Our today’s guest is one of those few people who can say that the pandemic has become a growth start for them. During the global lockdown, she managed to go the university, completely changed her major and created a group of like-minded people from different countries, whose goal became to support each other in this hard time.
So tell me, who is Anya Nasirova?
— I am so diverse that it’s difficult to give you a general description. At the moment, I am a student again. I’m studying at the University of San Diego, I’m about to get my master’s degree in «Peacebuilding». This is a science that stays at the interface of social psychology and political science.
After completing this course, I will get a master’s degree in Conflict resolution, that is a specialist who deals with the resolution of social conflicts. I also have an internship in an international organization which is specialized in issues of safe migration, this problem is one of the most important in the Central Asia.
As far as I know, you used to work in other areas of expertise, and quite diverse ones?
— Oh yes, I used to work in so many places and do so many different jobs! I was engaged in PR, and organized events, and participated in beauty contests. I also lived in different countries: Uzbekistan, Latvia, Southeast Asia, and now I live in the USA. Until the age of 16 I lived in Tashkent, I was born and raised there, and then I started traveling. I’m like a cat with nine lives, and it seems to me that I have already lived several of them, — our guest laughs.
— Further I plan new international projects and directions. I’m already working on one of them with the «Inspiration» group. I created this group during the pandemic. The main idea of it was for girls from different countries of the world to somehow help and support each other during this hard time. We all ended up in the same situation, and the members of the group communicated a lot online.
How did this group get together?
— It so happened that many of my acquaintances are all around the world, I told them about the project, and they pulled up their acquaintances, those — their own, and thus a group was formed, in which there are already more than 70 people. Geographically the members are from San Diego to Hong Kong. And we really hope that soon we will be able to go offline and host our events, trainings, and meetings in real life, and not just online.
— How did it happen that you came to a completely new profession? Is this a mission or
is it the whole situation in the world that led to this?
— Honestly, before I didn’t even know about peacebuilding. But in the USA it is very developed, and here people who understand world social problems and know how to solve them are in great demand. We are taught how to work in organizations such as the UN, UNESCO, private foundations. As I said, I was involved in organizing events for some time, and I always liked teaching people, guiding them. And when I arrived in the USA, I thought that fate must have thrown me here for a reason, and I must go to study in order to be in demand on the American market. Once I saw the show about the conflict management, and thought: why not? I am a social psychologist by my first degree, and this area is close for me.
I believe this is a huge chance in life. But how do you manage to balance family and education?
— I have two children — my daughter is 6 years old; my son is 12. And only now I understand what it means to live for myself, because before I thought only about how to arrange everyday life. But now I realized how to prioritize. Because if I think only about my family, about how good it would be for them, forgetting about myself, I fall apart, I become ineffective. That’s why my husband and I have an agreement: once a year I take a week-long vacation and go to visit my girlfriends by myself. It helps me a lot. After I come back full of strength to move on and work hard again.
Considering that your husband is an Eastern man, how did he take the terms of such an agreement?
— My husband is a modern man, he was raised in a secular family where they don’t follow harsh stereotypes. He understands me and supports me in every possible way, following the wise principle: «Happy wife — happy life». (Laughs) And by the way, he was the one who inspired me to go to school again. In a long lockdown, he also came to the idea that it was necessary to change the major. He chose an MBA at Berkley — Business Administration, he will comprehend the basics of how to competently build a business. We are polar with him in the sense of a mentality: I am a humanitarian, and he is financier.
In the USA you started a new life. How did it affect your family?
— As you know, this is not our first time to move, but America came as a shock to us. Everything is different here, I would say, this is a different civilization. And for the first two years, life here was stressful for us, we didn’t understand what to do, everything turned out to be not as easy as we would like. But the difficulties of the first years united us even more. We survived the crisis of the beginning of something new in both ways, individually and as a couple. And we realized: when we are together, we are stronger.
And what are your plans now?
— I know one thing: I don’t want to be attached to any one place or country. My husband and I are light on our feet, if now we are told that we need to pack up and go somewhere else, we will quickly pack up and do so. For example, I don’t consider that we’ll settle in California for good.
This is probably a right thing. In the modern world, a young family shouldn’t be attached to one place, as it was in the Soviet Union. I also changed many places before I realized that I like living in San Diego, I can fulfill myself here.
— Of course, we have roots, these are our parents, they, of course, are waiting for us to settle somewhere and bring them to us. Probably, at some point we will come to the conclusion that we want to settle somewhere in one place. But for now we are in a state of self-searching and searching for new opportunities. Just today, my husband and I were talking, and he asked me: «And if you are offered a good job in Russia, will you go?» Of course I would go! If there are perspectives, why not give it a try?
For many years, several of our generations have lived in Uzbekistan, but initially my ancestors came to Central Asia from Russia. My dad worked with foreign companies and therefore I often traveled with my parents to different countries. So the passion for traveling is coming from early childhood!
— What would you wish the readers of «Gorozhanka»?
— Do not be afraid to go beyond the usual. You need to learn something new, look for yourself, and thus find yourself. This means finding out what makes you the happiest.
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