Hello Friends and Family!
As many of you all know, tomorrow I am embarking on quite the adventure! I will be spending the next 10 months in the Republic of Georgia, teaching English in a k-12 school while living with a host family. This is through a government sponsored program and the Georgian Ministry of Education called Teach and Learn with Georgia (TLG). Greenheart Travel, an organization based out of Chicago is coordinating most of the logistical information with TLG, which makes my life much easier!
My last week has been an absolute whirlwind and nothing like I imagined, but I think that was just a good preparation for the next 10 months! I didn't actually find out that I was leaving early Sunday morning from Chicago until last night... We've been waiting all week for the Georgian government to send us our flight itineraries and they were very much on their own time schedule. I was thinking my flight wouldn't leave until Monday or Tuesday, so this Sunday morning, 8:43 am flight was a bit much to wrap my head around! I'm now frantically running around, attempting to get everything ready after being out of town for a family funeral. However, I am a firm believer in the phrase 'Everything happens for a reason,' and 'Everything will work itself out - because it has to!' So, I'm just trying to take things one step at a time and focus on the exciting adventure in front of me, rather than the fact that I desperately wanted these last few days to say goodbye to friends and family.
I should tell you a bit of what I know about what my time will be like in Georgia. I honestly don't know a lot - meaning I could be placed in a small village, or a bigger city. I will find out when I get there. This had made packing a bit of a challenge - but oh well! I do know that I will be in the Imereti region, which is in Southwestern Georgia, about an hour inland from the Black Sea and the touristy coastal city of Batumi. It is also about an hour from T'bilisi, the capital city where we will have orientation for a week when we first arrive. In Imereti, the second largest city, (the country's capital for a brief period of time) Kutaisi will be close to wherever I am located as well. This is comforting because if I ever need to exchange more money, find internet, etc, I will have a big city nearby.
For those of you that are curious, the people in Georgia speak Georgian (many also speak Russian), but I will be learning Georgian. It is one of the oldest languages in the world and is really quite beautiful - it's also quite difficult! I'm looking forward to learning it, but I know it will probably be one of the hardest things I ever do. The language barrier is extremely intimidating, but I've heard so many wonderful things about Georgian hospitality so I feel the two will balance each other out.
I'm sure there are many, many more things I could share, but for now, I'm going to go eat some breakfast and keep packing! I will have my laptop over there and will most likely have internet (for sure at school and probably at my host family). Feel free to email or skype me! Love you all and I can't wait to see you next summer!