January 21, 2011

Southwest Georgia to Southwest Georgia

TbilisiI’ve joined 74 other volunteers in the capital of Georgia, T’bilisi. Forty-four are from the States, and the rest are from other English speaking countries: Canada, England, Scotland, Australia, South Africa and Ireland…I think that’s it. Plus, there are a handful of Italian teachers who I commend for learning Georgian (rumored to be the 4th hardest language to learn–though obviously that stat is impossible to prove) in English–which is their second, if not third or fourth language. We’re all struggling through together though, and we’re enjoying ourselves, and each other.

We’ve successfully hit the town this week, I think. Georgians celebrate Christmas Jan. 7 and keep beautiful Christmas decorations up until the 19th, so I tried to take some pictures of those. I have a new camera though and haven’t quite figured out the nighttime setting.

So I’ve just been told I’ll be going to a village south of Batumi along the West coast. Right along the Black Sea and very near Turkey. I would have been pleased with a lot of placements, but I feel particularly good about this.

We head West tomorrow with our families. Today we learned how to use the bank. Very important. Ooh, we also met with reps from the U.S. embassy. That made me feel important. But I am also hopeful that I will never have to make use of that resource.

More once I’m in the village! If I have access to the internet!

Some neat site in Tbilisi.

January 18, 2011

I’m in Georgia!

Gamarjobat! That means hello. I’ve learned so much!

I’ve inserted a photo of my schedule for this first week. Mostly to share with all the coffee lovers and haters in my life. Two coffee breaks per day, baby!

January 11, 2011

Between Georgias

Outside my parent's home in A-town.

Snow is falling on the buckeyes here in the heart of it all. This is the first time since I was in Denver for Christmas last year that I’ve experienced this—sitting inside on a day where the snow doesn’t stop falling. Waking up with grass and finding it disappeared by noon. Now everything in this flat countryside is white, still fairly untouched by men with big trucks. Maybe the blanket of flakes is endless—as far as I can tell it is.

I moved from Americus, Ga. Friday, then headed to run (jog?) a half marathon in Orlando, Fla. Now I’m back in little old Archbold, Ohio. Packing. And getting a hair cut. And enjoying the snow.

I’ll fly from Detroit>>Chicago>>Istanbul>>Tbilisi beginning late Friday afternoon. For six months I will do my best to teach some English in a part of the world pretty well unknown to me (as of yet!).

For the first 18 years of my life whenever I packed to go somewhere, I did so knowing my friend Fern would be there too. We tended to make the same (awesome!) social choices…or, our parents did. Whether it be a sleepover, kids camp, church camp or a choir trip, if Fern was there, so was I. I’ve always said this has trained me to be a lousy packer. She never forgot anything and if I did, she had extra. Chances are I will forget all of the important things as I head to Georgia. So, Fern, you should probably come along.

Otherwise, I have to hope that the rumors of Georgia being the most hospitable place on earth are true. And that my host family will help me out. I look forward to finding out!

P.S. It’s 1-11-11! Even better, in Georgia, that is probably 11-1-11! Oh, how I love palindromes and numerology and Andrew Bird.