What Did He Mean?

This weekend I got into Game of Thrones again. Love that show! I had planned on sitting in my room all day Sunday with a Coke, chips and some Twix and just veg out.

But Marta wanted to go hiking. I must admit, it was a beautiful day, indeed. Ugh. But maybe I could sidestep it if there were others going….    Everybody else was either out of town or busy. Ugh. Well if I was going to be outside, I was going where I wanted to be… by the Sea. Batumi, it is!

Marta is an avid hitchhiker. Not my goto mode of traveling, but I’m adventurous and plus, it saves a few bucks.

We compromised and decided to travel to Poti because it was still by the Sea and neither of us had spent any significant time there before. But the hitchhiking gods were not on our side. 30 minutes later, we were still sitting by the side of the road in Oz.

Batumi it is!

On the OTHER road, we were picked up by a Georgian who spoke decent Georgian. He was a lawyer by education living in Oz, but because there are no jobs in that field, he is now in the import/ export business. He was traveling to Batumi for the Holiday.  Speaking of…

Sunday was Palm Sunday. They have a tradition in the Georgian Orthodox faith of assembling at the church with branches from a bush, the boxwood, to symbolize one of the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.  As you read this, you probably realize that their Easter celebration does not line up with the Catholic celebration of Easter.  But besides the different dates, there are traditions that I think are also different.

I was in one of my kindergarten classes, and I noticed a plate of seeds. I thought it was a science experiment. But instead it was a plate of grass being grown and prepared for a tradition of placing red eggs. My host father tried to explain the symbolism involved. According to him, the eggs represent Peter’s triple denial of Christ.

DSCN3331

Our driver was headed to Batumi to celebrate with his friends and family.

He dropped us off at the boardwalk. But before he left, he offered us a ride back if we were finished around the same time.  Awesome!

Batumi

Batumi

Marta and I quickly loaded up on beer, soda and snacks. Got down to the Sea and commenced relaxing.  The Sea was beautiful and calm that day. More like a big lake. We saw scores of dolphins frolicking around seemingly close enough to play with.

Good times.

Although Spring… still cold

Although Spring… still cold

But alas, it was time to go. We packed up and called our guy. I texted him, “Hello. Wondering how much longer you think before you are ready to head back to Ozurgeti?”

We walked in the direction of where it would be most convenient to meet him or get another ride. Along the way, he responded, “FUCK YOU :))))))))))))))))))”

I’m not making that up.

I was stunned and confused. I didn’t know whether to laugh… or to be mad. I showed Marta, who busted out laughing (she had an odd sense of humor). But what did he mean…?

I couple of guys picked us up to take us as far as Khobuleti.  They didn’t speak any English nor did they try to.

In Khobuleti, we were picked up by a father/ son traveling to Oz. They spoke Russian, so Marta was able to communicate with them. They were thinking of moving to Russia, because he was frustrated there were no jobs in Georgia.

Great day!

***

“Papa was a rolling stone,
Where ever he laid his hat was his home
and when he died, all he left us was alone”

Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone, The Temptations

Ranting and Raving

Sitting on a warm toilet seat is… fantastic. I can’t remember the last time this occurred in Georgia. Thank God, it’s Spring!

***

My family in specific, Georgians in general are very repetitive in the questions they ask and the stories they tell me. I don’t know if it’s because they forget or simply can’t think of any else to ask or say. Lado tells me the same story about their first volunteer that stayed with them teaching him incorrectly, “good”, “gooder”, and “goodest”.  And my host dad asks me weekly if I like soccer.

***

I thought the following scenario was a cultural thing, but now I think it’s just this family. Nino doesn’t like to eat…. period. And when she does, she is always force fed by her grandmother. (Which in my opinion, I think she stuffs her mouth with too much food at one time. But she says its because she doesn’t know how long Nino will want to continue to eat, so she wants to make the best of her effort.)

***

But the other day, a neighborhood friend of Nino’s ate lunch with us. We had homemade French fries. They were more like potato wedges. The friend, Tako, is a year younger than Nino—4. Tako sat at the end of the table all by herself and cut her own potato wedges and fed herself. I was amazed. I just looked from her to Nino, to her back to Nino as the grandma shoved food into Nino’s mouth.

***

I noticed that the boys have a habit of taking a ‘clean’ cup from the dish rack, drinking some water from it, then putting the cup back in the dish rack.   …Noted.

***

 I am the worst at learning this language. It is wicked hard. And it discourages me to realize how little I know. I can usually make out what a person is trying to say to me. But sometimes, I am totally lost and frustrated. And forget about my responding with a coherent sentence.  I planned on getting a tutor when I got back from my trip to Turkey, but that didn’t work out. Now it’s been pushed back until after Easter.

My friend, Marta has been taking Russian lessons for two months and whenever we are together, she can speak it well enough already to have conversations with merchants and people we meet. Which makes me want to take Russian if she can learn it that fast. But 1. Maybe she is super good at learning languages. Russian and Polish are somewhat similar, right? And 2. Learning Georgian will help me in this country in the long run more so than Russian. (Although I could potentially use Russian in more scenarios outside of Georgia.  Georgian is only spoken in Georgia.)

***

I found out that my host brothers occasionally turn off the wifi (router is in their room), in order to have better connection via ethernet in their room to play online games.  Which obviously leaves me with zero internet. But the shady part about it is, when I go over and knock on the door, I hear them scurrying to turn the wifi on, then go back to sit at the desk before telling me to come in.

How do I know they purposefully turn it off? Lado went in to yell at Nika about not being connected using my wifi from downstairs. And as he went into the room, I followed. And sure enough, it was simply off.  Sneaky little….

 

***

“If you can’t say something nice… don’t say nothing at all.”– Thumper, Bambi

You Win Some… You Lose Some

So mid May, my organization, TLG, is going to have an end of year conference in Tbilisi. I’m not gonna lie, I am stoked about this. I have been super curious about how many people are actually in the program and still in Georgia. We all will be there– hopefully. We will stay in Tbilisi the first night at Bazaleti Hotel. (I was getting nostalgic for a while until I found out its NOT the same Bazaleti hotel  orientation was held when we arrived in Georgia.) This Bazaleti   will be a property they have on a lake.  Then we will go to a beautiful nearby town called Mtskheta. (The town I want to move to eventually, hopefully as early as next year.) The conference is going to be mid week, which is a little strange, but whatever.

Mtskheta

Mtskheta

They announced that they will have speakers, presentations, etc, etc. They also made us aware of various contests. I am not a fan of contests during conferences that are supposed to be relaxing (or that I have labeled relaxing). One was to make a video demonstrating teaching practices in the class. My plan was to let this contest pass, but my principal received the email, too. And he is VERY much into contests. So it was more a directive to do it now.   …Okay.

So even though I didn’t want to do it, I wasn’t just gonna make a shitty video. And if we “won” my co-teacher would get to go to the conference, too. And she was pretty stoked about that.

I got a great idea over the weekend and we decided to use my fifth grade class to video. We had a blast taping it. It’s no wonder they are my favorite class.

It took me a good two days to edit the video and upload. Which I don’t think they thought the process through very well. Editing video is NOT an easy ‘cut and paste’ activity. And a lot of schools I doubt have the technological ability to edit AND upload. But whatever, I got ours done.

I showed the principal and he was mediocre about it….   thanks, Big Guy.

Anyway, here is the video. Please don’t wish me to win… it’s more a personal gratification thing. Oh, and let me introduce:  My awesome 5th grade class of Ozurgeti School #4!

Helpful Teaching Practices Video

So, my co-teacher called TLG to ask if they received video. They said they had. But my co-teacher continued to tell me, and I quote, “They did not like video…”     Okay.

***

“So who you placing the blame on, you keep on singing the same song
Let bygones be bygones, you can go on and get the hell on
You and your mama”

Sorry Ms. Jackson, Outkast

Ballin’

Immediately after the Presentation on Love, we all crossed the park to go to the gym. The boys from our school were in a town basketball tournament championship game. The gym was packed out!

The game was definitely… interesting. It was classic Georgian. The referees didn’t seem to know all the rules, but they at least kept order. The teams didn’t secure benches. They simply stood at opposite corners of the court. They didn’t ‘run plays’, but simply did the best they could.

DSCN3318

There were some quality players out playing, nonetheless. We had a great player on our team, and the other team had an amazing player.

At the end though, we were victorious!

***

(Played at end of game)

“We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions.”

We Are The Champions, Queen

Presentation On Love

DSCN3226

I was asked last week to be a part of a program that the 11th graders were putting together. Georgia has a similar holiday to Valentines called ‘Love Day (I think)’.  This program was in celebration. They asked me to recite a sonnet by William Shakespeare, #109. Not the best sonnet in my opinion, but I am biased against old English from the start. A student was then to recite the poem in Georgian.

DSCN3283

The day of the program was a full production. They were dressed and in make up. They invited friends and relatives, so the hall was packed out. The program was varied with singing, recitals of poetry, dancing and highlights of historical people.

DSCN3281

I was thoroughly impressed.

 

***

O! never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seem’d my flame to qualify,
As easy might I from my self depart
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love: if I have ranged,
Like him that travels, I return again;
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that myself bring water for my stain.
Never believe though in my nature reigned,
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good;
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou, my rose, in it thou art my all.

Sonnet #109, William Shakespeare

Shhhh….. Flash Mob!!!!!

After dance practice for the last couple of weeks, there has been a group of kids gathered outside the museum dancing. I know a couple of them from school, but a lot of them go to other schools. I eventually asked them what they were doing, and the girl I knew explained they were going to perform a ‘flash mob’!

Well the day finally came. It wasn’t a flash mob, per se, more like an announced dance in the park. They had told all their friends and family. So the day of, there were a large number of people standing around waiting for them to do their thing.DSCN3116

The music was a mix between traditional Georgian and current pop songs. But they pretty much danced Georgian dances. It was so fun and cute!

Afterwards they released Japanese lanterns.

DSCN3129

***

“I keep dancing on my own
I keep dancing on my own”

Dancing On My Own, Robyn