Tuesday, August 31, 2010

3 Flights down, 1 Orientation to go!

Hello all! We officially arrived in Georgia last night around 5:15 pm.  We had incredibly smooth travels, which is always a relief.  No delays, no running from gate to gate, no stress! I met up with 2 other girls in Chicago and we had the same flight itinerary, so it was nice to have some company during the long layovers. We actually had some exciting news after boarding our overnight from Washington to Amsterdam… They had overbooked the back of the plane and needed a party of 3 to move up to Business class.  Lucky for us, we were chosen!! It was sooooo nice.  3 course meal, comfy pillows, a down blanket, reclining seats, the works! I almost didn’t want to get off the plane! After landing in Amsterdam we flew to Tbilisi.  When we arrived, we were greeted by TLG staff and a BBC reporter, ready to interview several of us.  We were forewarned about receiving some media attention, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for what we saw after we got our luggage (which all arrived as well thankfully!).  We walked out these revolving doors and there were people everywhere – just looking at us! It was relatively quiet, just lots of people and lots of video cameras, tons of Georgian media ready to interview and tape us.  It was pretty funny because they would gather round, but not say much because many of them don’t speak English, so we would just start to ramble about why we were here, what we’re excited about, etc. Quite the welcome I’d say! At that point there were about 24 of us, we were the first leg of this orientation group.  Within the next 2 days, there will be 92 teachers total.  There are already 2 other groups spread about in Georgia and I believe there is 1 more coming in a couple weeks. 

We all came straight to the hotel to settle in and rest a bit before dinner.  We had dinner at 9 pm, which I’m learning is fairly normal for Georgian people.  Everything is simply later.  Today our meals were scheduled for 10am, 3pm and 9pm.  I’m excited for my body to adjust to the new time change, both so that I can sleep normally and not feel hungry all the time! It will be nice when I don’t wake up at 3:30 in the morning feeling like I’m ready for the day to begin! 

Today has been relatively quiet because we’re waiting for other teachers to get here before we start the bigger aspects of orientation.  We’ve somewhat been told not to leave the hotel because we haven’t had our ‘safety’ lessons yet.  Apparently Georgian drivers are pretty awful and don’t really care about pedestrians…so they’re nervous about us attempting to cross the street.  It sounds quite juvenile (not being able to cross the street), but it’s sweet that they are taking such good care of us.  So far, I’ve only witnessed wonderful hospitality and excellent food and company! It’s great to get to know other TLG staff from around the world.  There’s lots of people from Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.  Just to name a few… 

Tonight we have more meetings and more food.  Hopefully I'll be able to share a bit more about what we'll be doing then! Right now, I'm just very excited to take part and observe some of the rebuilding of this country.  After listening to our TLG staff leader share a bit about the country, she referred to the country has being put through great turmoil (which it definitely has) what with many people attempting to conquer the small country throughout times.  However, I found it encouraging that she was so hopeful for the difference that all of us teachers have the potential to make.  It seems like our purpose here is to show school children that there is life outside the Russian influence.  As one can imagine, Russia is a very, very touchy subject here! 

Well, I think that's all for now :) Off to go eat some lunch! 

1 comment:

  1. Emily! This sounds so exciting - Georgian TMZ! : ) I was thinking about you when I was feeling irritable on my 3 hour flight home (in coach!) - sounds like the upgrade was fun.

    Can't wait to hear more, love you lots, Rachel