I’m usually very aware of those around me, especially in a small group setting. And I get uncomfortable when others in the group get uncomfortable. For example (and I’m sure other professions have similar situations) when socializing with people and the majority if them are teachers, the conversation after a while tends to drift to teacher talk which leaves non-teachers out of the conversation. I really hate to be in situations like that and I hate to put other people in those situations.
This weekend, Caroline and I were invited by a friend to his friend’s birthday party in Batumi. The birthday girl, Jordan, was in his TLG orientation group. She was a super fun girl from Canada. And to add to the festivities, several of her friends from Canada came to visit for her birthday! (ehhmm…friends of mine, take notes!)
We had a BLAST in Batumi. We went to several hot spots that I didn’t get to experience the first time in this sinful city by the sea. But for that… what happens in Batumi, stays in Batumi. What I can share, and the purpose of this post centers on Jordan’s visiting friends.
I have been here for a very short time thus far. There is so much more I have to learn. And that’s just the things I am aware of that I have to learn. I’m sure there are cultural nuances that I don’t even know exist. Like counterparts to English figures of speech, ‘He’s down to earth’. And of course wrapping my mind around this language still proves to be daunting. Oh, quick side story…
I was at the dinner table tonight, just going over the numbers, and Nino heard me so she started to help me. We got to four, ot’khi, and I just couldn’t pronounce it perfectly enough for her.
nino: OT’KHI. (with accompanying hand gesture)
nino: OT’KHI!!!!!!! (with accompanying double hand gesture)
She ended up throwing her hands up in frustration.
But alas, moments like this weekend makes me realize I am indeed learning this culture, albeit small steps. Sitting at the dinner table, and seeing us in Georgia through their eyes was sobering. They were a perfect mirror for us to take note of how far we have actually come since day one. We had synced perceptions on the cultural components of eating and toasting, we could communicate effectively with wait staff, and bartenders. We knew how to navigate the city and dealt with the cultural differences/inconveniences that would have given us all severe anxiety several months ago.
And we were able to see a glimpse of our former selves in them. Eating khinkali and khach’ap’uri for the first time. Interacting with wait staff, drinking wine and toasting, going with the Georgian flow.
So here’s to Jordan and her friends for a wonderful weekend!
PS. Another Nino story.
So my host father and I were talking about how Georgian is a VERY old language. Lots of Georgians don’t even understand old Georgian. Through the years in the transition, they took out five letters. We were sitting at the kitchen table and yelled to the grandpa who was in the living room for his confirmation on the five missing letters. The grandpa couldn’t quite hear us, but Nino did. And she yelled back, “I DIDN’T TAKE THEM!!!!”
“I’m Starting With The Man In
I’m Asking Him To Change
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change”
Man In The Mirror, Michael Jackson