Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

შავი ზღვა – The Black Sea Continued

As it turns out, the scenery is a different sort of beautiful when the sun shines. Thought I’d share the view in this new light…

The Shearton is the landmark in Batumi. I've used it to orient myself while lost about a million times. As far as I know, that's all it's good for.

Beautiful, is it not?

The Boulevard

I call this, "Gender-Neutral Love."

Statue on the Boulevard...


March 21, 2011

Trabzon, Turkey

(Again, this is from like…March 7ish.)

Matthew, Peter (TLGers who came with my group on Jan. 15 – Group 10) and I were lucky enough to run into some “old” TLGers (Group 2) just in time to hop aboard their weekend trip to Trabzon, Turkey.

It was phenomenal. We took a bus along the Black Sea for a few hours and stepped off to find ourselves in a whole new world. Well, mostly. I still stuck out like a sore thumb on account of my not-dark hair/eyes and clothes with color. But in this city we were ready to own our tourist status, so problem ara!

We walked and photographed and ate dolma, baklava, olives, Turkish delight, bread, cheese, sausage, fresh fruit, and we even found some ice cream. We drank Turkish chai, juice and milk. We saw some bazaaris and I found myself some pretty awesome boots. It was an attempt to blend in a bit better, but my traveling companions informed me that will never happen. Whatevs.

Tomorrow and Tuesday are off of school on account of International Women’s Day. It still confuses me when cultures where a wife can be openly referred to as “my friend and maid” have a national holiday for women and the majority of the U.S. hardly could tell you which date the holiday falls on.

You should all go to Turkey if you get the chance. On the bus ride back a group of young fellows busted out their English and shared their Turkish milk (they were pouring from a carton into plastic cups) with us. And later the bus driver treated us to some chai. Are we so welcoming in America? Well, it’s an attitude I hope I get to reciprocate many times when I return.



March 18, 2011

Oh by the way…

(It’s possible this is now just an attempt to pull out the win over Em and Andy. But let’s be honest, if we were judging based on amount of actual content, they’d have me beat.)

So, have I mentioned I live 3 km east of the Black Sea? I meet other English teachers in Batumi—which is right ON the Black Sea—a few times a week. I think visual is all that’s necessary here:

This is Mark. He's teaching English in Chakvi, another "suburb" of Batumi.

March 13, 2011

Amiko turns six – Now he’s a katsi (man)

Yes, that is the pig's head. Yes, I ate that pig's brains.

(I wrote this a few weeks ago and am just posting it now…)

Maia’s brother Amiko turned six years old over the weekend. In Georgia, that means all the relatives come to town for a big feast—the traditional suphra.

As a peskily consistent figure in the home, I was of course welcomed to the table. It was quite the experience. You can see in the picture some of the food that I ate. But more and more food came out as the night progressed. And at some point I ate some of that poor piggy’s brains.

Amiko and his friends had their own mini suphra, complete with Georgian toasts. But their feast was limited to khachapuri and French fries.

During the evening I met a lot of new family members. I also found two Georgian men willing to marry me. Well, they found me. I hope that I effectively declined, but my communication success rate is pretty low here. Time will tell…

We’ve been eating leftovers a million times a day ever since the feast and it seems like different family members stop by each time the food comes out to help finish it off.

Before the feast...

...and after.