Not getting the marshut’ka
It should never be taken for granted the time spent with other English speakers. I am investing in my host family beautifully, so I feel I have time to go see and interact with other members of the TLG team. Today I attempted to go see Brooke who lives in a neighboring village. She sounded excited to have me meet her host family and I was equally excited to experience and network with another Georgian family. But alas, I had to navigate my first traveling experience without a native tour guide. (My host brother was sick, and didn’t want to intrude on a stranger’s family situation). So off alone I went, translation book in tow. I know my way to the “bus station” because of host brother, Lado. But from there, shit hit the fan. There were several buses idling at the designated spot. I went to each armed with the appropriate Georgian words and smile. But no one was going to my friend’s village. Hmm… So I waited.. no other buses. I went to a taxi who charged a crazy foreigner price. Defeat. First one yet.
A place to hang my towel
The last time I was living abroad was in Tunisia. It is an Arabic country with Arabic traditions and customs. They had what I call a European shower. It being my first time encountering such an apparatus (and there being no shower curtain) I daily sprayed the entire bathroom with water. They never said anything. Dumb Americans…
So I wanted to wait and see what my host family’s habits were regarding showering/ washing clothes, etc., before I did something insulting. And I waited… and waited. Finally I noticed that my host brother, Lado took a shower while I was napping yesterday. Good news. So today I asked to shower, got the okay, and a towel. Now, the shower situation isn’t what I was expecting, but manageable. In time it will be second nature, I’m sure. I tried to figure it out and set a routine. I think I managed successfully. But the summary of the story is I now have a place to hang MY towel. I am a part of this generous family who graciously took me into their private space.
Lado woke up sick today. Nothing major, maybe just a 24 hour bug. But he handled it with terrifying and alarming methods. He had tissue to blow he nose (noted for future illnesses I might acquire). But he discarded them out the window to the back yard. We were to go grill some chicken by the river, so he had to chop it up, nose dripping and all…. non-sanitarily done. D+. Once the chicken was ready, we had to journey to the destination, which included walking to the center of town, buying other items, waiting for bus, riding bus to village, walking to site, oh wait, go back to village store for cups. No cups. Continue to site, and wait for fire to start and get hot. Can someone say, salmonella? Once at the river, we had to share two bottles of soda with the group. If I don’t get sick from today, it’ll be a miracle.
BBQ, Georgian Style
Unfortunately, my TLG friends who were near did not get to come along with me for this trip.
I was working on my Georgian while Lado’s crew were piled in his room listening to and watching music videos. All of a sudden they run out of the room. I ask Lado, who informs me, “It’s time for the BBQ”. Okay.
They all scattered to various jobs and preparations; chopping chicken, chopping wood, buying the various necessities, etc. Tazo invited a friend along as well. Her name is Tako, 18 year old classmate of his. She also speaks English.
The destination was in the same village as the Tamari Fortress where we went the other day. We walked along and realized we forgot bread. No worries, Tazo has a friend of his mother’s who lives up the lane. Okay.
After navigating some suspect farm lands, we reached the river. We had the run of the land. A very picturesque scene reminiscent of the movie, The Blue Lagoon. A deep pool of turquoise blue water, set to the background of rushing rapids of the river.
The boys promptly set off to building a fire, which by taking notes, I would have ruined the meat. They have a traditional and successful method of cooking with just wood. I was thoroughly impressed. It took forever, but what’s the rush? In the mean time, the other boys swam, I got to know and speak to Tako. We horsed around and simply breathed in the Georgian offerings. We had what is called, Mtsvadi, a Georgian cuisine, with bread. Delicious!
I can’t wax poetic enough about the event itself, though. I was totally disengaged with everything else other than the people with me. Nothing else mattered. That feeling is foreign to me. For example, we forgot glasses, and Lado and I had to walk back to the store in the village. It seemed closed, and the lady sitting on the porch informed us that the storekeeper was informed there was a gas smell in her house, so she had to leave for a bit. We waited what seemed like forever before returning to our people, and I wanted to run all the way, for fear of inconveniencing everyone. But when we returned… no worries. Life is still good. Some thing about that BBQ shifted something inside of me.
I’m getting to know youth culture in regards to dating (or pseudo-dating) in Georgia amongst teenagers in towns. Very interesting indeed. But I will refrain from posting for now in order to not blow up anyone’s spot. Town life is VERY distinct from what I’ve heard of city and village life; totally different.