Yesterday, I woke up from my afternoon nap and had no idea what was in store for my evening. I have been wanting to just simply sit in my room and watch a movie on my laptop for FOREVER. But things keep coming up. My friend Caroline had previously mentioned going to meet an American that’s involved with education but not with TLG for drinks. But other than that, my evening was wide open.
So I went downstairs and hung out with the family and read some until Caroline called. Nino had been pretty sick for the past three days and hadn’t been eating. The family was super worried about her, but then, out of the blue, she asks for a plate of mashed potatoes! The family rejoiced! She was back to her normal cute self. But today she quickly went back to her normal pre sick habits of NOT eating much.
When Caroline did finally call, I headed into town to meet her. The town of Ozurgeti is situated right in the center of two mountain chains. The closest are the ones headed to Batumi (the other on the Tbilisi side). Usually the near mountains are shrouded in mist, or at least as they have been as long as I’ve been here. But today, they were unclouded and crystal clear. It was like I was seeing them for the first time. They were awe inspiring and seeing them on this crisp fall afternoon…I immediately fell in love with Georgia all over again.
We not only met the one guy for drinks, but there were several others who met as well. There was another TLG fellow who has been in the Ozurgeti region since October. There were two Peace Corp volunteers who have served a year and a half on their contract already. And then the non-TLG/ non-Peace Corp fellow. It was refreshing to meet not only another TLG person from another group, but also to actually sit down and talk with Peace Corp folks.
I have felt an underlying tension between the two groups, but I could never quite put into words why. We both are more or less here doing the same thing (I even was looking into doing Peace Corp, but didn’t see a Georgia placement). Maybe it’s because of the rocky past TLG has had with the initial start up of the program. Peace Corp is the well-respected older mature brother organization known the world over. And TLG is the spoiled, bratty, upstart younger sibling who doesn’t really know what’s what. Albeit, TLG has come a LONG way in terms of organization and screening, the negative residue of earlier volunteers can still be discerned from implied statements in various conversations.
So in meeting these two Corps members, it was good to get what their perspective was on Georgia and on TLG. They are great people and I look forward to spending more time with them and getting to know them better. They had great stories and I can tell they will be valuable resources to us ‘newbies’.
The non volunteer fella was most interesting to me because of his occupation. He was sort of elusive when initially asked questions about reasons for being in Georgia and what he actually does. What I gained over the course of the conversation was that he indeed is an American. He has been here for three years with his wife and two kids. He has bought a house in Kutaisi. He works (sort of, currently) with a NGO that serves to help Georgian teachers learn how to teach. That sounds right in line with my long term goals of staying in Georgia. That’s about all I got from him, as I had to leave early to Skype someone back in American. But I’m sure I’ll see him again in the near future.
It was a great meeting! We even decided to start having a happy hour perhaps once a week. Which is something I love! It reminds me of my weekly ‘business meeting’ back home with Kozak and Dabbs. I love consistent community time with friends. It’s revitalizing and it grounds me.
It was a gold star day!
“What’s there to live for?
Who needs the peace corps?
Think I’ll just DROP OUT
I’ll go to Frisco
Buy a wig & sleep
On Owsley’s floor
Walked past the wig store
Danced at the Fillmore
I’m completely stoned
I’m hippy & I’m trippy
I’m a gypsy on my own
I’ll stay a week & get the crabs &
Take a bus back home
I’m really just a phony
But forgive me
‘Cause I’m stoned”
Who Needs The Peace Corp?, Frank Zappa