PEI

From living under Soviet rule to a better life on P.E.I.

Vladimir Fomin and Nino Antadze grew up in Georgia under Soviet rule, but the couple is now living in P.E.I. and say they are giving their daughter more opportunities than they ever had in their home country.

'For days and days we would not have electricity'

Nino Antadze, left, Vladimir Fomin and the couple's daughter Anastasia enjoy a traditional Georgian breakfast recipe in their Charlottetown home. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Vladimir Fomin and Nino Antadze grew up in Georgia under Soviet rule, but the couple is now living in P.E.I. and say they are giving their daughter more opportunities than they ever had in their home country.

Georgia is a small country between Russia and Turkey, where Europe meets Asia. Under Soviet rule food, jobs and electricity were scarce.

"For days and days we would not have electricity," Fomin said. "Whenever electricity would come we would drop everything and we'd start to do like cooking, washing, whatever we needed to do."

Keeping tradition alive

The couple moved from Georgia to Canada in 2007, and to Charlottetown in 2017 when Antadze landed a job as a professor at UPEI. Fomin is looking for work as an accountant.

Fomin adds filling to the traditional Georgian food khachapuri. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Now the couple is trying to keep their culture alive for their seven-year-old daughter Anastasia through food, language and tradition.

Anastasia said she likes to go to the movies, swimming lessons and has a Lego collection.

Trauma has this generational character too that kind of transcends the time.— Nino Antadze

For breakfast the family will sometimes make a traditional dish from their homeland called khachapuri, a bread filled with cheese, eggs and other ingredients.

"Here in Canada I learned to make it on YouTube," Fomin said. Back in Georgia, the dish isn't often made at home because it is cheap and available at restaurants.

He said he plans to hand down the tradition to his daughter.

"She tries to do it with me, but it requires some patience she doesn't possess."

Anastasia doesn't disagree. "That's sort of true," she said, introducing herself in Georgian.

A taste of freedom

Fomin's grandfather was the only one of his siblings who survived famine under Joseph Stalin's rule, and Antadze said  family members died in Soviet-run labour camps. She said the trauma still stays with her.

Anastasia checks to see if the dough for the khachapuri has risen. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

"Trauma has this generational character too that kind of transcends the time, and so they would talk about it and they had pictures."

When Georgia's borders opened in 1991, previously-banned foods became available — Antadze recalls tasting a Snickers bar for the first time.

"It was so good, and this was a time when we didn't have much sweets."

Even smelling the chocolate bar today brings back fond memories, she said.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Isabella Zavarise

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.