I was having a gloomy day at camp the other day. It takes an immeasurable and unforeseen toll not being able to speak to another native speaker for a while. It is mentally taxing.
One of the first days of camp, we tried to put up the volleyball net that they brought from Tbilisi. After several minutes, it became clear that this was either not a full sized net or a lot of pieces were missing. It was only going to be waist high. That realization didn’t seem to faze the boys that were helping me. They kept on working on it. They even started pulling up pieces of driftwood to supplement their effort. … Georgian kids.
When finished it was a sad looking excuse for a net.
The next day when we came down to the beach, there was a regulation sized volleyball net assembled. The ‘poles’ were logs cut from trees in the woods. They were buried a meter into the sand. …Georgian men.
So now every day or every other day, we get a couple of games of volleyball going. Sometimes they are good games with all adults. Other times they are games with the kiddies. These tend to be just instructional games.
During one of these instructional games, I noticed a girl watching from the sidelines. I waved her over to come play with us. But she bashfully declined, but continued to watch us. After a few more serves, I waved her in again. This time she came. To make a long story short, she surprised me by asking, “Are you from England?” I didn’t expect her to speak English, and English so well at that. Come to find out, Anna, 15, was born in Georgia, but has lived in Scotland since she was 7. She also has that cool accent. She is visiting Georgia for summer holiday to stay with her father. After our brief conversation, I felt really happy. She was able to voice what I see on Georgians faces all the time, “What in the hell are you doing in Georgia?”
The following game was for adults. I was in disbelief with a 6’6” Georgian got up to play. I didn’t know they grew them that tall! We had a great game (and I had some great plays against the giant). Walking home, I tested his English skills. Lado is a former Basketball player. He played for Georgia and Moldova. His English was exceptionally well also!
When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I’ll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I’ll be there, yeah, yeah,
you’ve got a friend.
You’ve Got a Friend, James Taylor