I’m Aaron Charles, a dance teacher. At the moment I’m a private English language teacher as well. I have lived in Georgia for almost six years. I try to earn money in a positive and honest way, using what I know, what I can, and most importantly what I love.
I met Nutsa, my wife, years ago in London. I had no idea about Georgia before that. I didn’t know what to expect here. But actually, it was not a hard decision to start a new life in Georgia. Literally, in the first week of coming here, I had a job as a dance teacher and I have never stopped. I had a role in the latest movie of one the most prominent Georgian directors Eldar Shengelaia - “Armchair”. It was super fun to work with him. I consider this experience as an achievement in my life.
When I work with the children, I try to be a friend they can rely on, I try to be an example for them, inspire them. As adults, we often forget that we are surrounded by children and they learn everything from us, they replicate us. Of course, this can be true anywhere, but here I live and here I feel it – the lack of positive role models and mentors next by you, alive and ready to help; successful persons, but successful not in a capitalist way, I mean genuinely happy persons. Dancing is a special tool, it’s essential, it’s the tool to express your inner self or get rid of unwanted energy.
All the problems I’ve had here were related to persons who I am sure had no clear understanding of how to express themselves in a positive way. It’s sad. Once I was in McDonald's with my female 14-year-old student. Two guys sat next to us and they decided to ask me questions who I was, why I was here, etc. But this was in a rude and offensive way. I didn’t really want to engage in this kind of conversation. They got more upset and tried to beat me inside McDonald's. The most disturbing thing was that this was happening in front of my student, in front of other children. That’s how we make ugly things for them acceptable. Another time I was with my wife in Smart Supermarket, when a man approached us and started yelling, asked me to go outside, and so on. The security guard was just behind me and he did nothing, he just stood there with a puzzled expression on his face. There were other cases too. But I haven’t been very open to sharing them. My personal feeling is that when something happens to someone over and over again… Yes, you should talk, you have to, but on the other hand, people just get bored and get used to it. They wouldn’t take you seriously anymore.
I’ve witnessed many negative situations, not only racist and not only towards me of course. My headphones are my best friend in the streets or any other public places. They help to avoid the usual laughter or inappropriate comments. When I was a child, I was surrounded by people, and many of them were related to criminal groups who thought, for example, gay people were disgusting. I had to adjust to them but I had to save my mind. That’s how I started dancing actually.
Most of the people are depressed - people who are discriminated and people who discriminate because they are discriminated by others. There is a long chain of ignorance, hate, intolerance, depression. When I speak I have a feeling that I am not heard. I know many people would have exactly the same feeling, many of them who read this. We should talk. We should open up to each other, listen to and understand each other, all these different people, black or white, male or female, believer or atheist, young or old, happy or sad. Friendship and sincerity educate us, help us.
I love the aspects of a family in Georgia, the opposite of what I was used to in the UK. I admire this cohesive understanding of being a family. Sometimes that can be too much, but this unconditional love is inspiring and why not to use this precious thing for positive changes in society.
I observe people and I see it, people change. And I have to admit, especially women and girls are more prone to positive changes. I really don’t want this to sound bad, but I see they are much more kind and mature persons, emotionally much more intelligent, much more open. Women, children, young people are the main drive to the future.
I could talk forever because I’ve had five years of being quiet. My biggest goal is literally to continue what I’m doing for a bigger audience. I don’t really care about big money. I want to help, educate, teach children to express themselves in a positive way. This helps me, too, to survive and step forward.
Author: Nino Baidauri