possibility that I could have been. “Zafar Tagiyev” was the foreign minister of the “ENEMYLAND” that I had to play for. Many claimed that I played him well, but I have to admit that it was very difficult. It was not difficult because it was the imaginary foreign minister of the “ENEMYLAND,” and I had to defend the points that in life-mode I would probably not agree with, but because of one thought that I was considering every night. I was thinking, what if I wasn’t born in “MYLAND” and was born in the “ENEMYAND,” then what would I call the land that I love now so dearly? The geographic proximity of our two lands was making this thought even more scary and real. The last lesson was the following, “We don’t choose our initial positions, but we decide our destinations.”

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