Archive for February, 2011

February 28, 2011

Sachmeli – food

This is the kind of khechapuri that comes from Adjara - the region I'm in. It's a bread bowl of butter and cheese with a raw egg thrown in for good measure.

I won’t deny there’s delicious food here. And I’ll be implementing a strict diet immediately upon my return. But for now…

If I’m buying my own food in the States, yes, I can be fairly picky. But as a general rule, I eat what’s placed in front of me. Somehow, someone else putting the effort into cooking makes food more delicious, too.

But ohh the things I’ve eaten here. Pig brain, pig feet, miscellaneous gelatinous cow parts…

We eat bread and jams and salami and cheese for breakfast with tea each morning. After classes I eat in the dining hall at school. I have a meal of soup and some other major grain or pasta or potato dish. Sometimes fish. There is a basket of bread at every meal. It’s usually held in your hand through the whole meal, almost like a utensil, for dipping and scooping.

When I get home, depending on…well I haven’t quite figured out what determines this yet, but there might be another similar meal.

And pretty much without fail there’s another tea time around 11 p.m. or later. It also involves bread and cheese and meat. And if I’m lucky, more jam. Jam is by far my favorite Georgian food right now. All of the food is local, too. And most of it is made by the women in the house. Gemrielia!

This is what happens when you order a Ceasar Salad.

This is 'chai' time. Evening tea. With meat and bread and cheese and if I'm lucky, jam.



February 25, 2011


Amiko and friends enjoy the snow.

It snows here and I love it.

Within the South Carolina-sized country I’m living in, there is quite an array of climates. I happened to be placed in the one considered “subtropical.” If you know me well, you know that’s not really ideal for me.

But like the rest of the world, Batumi’s having unusual weather, or so I’m told. And it keeps snowing. And I still love it. The past three days were rain and snow free and that’s the longest streak I’ve seen since I got here.

Did I mention I love it?














February 21, 2011

Lunch Room

My main man…

One of my favorite Georgians so far is Aleksander—one of the two cooks at the school’s dining hall. (So he’s only around every other week.) Every time he sees me he shouts something, waves his arms and salutes me. And he’s taken to bringing me special snacks. He even cooked me an extravagant meal the second week he worked. And he and I have toasts together a few times a week.

My co-teacher told me that he was once married with five children. Three of the children and his wife were killed in an electrical fire in their own home. I’m finding that almost everyone in Georgia has a story of loss, if I get the chance to hear it. But knowing Ali, this one breaks my heart.

And another man, too…

The woman with the qkhava cup is on Ali’s kitchen team. She’s also very sweet to me, and one morning she saw me playing with the dregs of ground coffee left in my cup and asked if I wanted my fortune read. Um, of course I did.

The good news is, I’m going to marry a bicho kartveli kargi (good Georgian boy) who is very strong. He’s going to take me to his home in the mountains and we’re going to be in love and live a wonderful life together. But. My mother will cry because I will not come home. (Sorry, Mom.)

So, once I meet es bicho kargi, I’ll let you know when the wedding is.

(Lots and lots of Georgians have already told me that when I fall in love with a nice Georgian boy I will not leave Georgia. Weird, how they all seem to know my future…)

February 9, 2011


Some of the 10th form. I guess you're not supposed to smile in Georgian photos.

Yes, I do teach actual students in a school also. Not just Maia (that was my 18-month-old host family member, Maia, for those of you who asked).

And it pretty much puts a huge halt to the lesson when I whip my camera out, but I did it. For YOU. And then they asked for my signature. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m kind of a big deal, it turns out.

So you can now see my 7th graders and the 10th graders in their classrooms. Students stay in the same room all day, the teachers move every period. Both of the pictured classes have a lot of students who put a lot of effort into their work and like to try to talk to me, which is often a better way to learn than their textbook work. Or, I can offer them more through conversation anyhow.

I co-teach with Darijan, whom you can see in the photo of the 10th graders. She and I have the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders. When I have free periods I go with the other English teacher, Tamriko in the 4th, 6th and 8th grades. We’re in the third week of school now, and the schedule continues to shift here and there, but I imagine we’ll settle into a somewhat regular pattern by next week.

7th form.

As close to candid as I could get.

February 5, 2011

I’m the best teacher ever.

Just a little look at my teaching skillz (and/or the “creative” ways I use my free time). (P.S. Deal with the formatting issues. I don’t have the patience to re-upload the photos, which seems to be the only solution when this alignment issue arises.)

First, Maia was only interested in her Turkish sweet bread.

But then she had a few lessons with me.

I taught her everything I know.

It's been an invaluable experience for everyone involved.