Instead of traveling far this weekend, in an attempt to save some money yet remain to be the social butterflies the four of us have seemed to become this semester, we drove a mere 20 km to Kutaisi to camp out at our friend Chase's house. And when I say camp out, I mean this in a pretty literal sense. Chase, a fullbrighter from South Carolina, has somewhat created a Mini-America with his centrally located, 2 bedroom apartment that he has all to his very own self. The girls and I have taken full advantage of this apartment and have enjoyed many late night parties and relaxing lazy days at his place. Chase is also very into couchsurfing, which if you've read my blog before, you know that we are very pro-couchsurfing. This past weekend we met 2 German boys, 2 Swiss girls, 2 Italians and some fellow Americans. As you can imagine, the place was pretty crowded and we all take the attitude of grabbing a blanket, your jacket as a pillow and attempt to crawl into a bed or find a spot on the floor! Some were TLGers that just happened to be traveling and looking for a place to crash, some backpackers, and even some who had been living out of their car for the past month as they traveled from Germany, through Turkey and now through Georgia. It's amazing to meet everyone, hear their stories and hear about their lives. I love that anytime we meet someone couchsurfing, it's a guarantee that we will have two things in common, a love for traveling and a sense of adventure. It makes for lots to talk about!
Anyway, back to the weekend. As entertaining as we all for each other, I think we found the most entertainment in a new addition to our volunteer/couchsurfing clan. An adorable puppy cleverly named Karl Barx. When we showed up on Friday, Chase surprised us with Karl and he told us the story of how he found him, approached him and picked him up (while he was all alone) off the street and brought him home. Of course, I was thinking to myself: Chase, you're crazy! You don't know where this dog has been, he's not at all potty trained, he's going to need lot of attention and what are you going to do with him when you leave??? But all those thoughts left when we all saw how sweet, adorable and happy was. I'll admit it, I'm not a huge dog person, but Karl Barx is just the cutest puppy EVER!
So, we spent lots of time playing games, chatting, and cooking various forms of eggs (because it's just so cheap and easy). We also spent lots of time sitting in the sun in the park and throwing a nerf football around that Taylor happened to bring all the way from Canada. See what I mean about creating a Mini-America? We spent the weekend, speaking English the ENTIRE time, with other Americans, playing football in the park, playing games, playing with a puppy, cooking cheap food and of course enjoying a few drinks together. Do I think it's bad that we've created this Mini-America? No. I don't. I think that after 8 months of being away, it's nice to every once in a while, spend time with others like ourselves and indulge in activities we've been doing our entire life. I think that sometimes people look down on those who are traveling abroad and create a Mini-America because it implies that they aren't submersing themselves into the culture they're living in. While I think this is legitimate, every once in a while, it feels great to revert into the culture we grew up in and ignore our present culture. I love so many aspects of Georgian culture, but there's no denying that I also love the culture I grew up in, the culture I know the best, the culture that feels like home. Being so far from home right now, I relish in the moments where I do feel home, as those moments are often few and far between.