I don’t know how to start this post. There are so many thoughts and realizations rolling around in my head, but none of them are cohesive or interesting enough to write an entire post about. So, here are my ramblings. Enjoy!
To start: the language. It sounds beautiful when it’s spoken. Not as rough as Russian, and not as smooth as Italian or French–it is gorgeous to me. But spending three hours a day studying it does not a fluent speaker make. “Me var mohkalise mastavelebeli” I stumble through, or “Dila mshvidobisa!”. Georgian is a language where five consonants in a row is common, and my American tongue doesn’t work that way. While I continue to try, I at least provide comedic relief for my peers in the mean time.
It has finally dawned on me just how poor (for complete lack of a better word) Georgia is. Right now we’re in a hotel in the capitol, Tbilisi, and we have already lost water twice in two days. When we were briefed on our villages, some of the showers are outdoors. (I am praying I am blessed with a host family who has indoor plumbing.) I could very well be washing my clothes by hand!
The culture is so extremely different. The girls are advised not to smile at men unless you already know them. All of the volunteers are advised to not make eye contact on the street–that just isn’t done here! Georgian girls often have bastrumi, which are men who are pledged to protect them. It sounds a bit romantic, but it’s an indication of the reality. I am in the most patriarchal society I have ever encountered.
The food! Potatoes; bread; potatoes inside of bread; noodle and potato soup; I think you get the drift. We have all requested veggies because that is a starch overload, even for me. But the famous Georgia dish, katchapuri, lives up to the reputation! It is essentially dough stuffed with cheese, but the softness of the dough and the tartness of the cheese mix well. I think it is a favorite for many of the volunteers.
My co-teachers! I hit the jackpot with an awesome group of people. Everyone has traveled previously and has the stories you only get from living in Malta, or serving in the Peace Corps. I love them all, and my roommate, Hannah, is a fantastic (read: crazy) person with great stories and a sense of humor. **Remember my last roommate? This one doesn’t do drugs or complain 24/7!
Check out Hannah’s blog for better written commentary! And when we leave for our villages, she will be in a different part of the country with completely different stories.
kargi ghame, and talk again soon!