Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween in Tbilisi

                Opps so it’s been some time.  Sorry I have not written.  I had a long weekend two weekends ago and then this past week we lost power (and then water).
                 I was planning on going to Tbilisi for the Halloween weekend anyway when I got am email from my cousin the week before, saying that her friends was going to be in Tbilisi conducting a training for USAID and asked if I wanted to attend the training.  Of course I wanted to go but I was not sure that I could take that much time off from work (not that they really need me anyway).  At first I only asked for Friday off and my Principal (and my aunt-who I live with) said yes.  I told my cousin that I was only going to take Friday from work and attend the training on the last day.  Her response to this changed my mind so I grew a pair and asked for more time off.  So, I ended up leaving Wednesday after two lessons.
                To get to Tbilisi it takes however long to wait around for the bus which comes around a certain time but you never know.  Then it takes 40 minutes to get from my school in the heart of my village (Didinedzi) to Zugdidi (the closest large city).  Once in Zugdidi I have to walk about 15 minutes to the bus station, find a Marshrutka (a mini-bus (I’ve talked about them before)), and wait around until they are good and ready to leave.  I never know what takes the driver to long to decided to leave but it is usually half an hour or so.  From here it is easy just sit back and enjoy the scariest ride of your life, five hours to Tbilisi.
                Once in Tbilisi I met up with my friends Carla (she is another teacher from my training group) and we went to our old boss’s apartment.  Our old boss is such an amazing person. I cannot say enough nice things about her.  I wish she still worked for our program but her reasons for leaving became very clear after we got to our host-families houses and started work in our schools.  Anyway, she was kind enough to let me stay at her house for the night.  I was really great to just sit back and relax.  She cooked dinner for Carla and I and was sat around drinking tea and talking girl talk (something I never get to do here).  Talking with our old boss is like talking to another American because she spent the last two years getting her Masters in the U.S. and she thinks more like an American then a Georgian (that is hard to explain so I’m not even going to try).
                The next morning I headed out to the USAID training at the Radisson (which was like real civilization).  The training was very interesting and some of it was familiar.  I learned some of the same sort of things in my Development Administration class in college.  During the lunch break I went with my cousins friend to a cute little place and had a salad with real lettuce (something Georgians do not know much about- they could grow “American” lettuce here but they just don’t.  I don’t get it, much like most things here in Saqartvelo).  We talked about AID how she started her career and what I was interested in doing with my life.  I also told her about life in my village.  She was shocked to hear about how much poverty there still is here. (I’ll talk more about that more when I am getting close to leaving).
                After lunch we went back for the rest of training and finishes out the day and got ready for the final day of training.
                The next morning I went back to the Radisson (my new favourite (haha) place) for the last day of the training.  They played a review game so, it gave me an idea of the material they had covered in the previous three days of training.  Not too much more to say about that.
                After the training was over on Friday we went sightseeing in Tbilisi.  We walked up to the fortress and through old town and we spent a great deal of time looking for the restaurant that we had been told about from the other Americans and Georgian during the training. We finally found it but it took us so so so long.  At this point we had also met up with my friend Adam.  So the three of us ate at this amazing restaurant; It was totally worth the time and energy we spent looking for it.
                The rest of the weekend we spent exploring other parts of Tbilisi, looking for good food, buying books in English from a bookstore in Tbilisi and walking around in the cold.  On the food note, we found this restaurant called “Scarlet Sails” near old town.  They had the most amazing fish and chips, as well as good burgers and chicken curry.  And on top of that the staff spoke English and they carried a good assortment of beer!  Sorry Saqartvelo you cannot do beer, you actually suck at it.  Stick to wine, that you can do.

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