When In Rome

So today Lado took me around town. He showed me the highlights; Police station, train station, market, etc. He showed me my school that I will be teaching at as well.  There are five schools in the town. I will be teaching at #4. They all contain grades 1- 12. Lado will be a senior at my school and I’m assuming his younger brother will go there as well. The school is in fairly good condition. There were other teachers there taking exams.  Georgia has an incentive program that if they pass several national exams, they will earn a significant increase in salary.

Later on we met his neighborhood crew.  We also met up with Caroline who lives in the town as well. She was accompanied by her host granddaughter, Ana, who was 7 (pretty good English, too). Again, we simply walked around town trying to get a feel for the area.  We got in touch with Brooke, who is living in an outskirting village.  It took her a while to figure out how to get into town, as her host brother felt strongly about escorting her.  But she finally arrived. We all ate lunch at my host family’s home. As the day go hotter, we decided to go down to the river for a swim.

Now things get interesting.

The river is on the border of the town, it has a rocky bank but navigable.  There were kids and some families already there enjoying the day. Caroline and Brooke didn’t wear a suit, so they just waded their feet in. I was skeptical about this river business because, well, it’s a river. But the boys dove in like penguins chased by a killer whale. So “while in Rome…” I dove in. Very refreshing, cold but refreshing. More people were being curious, and started coming closer for better inspection. Very few spoke English but all were nice enough.  Then they started getting brave and daring.  On the far bank of the river they jumped from the bank, then the bushes then the trees, then the tallest branches of the tallest trees into the river.  It was flat our terrifying. I have pictures and video to back up my story. they wanted me to jump too, but… well… insurance and all.

Standing on the river bank, I should have expected this to happen.  One of Lado’s friend’s Tazo (great guy, 19, speaks English fairly well) pushed me in. I still had my glasses on but couldn’t break the momentum of the fall without smashing into the rocks on the bottom at the shores edge, so I dove in. When I came up, glasses where gone! Jessssusssss!

I was stunned- shocked. I couldn’t move. All I could do was cuss and scream. I told Brooke and Caroline and the boys. They yelled something too, in Georgian, and all the kids came to assist bomb diving to the bottom of the river look with me. I was still in shock. Caroline, bless her heart was going to call the TLG Hotline, not knowing what they could do. This counted as an emergency, right?

Five minutes later, still standing in the swift current of the muddy river, a small girl several feet away, said something in the shrillest voice in angelic Georgian and held up my glasses. I swam to her and proper Georgian etiquette or not, I picked her up and almost hugged the breathe out of her. I wanted to giver her the world. If had my wallet I would have changed her small Georgian life forever. But Lado told me everything was fine and not needed.

I still am in shock and get goose bumps thinking about the voice of that girl as she singlehandedly reversed my time in Georgia.

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