Sopia Kenchiashvili, 28, Tbilisi

„I started to work in the nightclub industry at 18. I have worked as a dancer, a waiter, a barwoman, and a manager. I just love that environment. When I hear music in a club, I get pumped up and that’s all I need. I am even ready to work as a cleaner in a club so that I can see those lightings and smell the fog machines. However, in Georgia, working in this sector made no sense. There were two or three clubs around and no prospects. During that period, I had it hard – being a 23-year-old girl, knowing you can do so much and not being able to do anything. In 2012, I received an unexpected call from my modeling agency offering me to travel to China to work as a promo girl and an animator. I was sitting at home doing nothing and suddenly this opportunity! I swear I would have agreed to go to Kamchatka! In fact I had never dreamed of living somewhere else and going away from home. Quite the opposite, I used to very patriotic and I was certain that my husband or life companion would be Georgian. When I was leaving for China, my friend joked that I would find a Chinese man there. I laughed it off but once you leave your country to start to think otherwise…

Long story short, I arrived in China. First, let me tell you that I am sorry to all the Chinese people for all the typical Georgian stereotypes towards the Chinese and China. Later I was very ashamed myself. I considered myself a smart person, but I had this terrible prejudice against another nation. When I started working at a club there, the first discovery was the huge difference between Georgian and Chinese men. I mean the majority, obviously. I don’t remember a Chinese man giving me a dirty look. Georgians, with their mentality and general attitudes, are very close to the Arabs. I used to work in a port city, which was full of Arabs and I came to this realization there. I had grown unaccustomed to being eyed like that and suddenly I realized that someone is weighing, measuring, and undressing me with his eye… When I arrived back in Georgia and saw everything from a new perspective, I immediately realized the similarity between Georgian and Arab men – for most of them, a woman is like livestock and if you let them, they will happily stamp a number right on our forehead, we would not even have a name. Alternatively, you see how Chinese men respect women… To typical Georgian men, Chinese men would seem like “sissies”. Of course, I don’t mean 100% of the Chinese men, but a typical Chinese man is faithful and treats his woman, especially if she is pregnant, with utmost respect, cherishes her. He completely realizes that you are going to give a new life, you are to give birth to a new human being… In this respect, it is a miraculous country. When I realized it all, about a year after arriving there, I was determined to have a Chinese child whether with or without a husband! Only, I thought of working until I was 30, start travelling in 2016 and give birth later on…

Two years ago, equipped with such determination, I met the father of my child. I have no idea why I shared my plans with this person, but I actually told him that I was going to have a baby from a Chinese man in the future. In two months’ time, I was pregnant…

When I did the pregnancy test, I thought I was going to die. It was unbelievable because I was not in my fertility period and I had taken contraceptives. Besides I used to lead a rather unhealthy life – smoking, working in a club and drinking alcohol, I mean I was not ready for a baby at that moment at all. I had already planned the next three years without a child and bang, I was faced with the fact… For half an hour, I thought about abortion, to be honest. This was the worst half-hour in my life, but suddenly I realized that I was going to give birth! Then I had to think about where and how I was going to give birth… Pregnant, I worked two and a half months more and I went to the clinic almost every day to make sure that my pregnancy was proceeding well.

When I broke the news to the father of the child, he was in Singapore. He lives and works there. Obviously, he had some doubts at first, whether I was expecting his baby or not, because when I found out I was pregnant we had fought and broken up. However, as soon as we cleared it out, he arrived. He wanted a child too and, according to him, he relied on me to raise our child well. So he actually entrusted our child to me. He thought it was not safe for a pregnant woman to keep working there so he asked me to come to Georgia. It was the best solution at the time. He was planning to be present during the child labor, but it coincided with the terrorist acts in Turkey, his transit air ticket was via Turkey and he had to reschedule his flight. For this reason, he arrived only two days after our child was born. And, most importantly, I went into labor on my birthday. Today, the father of the child still lives in Singapore but he sends me money and makes sure that his child and I are financially secure.

My child is very young, but of course I’ve thought about how the society will accept him/her, being different. I have even been scared that s/he may be bullied. Then I realized that it depends on my how I will raise and empower him/her. So what, I was bullied too but I did not give a damn and this is the attitude I must develop in him/her! We, the parents will do our best to give our child a good education, most probably we will send him/her to school in China or Singapore, at least this is what his/her dad is planning and we’ll see.

As for my family, they accepted the news calmly and properly. I wrote to my mother in Georgia that I was pregnant. She asked me what I was going to do. I told her I wouldn’t be writing if I hadn’t decided to give birth. That’s all. Support from family makes all the difference before you stand firmly on your feet. It starts from the moment you are born. When you know that the family is there for you, you are invincible. My child is 7 months old and s/he is an individual to me whose opinion I must respect and just share my experience with him/her. If s/he does not follow my advice and makes mistakes, I have to welcome him/her back, not plain banish him/her, as some parents foolishly do.

Even though I was born and raised in Georgia and I’ve been surrounded by the local “not permissible” and “people are going to talk” notions, I am very happy that I’ve lived and I’m going to live the life I want. The only opinion that matters is mine. I don’t want to look back after many years and regret not doing something because “someone would not approve of it”. These “some people” will always exist and I’ve got only one life to live.”