რაც მტრობას დაუნგრევია, სიყვარულს უშენებია
And what has been ruined by hostility, has been rebuilt by love.
When I was a little girl I liked doing a lot of silly things. I was collecting stickers of Spanish Telenovela actors and actresses that my grandma was watching (I still have no explanation for this action but, yes, I am proud of my collection). I used to take long, narrow ways back home from school pretending I was on a secret quest and used to arrive home completely dirty.
I was dreaming of having an alien friend and because of this I would write letters for them and leaving them in abandoned places.
Little did I know that there was a girl in a country far from mine called Kosovo, and in this county lived a girl of my age and who was doing exactly the same things with the same excitement.
When I first arrived in Romania for some reason people that I was seeing for the first time were already referring to me by the name Pranvera. Soon I met a girl who everybody thought I was. Almost a year has passed since the day I met her but people are just as confused as the first day when they saw Pranvera and me together.
Pranvera is a girl whose name means spring, but her whole self is like a warm spring day. After spending nights watching TV shows, waking up once a week early in the morning for 2 lei shopping with the same excitement for the whole 6 months. 2, no wait, 3 self-isolations in the same apartment and countless kilometers that we covered together in this small town while walking with the speed that was more like running, we started to discover that despite the fact that we could never see the similarity between us before we were pretty much the same.
I am a person of art and imagination and she is a girl with strong reasoning and facts in her mind. We started sharing our dreams and plans and spent hours thinking about all the great adventures we could have and all the changes we could make in the world as perfect non-biological twins.
I can clearly recall the evening when I was with my friends, sharing the cultures of our, and other countries, promising where we would take each other and how we would spend the time together in our own countries.
This was a moment when Pranvera and I realized we can’t visit each other’s countries for some political and post-conflict reasons that I can not even clearly understand. For a second, I felt anger and fear, as I felt one of the closest friends that I’ve got was taken away from me. But no, we quickly started searching for countries where both of us could go without problems and the temporal fear of not being able to meet each other and failing our dreams soon disappeared.
This is not a story about war or conflict, it’s a story about peace that always finds its way to burst from the frozen, post-winter ground as an Iris flower in spring. This is a statement, telling us that borders can never limit feelings and relationships.
This is a motivation to keep planning and working towards a society without walls and with bridges. Also, this is a request for everyone who has ever been in my shoes. Please, hold on to the dear people that you meet and never let any outer condition affect your well-being and dreams.
Irina Berdzenishvili is a YMCA Georgia volunteer and student currently living in Resita, Romania.
This article is part of the World by Word campaign. This project originated at YMCA Netherlands and is a multinational cooperation of YMCA Europe Roots for Peace project, and the Dutch former Soviet Cemetery Leusden. World by Word is a prelude to an Erasmus+ funded Youth Exchange “Then, now and later: towards a composite memory”, taking place in the Netherlands in 2022.