9/10 I feel as though so much has happened since my last post I don’t know where to start.
Disclaimer: Justin, this entry isn’t very funny, but I will try next time.
To start off we completed our last few days of training and Georgian classes, heard once more the words of warning from our program director and were let go from her grasp (with tears) and shuttled to the homes of our host families.
I am now living and working in the region of Samregelo near the city of Zugdidi. I can’t remember the name of my village-sorry. I have discerned that I am somewhere between 7-10 km from the Abkhazian boarder. One of my neighbors was explaining to me that the this village was swarming with Russian troops holding machine guns only two years ago. I asked if anyone had been killed and I am pretty sure the answer to that question was no, but it might have been lost in translation. After this and many other “comforting” stories I has reassured that now this area is very safe. And I have to say I do feel very safe. I am pretty sure the majority of the people who live in this village have seen me running (this morning) or I have met them or they have talked to someone who has met me.
Now for my family-my father’s name is Kaha (patroni for sure), his wife Esa, their son Andro, daughter Ani, Kaha’s sister Eka (my Principal), and the grandma (who’s name I don’t remember but she is a babushka for sure; bent over at 90 degrees and everything). Ani is the only one in the family who speaks some English. We are able to communicate but we use a dictionary all the time. There is also a neighbor (Leo) who is over a lot of the time who speaks good English, which has been very useful in communicating more important information to my family. Leo also gave me a book of short American novels which was very gracious. Family is amazingly sweet and is always telling me to eat. Apparently I am too thin-or so Kaha says. My family also speaks Megrelian (sp?) which is a non-written language what is spoken in this region of Georgia. They were told to speak Georgian to me as that is part of this programs goal.
We were forewarned that Georgians would ask many personal questions right away but I wasn’t ready for my second question to be “are you married?” It was interesting the see the relief on their faces when I said no. Since this only happened last night I feel I have some time but I need to explain that I am nor marrying a Georgian man in the next 10 months that I am going to be here, which is what they would like. I know other girls and guys who have already been asked if they would like to marry a Georgian while they are here and I really don’t want to have that conversation but it will probably happen.
I have not met my English teacher yet and school is starting on Wednesday so I am hoping to meet her on Monday, if not before then. (I have spoken to other teachers in my program and they have come to the realization that their “English teachers” don’t really speak very good English so I am a little nervous). I have also learned that my school is 2km from my house and that there are around 150 students. I have also been told that I will be teaching 2 classes; one class having 10 students and the other having 9.
Now for the fun. I woke up for a run today and was pleasantly greeted by my aunt who practically shoved me out of the yard only to find a pig in the middle of the road. This however is not uncommon. I have learned that in Georgian almost all animals roam free. This includes dogs, chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs. I have notice an interesting yield system as well. Pedestrians yield to cars (or you will get hit), dogs just get hit ( we had a dead one outside of our training site in Kutaisi for two days before someone did something with it). Chickens and turkeys just barely more fast enough. Cows seem to rule the road as they move for no one and pigs seem to be the only ones not getting in the way. Anyways this morning, I was expecting to see people staring (as Georgians don’t exercise, hence the Georgian gut and women just don’t run) but it was really more the cows. They will watch you forever! At least the people watched for a bit then move on to their own things but the cows they don’t have anything else to do. For me this was a completely different experience because on Justin’s farm the cows are afraid of humans but here they are kings. It’s just so bizarre to me that people just let their animals out on the road. I asked my sister if she knew which cows were hers and she said yes but she has no idea which pigs are hers. Also, on a side note, I get fresh natural chicken every day, guess how fresh? That’s right. I have yet to experience this wonderful display of blood and guts and hear the sounds of a chicken cry but I am sure it will have sooner or later.
Tomorrow we are going to the city of Zugdidi (for what I have not learned yet) and I am very excited. I am hoping to see some of the other teachers that are teaching in the city and maybe buy a few essentials. Oh and Zugdidi looks like California in some ways. It is also 20 minutes from the beach, which my father already said he would take me and my friends. This is where I will be next weekend if I don’t meet up with some friends in Batumi (the resort city of Georgia).
Over all everything is wonderful. I have a bathroom inside and well water so I can shower whenever I want so I cannot complain. I know this is not that case for others so keep them in your grateful thoughts.