The day finally arrived. It was time to meet our host families and begin travels to the far flung outposts of Georgia. The system was to have us with all our bags on one side of the lobby and the host families (or a surrogate) on the other. When they call our names, we meet in the middle, Gladiator style. Talk about nerve racking! I thought I was going to throw up. And for those who know me from home, I was pacing like crazy. The common thought was “Will they like me? I just want them to like me.”
Once a name was called and perspective people met, it was the saddest sight to see people walk off. And although we know they are somewhere in the country doing the exact same thing you are, not knowing the next time you will see them, if ever.
My name was called.
I would be traveling as said earlier, to Guria. It’s on the other side of the country, so a principal, host mom and co-teacher secured a Marshut’ka, operates like a taxi, but in bus form, to come get us and take us back with them. Traveling with me were Caroline (the two of us staying in town), Brooke, Jess, and Dan who were all staying in neighboring villages. Off we went.
The first part of the journey was smooth and straight. But halfway, we started to climb some foothills into the mountains. We stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant, which was a pleasant surprise. It not only was beautiful, it was the first real taste of Georgian cuisine. Wood grilled beef, salad, cheese bread…OH MAN!
It was also my first experience with a Turkish Toilet.
Back on the road we traveled through scenic pastures, hillsides and mountain terrain. I will have to post separately just on the skills of the driver. But nonetheless, we made it to Guria that night in one piece. First to be dropped off was Brooke. Her host parents met her in a parked car, and off they went. We went a little ways and the same process was repeated for Jess and Dan. Then Caroline. Then me.
“Once in a while when it’s good
It’ll feel like it should
And they’re all still around
And you’re still safe and sound
And you don’t miss a thing
’til you cry when you’re driving away in the dark.
Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can’t take this speed it’s moving in
I know I can’t
Cause now I see I’ll never stop this train”
Stop This Train, John Mayer