**This post has a graphic picture and a gory story that goes with it. You were warned. Sincerely, Management***
This past school week was pretty standard. Or I should rather say, nothing that made me write a post about it. But a fellow TLG #43 was celebrating a birthday, so we decided to meet up in Tbilisi. I was needing to go to Tbilisi anyway for personal reasons. I wanted to restock my supply of mini snickers and mini Twix, and I was going get some hardcopy books for my host brothers. All of my books are on the IPad, and besides that, they are too difficult for their level of English. Plus I wanted to get them something age appropriate. (If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.) And Erin, the birthday girl was throwing out the want to go horseback riding. I’ve never been horseback riding before, mainly because horses are big and powerful creatures. They can easily trample one under foot or throw you off. I don’t really want to experience either of those. But, something about this country puts everything back on the table as a possibility.
But before I start the tale of the weekend in earnest, let me get some of the preliminary things out of the way. Early Friday morning woke up to a torrential downpour. I’ve never heard it rain so hard for so long. In school, I was hoping that it just let up a little soon, so I didn’t have to walk to the marshrut’ka stop. I really didn’t want to be soaked and wet for a 5 hour bus ride. Nor did I want all my clothes and stuff to be wet. I ran home afterschool to get my things and say goodbye to the family. It started raining harder. But my host grandma made my grandpa drive me.
Now if you have been reading past posts, you know we have a love/hate relationship. This was going to be the first time, I think, that he and I were alone and doing something that required communicating. Off we go! We get to the end of the block and he motions to me as to say, “Which way?” I know this town by now. I can get around pretty easy in the day or night. I even know the shortcuts to places. I knew where the marshrut’ka left, so I felt very comfortable directing him. Well, after that first left, he decided he knew better and just started driving to one. The problem was it was the wrong stop. I motioned for him to keep driving and don’t turn into the marshut’ka station, but he was just as adamant about being right and therefore it must be where he was to drop me off. Hence, a stand off….
Needless to say, I won. As we approached the correct one, he motioned to me, “I got it, I got it.” I let him have it.
Met my two travel companions at the stop, got on the murshrut’ka and rolled into a weekend that if measured on a scale of 1 to 10, it would score EPIC! Enough happened this weekend and the story is long enough to get a great since how things that happen in Georgia feels at times like a twilight zone or we’ve slipped into a parallel universe. It’s so long, that I think I will divide it into three posts. So without further ado- Erin’s Birthday Weekend.
Caroline and Lindsay saw the sheep first. I was still mesmerized by the view of our surroundings. And plus, sheep aren’t that special. They are just furry little balls. We continued on our way up to the police station. Once we got the answer to our dilemma, we trekked back to tell the other girls. As we were conferring with them, Caroline (I guess because she was still pre-occupied with and paying attention to the sheep) turns and says to us in the most serious-excited voice, “THEY JUST KILLED THE SHEEP!” And sure enough, I peer over through the windshield of a car and saw the still twitching hooves of the sheep that was just eating grass not five minutes earlier. In the very next second, I see Caroline bee-lining over to the site of the slaying while simultaneously getting camera out of bag. Now I didn’t run over there immediately because I don’t really know the proper etiquette for sheep slaughter. For example, is it a private thing… religious? Well, Caroline was all in their space snapping pictures, and most of the other girls were headed over, too. So I didn’t want to miss it either. How many times do you get to see an up close sheep slaughter? When I got there, the head was already off. and sitting to the side.
Abbey was the first, I think, to get a picture with it. They showed us video of the decapitation. It was VERY surreal. The butcher didn’t stop there though. He sheared the wool off, then sliced the rest of the animal into manageable pieces. He knew his business.
But before I continue, let me tell how we came to be witness to this poor sheep’s demise…