Family Time

I haven’t posted in a while simply because not that much of note has happened. Been back in Ozurgeti for a week now and have finally gotten back into the routine. I didn’t travel this weekend in effort to do just that, get back into the routine.

I guess then that most of my observations have been on the family.

Families are funny things. Private and public and the same time. I can’t thank my host family enough for taking me in. It undoubtedly adds a deeper perspective on the culture of Georgia. The program that I’m a part of, TLG, has added another clause to the contract that volunteers must stay with host families unless they have extenuating circumstances. The reason being a trend was developing where we deciding to rent and live in separate apartments foregoing host homes. That obviously undermines half of the program that tries to emphasis cultural exchange.

So in observing my host family more, here are some of the things that came up:

First, my host grandfather is nicer to me since I’ve been back. He says ‘hello’ when I say hello. He smiles a little more. And he tries to tell me what is happening on television. Win.

The boys are loud with everything they do. I might notice this because I am naturally quiet (part ninja) and because I try to be inconspicuous as a guest in their home. For example, when going to the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning, I try to stealthily walk the halls and painstakingly open, close, lock and unlock doors. But the boys are the opposite extreme. They stomp down the stairs and slam every door in their path.

Nino is still cute as a kitten, but I think she also has the propensity to be a bully. I notice that when a friend of the same age comes over, she is very restrictive and bratty towards her. I would be more sure if I understood what the hell they were saying.

It’s disarming to see Nika waiting in the hall before bed to talk to his mom wearing nothing but a t-shirt, undies and a smile. But at school, he strolls the halls with his posse like the coolest kid in the place.

My host dad works a lot. He is the manager of a bank here in Ozurgeti. And the host mom is always going here and there between the household duties and chores. I rarely see them in the same place at the same time except for meals. Whenever there is communication, it’s usually Eka (the host mom) yelling about the kids. And make no mistake about it… she can yell. Actually I rarely hear her speaking at regular tones.

She goes about her day taking care of the house, food and kids. And Levon goes to work from sun up to sun down.

That’s why it was nice to observe a peaceful moment between the two. Levon was in Tbilisi Saturday. He took the night train back Saturday night and got in Sunday morning around 6:30. I woke up at a descent Sunday morning time… 10:45 and meandered downstairs. Normally the grandparents would have been up at that time too, but they were at a relative’s house for the weekend.

So after Eka’s daily coffee time with the lady neighbors, the house was eerily quiet. The kids were not to get up for another several hours. I was curled up with a book warming by the fire. And they were talking quietly at the kitchen table. I could barely even hear Eka, which is a miracle. It was a picturesque scene, a moment that I know they cherish.

I just hope I’m not too intrusive. They seem to take to me, though.

But do you love me?

(Golde)
Do I love you? 
For twenty-five years I’ve washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked the cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

(Golde)
Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him
Fought him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that’s not love, what is?

(Tevye)
Then you love me?

(Golde)
I suppose I do

(Tevye)
And I suppose I love you too

Do You Love Me, Fiddler On The Roof

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