Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Learning to Expect the Unexpected

Hello all! 

Well, once again I am on Cici's computer because mine is with the 'computer master' of Georgia! Gotta love technology.  I'm not sure what exactly the problem is this time, nor will I bor you with a drawn out explanation, but hopefully, I will have mine back at the end of the week and it will be fixed and ready to go! One thing that has been reinforced once again through this entire computer mess is how hospitable and helpful Georgians are.  Cici's Uncle Gia, who speaks decent English, and his wife have been so helpful and accommodating. Everytime we go over to their home, we're given coffee and chocolate, or like yesterday, a huge feast including wine, chadi (a corn based bread), sulguni (fancy Georgian cheese), fried chicken and delicious red tomatoes.  So yummy.  I will pause a moment though to explain a bit about toasting with wine. In America, wine is something to be drank over a period of time.  No one takes shots of wine, it's all about enjoying the glass for what it is.  Over here in Georgia, when we drink wine, we drink it in tall shot glasses, and you only drink when someone has made a toast.  Once a toaster toasts, then men down the entire glass (usually) and women drink about half of it.  Women, of course, aren't expected to be able to handle as much as men... So this was quite the experience for me! I found myself getting tipsy during our 3:00 lunch because there were just so many wonderful things to toast to, according to Gia and Mikheli! It was great to enjoy one another's company and chat with everyone.  Having Gia around was so helpful as I am normally reliant on Cici to translate (she wasn't around because she was participating in an English Competition in Kutaisi -- winner gets to study in America next year!!! I'm hoping she wins!!).  Anyway, the afternoon was well spent and hopefully when Gia visits later this week in Samtredia he will have a working computer in tow! 

This past weekend was quite exciting! It was crazy how everyone's plans kept changing before the weekend, though. This is what I was referring to in my blog title.  Early in the week I was planning on going to go on a field trip to the city of caves with Cici's classmates.  However, some boys got in trouble and the director post-poned the trip.  Then I thought I was going to go to Batumi with Tara to visit some of her friends from Orientation.  After that plan was made, Cici told me that we were actually going to the village this weekend to help her grandfather pick grapes and make wine for the year.  I was SO excited about this! So Batumi was out, and the village plans were made! Then, Thursday, the weatherman says it's going to rain for the next few days and Cici told me the village would be too muddy to go to.  At this point, I had also found out that Michelle and Melissa's school field trips had also been canceled and Tara's friends were staying in Tbilisi, rather than going to Batumi - so Thursday night we all decided to go to Tbilisi on Friday morning!! We had a great, great time in Tbilisi.  Some highlights included:

1. Meeting up with some of Tara's Georgian friends and having them show us around Tbilisi.  They took us up into the hill so we could look out and view the city from this strange little amusement park with a few rides and many funny places to take pictures.  

2. Eating a traditional Georgian meal, at a traditional Georgian restaurant with excellent live music and dancing.  Mmm I can still taste the Kinkali and the Khatchapuri...as well as the pepper vodka shots (sounds strange, but was oddly delicious when combined with ludi (beer). 

3. Staying at a homestay owned by a woman named Dodo who liked to ask us where we had been everytime we showed back up at our room...while we proceeded to climb through a window from the kitchen because our room didn't have it's own door!! (well, it did, but we had to walk through another room to get there...) 

4. Thinking that we would be able to hop on the TLG trip to Kakheti (wine country) at 8:00 am on Saturday and discovering there was only room for 1 of us to go because we hadn't RSVP'd...we of course told Tara to go and enjoy her friends :) 

5. Walking around Tbilisi, a town that doesn't really wake up until 11:00, at 8:00 and realizing that NOTHING was open to eat or drink or even look at...

6. Finding an AMAZING ice cream and coffee shop at 8:30 am, that randomly happened to be open and hanging out there for over an hour, drinking iced coffee, sampling lots of ice cream, chatting with the woman who was working and then eating our own ice cream for breakfast! 

7. Walking around Tbilisi, exploring the city and eventually settling in a park where we found a lovely spot to lay in the sun and relax...

8. Being told by the Tbilisi police that you can't lay in the grass...apparently taking advantage of nature is illegal here...

9. Hiking up to a fortress on a hill and viewing the city from the top.  It was absolutely beautiful and I did it all in my  Chacos...so thankful I didn't wear the flip flops.  You should have seen some of the 'stairs' I climbed up - more like piles of rocks that I prayed wouldn't tumble underneath me! It was totally worth it though, once I made it to the top! 

10. Splurging on a DELICIOUS Sushi dinner on Rustaveli Street.  Michelle had made it clear that we weren't going home alive if we didn't get sushi for dinner sometime this weekend.  As she kept talking about it, I began to crave it as well! It was a bit expensive, but competely worth it.  We have all grown a bit tired of the sheer amount of bread and cheese and other Georgian food, so the break from it was well deserved! 

11. Enjoying the train both from Samtredia to Tbilisi and back.  Although, the train ride back home Sunday was much nicer and faster and cleaner...Only took us 4 hours instead of 5 and a half! 

12. Being greeted and welcomed home as I walked through the gate to my house Sunday night.  It was so nice to feel missed by my family and to realize that I, too, had missed them.  Drinking tea and catching up that night with Cici, Lela and Mikheli was so much fun! We also found out that Mikheli's schedule was changed to an overnight shift every 3 days instead of every 2, so he'll be home more often now!!  

Well, as you can see, the weekend was filled with lots of eating and great fellowship among us Samtredia girls and other TLG friends - plus some new Georgian friends as well! School is still going well.  I taught my 6th graders Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes yesterday when I realized they didn't know their body parts.  It was great! We then played Simon Says.  Hopefully they will remember everything tomorrow when I have them again! That seems to be the greatest challenge...getting the students to actually study at home and retain what we learn in class.  

Well, maybe this week a goal of mine will be to post more often so that my posts aren't SO LONG!! Thanks for sticking through with me again through this one.  As of right now, we're planning to head to the village again this weekend...we'll see if it sticks!! 

Love to you all! 


  1. Your weekend travels sound very challenging (to organize) and rewarding. It is really interesting to see your relationships growing to status of a family member and if Cici wins will she come to Iowa? Hope so it would be so much fun to have her visit and thank her and her family personally for being your host family (and to her Dad for protecting you; a Dad comment). Look forward to your next blog and the "computer update" along with the next weekend plan. lyl Dad

  2. Here's hoping a Georgian computer fairy visits your laptop!!!!