9/4 Our Georgian courses are really helping. It is one thing to see the language but it is another to here a native speaker actually pronounce letters and words correctly. I really like my Georgian teacher but I cannot remember her name. So, again today we had Georgian class for three hours in the morning and then we had our second and finally day of methodology training. This class is so painful to sit through. I was falling asleep in class. I feel this was partially my fault and partially hers as well. My fault because the majority of the 92 group members went to the pub across the street and tried our first taste of Georgian beer and then proceeded to stay out on the front steps of the building until 3am. And her fault because she did not seem to understand that we are native English speakers and that we do not have to read everything aloud and repeat its meaning 5 times over. It was definitely the dead horse thing.
After class we had about an hour so a bunch of us decided to take a walk down to the closest store. It took us about 15 minutes to walk there at a good pace. Along the way we saw the most dilapidated buildings along the way. Like they had not been touch for 50 years. I find it so interesting that they have just let these buildings fall apart this way. Anyways, we got some very weird looks along the way, as well as buses, cars and Marshut’kas slowing down just so they can watch us while we walk. It is so interesting how blunt they are with their curiosity. Most of us have gotten used to it but I feel it still bothers many people. Myself, I quickly realized that it was not going to be as easy to blend in here as it was in Prague. My hair, eyes and skin are so much lighter that I will never look like a true Georgian-and that’s ok by me.
As for some very random facts. We are not allowed to flush the toilet paper because the pipes cannot handle it and this building (because it is owned by the government) has water tanks below it. We learned this today because we were told that Kutaisi does not have running water 24/7. Apparently, the water is turned on for four hours each day. A few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening. This was shocking to me. We do not know why this is the case, whether is it a matter of availability of water as a resource or if there is something else preventing the city from having water all day every day. It also makes me think that I really need to make sure I am up and showing at the right time of day when I get to my host families house.
Some other information about this program. We have learned that all of the host families are volunteers and receive nothing from the government for hosting us. We have also learned that we are the third group of teachers coming to the country of Georgia. The first group came sometime in June, the second two weeks ago and now us. As you can see this is a very new program and there are still many things to work out. I will say that the younger teachers do seem to be more “go with the flow” then the older teachers. Yes, we do have some teachers that are well over 50 years old. It is an interesting dynamic but we are making it work, though it is very clear that there are some differences in lifestyles-as to be expected. We also learned that the President of Georgia was hoping for 2,000 teachers to come this year to fill almost all the 2,200 public schools here but so far this academic year there will be 1,000 teachers coming from English speaking countries. In our group we have representation from the U.S., the U.K. (Irish and British), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Zimbabwe. Mostly it is U.S. but it is really nice to connect with people from all over the world.
I think that will be it for tonight.