Work In Progress

One day, my director asked if I knew how to make a blog site. Sure.

He actually wanted a webpage for himself. And he was going to rip all the cool programs that the various teachers had done to put on it.

So I suggested that I set up a webpage for the entire school. That way he could have a page and all the teachers could have their own pages, too. I decided to use because it was free. If you know if a more versatile website creator that is free, please let me know.

The obvious problem is the main language to use. I am currently setting it up the director’s page in English, but will have another teacher make it bi-lingual. Then I am training another teacher on how to create pages and work the program.

Here is what I have so far. It’s still coming together. The director’s page pretty far along and my host mother’s page is almost complete. There is also a mini video on the renovation of the School in the ‘history of school’ tab.   Comments and suggestions are encouraged. Thanks!




Not Right Or Wrong, Just Different

After eating delicious crepes at my friend Mathilde’s house, I got onto her computer to find a song on Youtube. The keyboard was the same… but not. Some of the letters were in the wrong place. It freaked me out! At first I couldn’t figure out was wrong. Were my fingers in the wrong position?


Some countries in Europe (I need to research further) like France, uses a different type of keyboard!

I have read somewhere that the QWERTY keyboard (used in the States) is not the most user friendly of types, but habit has prevented us from changing to another. Kind of like the metric conversion fiasco.



I Said If
You’re Thinkin’ Of
Being My Brother
It Don’t Matter If You’re
Black Or White

Black or White, Michael Jackson

The Pancake’s Cool French Cousin… No, The Other One.

I love pancakes, but have always been fascinated with the concept of a crepe. ‘Kind of like a pancake’? ‘Super thin’? Interesting. And whenever I tried them at restaurants and such, they always come with cool, yummy toppings like chocolate or strawberries. I know that concept sometimes bleeds into the toppings for pancakes, but usually syrup goes with pancakes.

So when our EVS friend from France invited us over to make crepes, I knew this was going to be a great experience.




First stop, to the market for ingredients. Once we stumbled our way through finding flour, milk and such, Mathilde then announces that we will also be making caramel and chocolate for toppings!  My head almost exploded.


IMG_0042For those of you that know me, I LOVE to cook. but my strong suite has been in cooking category, not baking i.e., sweet things. But now I can say that I can rock a great homemade thin crepe AND made-from-scratch caramel.


Check and Check!


Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir
Voulez vous coucher avec moi
Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir
Voulez vous coucher avec moi

Lady Marmalade, Christina Aguilera

Mama Said Knock You Out!!!



My host mother’s name is Natia Lominadze and she is great!  She doesn’t have the same last name as her husband or son. I don’t know what that’s about. I found out when I was making her school website for her. I had already put Giorgi’s last name in as hers. When I asked her to tell me the name of her University, she corrected me.

Giorgi is their only son. And that plays out in odd ways, all of which are in line with her character. She also teaches 1st graders at my school.

I can’t decide if she is obsessive compulsive or just has tendencies of that type of personality.

She has a weekend routine of cleaning the house. And when I say clean the house, she cleans EVERY INCH of the house, every weekend of the year- summer, winter, rain or shine. She starts upstairs and dusts every inch of every piece of furniture (I have seen her do it). She vacuums every floor surface, carpeted or not. And then she mops the non-carpeted surfaces. She then comes downstairs and does the same. She washes every dish again, and cleans every item in the bathroom. In addition to cleaning, she does the major laundry during the weekends, too. Thank God she has a washing machine.

She prepares breakfast (tea, bread and jam) every morning and night. And prepares lunch as soon as she comes home from school at 3:00.

At 4, the first of three students come for her to tutor. So she tutors until 7 pm. After they are gone, she goes upstairs to ‘straighten up’ and change clothes. Then she prepares supper.  After supper she starts grading papers.


Natia is one of those ‘awesome’ teachers. As said before, she teaches 1st graders (there is no kindergarten). There are two 1st grade teachers, but the numbers are skewed. The other has maybe 18 students (they are my favorite class this year) and Natia’s class has 36. There were 34, but two new students came and the parents wanted them in Natia’s class. Although that speaks volumes about the quality teacher Natia is, it is an injustice to Natia. The kids are packed to the rafters in that room. When my co-teacher and I go in for English, it’s pretty much a zoo by the end. I am pretty good at classroom management, but there are only so many tricks in my bag and I can only keep the balls juggling in the air for so long. But as soon as Natia returns to the room- silence.  The other teacher has the parents hang around outside the class the whole day. Parental involvement could be good. But not for Natia. I asked her about it, and she said, [paraphrasing] “Heck no, I don’t want those parents hovering.”

After supper, she splits the rest of the evening either grading papers or watching Turkish soap opera television programs.

She used to go to bed after me, which is usually midnight. She would never sleep or lay down on the ‘couch’ in the living area in front of me. Sometimes I would go do something upstairs or go take a shower and when I reenter the living room, she would pop into an upright position as if she were never laying down. I felt so bad. The only time she remained laying down was when she was deliriously sick.

Either because of her personality or because Giorgi is an only child, she is constantly in his space. She begs him to eat, begs him to take a shower, begs him to bundle up before going outside, begs him to get off computer. IF he is out, she constantly calls him to ask where he is and when he is coming home. She is constantly looking to see what he is doing on computer. It’s literally suffocating. Giorgi’s response is always frustration, which manifests in yelling at her (which might also be because he is going deaf. He talks loudly normally).

Needless to say, she always seems tired. But she also seems as if she literally can not stop. I don’t understand it. I often feel bad for her. And it’s not the usual ‘pressured’ role of the female in Georgia. Gurami is a great husband. He is currently not working, so he tries to prepare breakfast or lunch meals when he can. He cleans up the kitchen, too. I have even seen him throw some clothes in the washing machine. But Natia still beats to an insane tempo for herself.

She is cute and funny and smart. She taught herself elementary English so she could communicate with me. (Giorgi makes fun of her mistakes, but I think she does just fine!)

I think part of her behavior has to do with the fact that she has a guest in her house. Although my last host family got over that REAL quick. But again, maybe that’s just who she is. I wish she would relax.


I’m gonna knock you out
Mama said knock you out

Momma Said Knock You Out, LL Cool J


I woke up in the predawn hours needing to use the bathroom. Slowly I became aware of a chorus of sounds outside. First were the baby or tiny birds. They chirped like they were fighting for food from their mother, or if they were simply tiny birds they were discussing the latest gossip of the night. When those sounds fell away, they were replaced by the crowing of roosters.

Listening to the roosters crowing gave me the same sensation as looking over a vast field at dusk and seeing the lights of fireflies flicker at intermittent distances of near and far.

The closest rooster to me sounded broken, however. Like an old car trying to start. I doubt he is ours. Quite possibly he belongs to the neighbor.



You Win Some, You Lose Some

I have been watching the Olympics forever. Summer, Winter, doesn’t matter. I LOVE the Olympics. I love the spirit of the games and the drive of the athletes. The highs and the lows. The passion and the competition. I love the theme music the NBC has for the introductions and breaks. I love the medals ceremonies. I love the travel of the torch. I love it all.

I remember great Olympic moments like they happened to me. Mary Lou Retton, the first Dream Team, Usian Bolt, Michael Phelps, Keri Strug (OH MY GOODNESS!), and on and on…

So when I first heard that the winter Olympics would be in Russia and literally 5 miles from Georgia, I was super excited. I even mentally made plans to try to go.

Well, going ended up being, let’s just say, financially untenable. But there’s always television, right!?! And with Georgia being right next door, I was sure the Olympic spirit will spill over to us.

For Opening Ceremonies, I luckily found myself in a restaurant that had a projection screen television. Didn’t help the meal and conversation, but perfect for the Opening Ceremonies. I was cheating by cutting an eye to the screen during lulls in the conversation, when I noticed a running banner on the bottom of the newscast saying ‘The Opening Ceremony is in Progress…’   Wait, that meant that we were missing the greatest event of this winter!!!

I asked the waitress if we could watch the Olympics and she said (swear to God)  “It’s on right now”, and pointed to the screen. I looked again at the screen to make sure I wasn’t going to say something stupid. I made sure that yes, the two people talking on the television were indeed news anchors and that they were indeed NOT at or covering or talking about the Opening Ceremonies.  I told her, “I don’t think so” and she again reaffirmed to me, Yes, yes. They are!”

And I always have to take a deep breath when I find myself in these situations. More often than not, even though you find a Georgian who knows English, they tend to have… holes in their comprehension. Maybe its just a ‘lost in translation’ moment that will always be there, but it always, always takes me by surprise.

I pointed to the television again and said, “No, No. Look. This. Is. Not. Olympics.” And now in hindsight, I should have been wary when I asked the first question of turning it to the Olympics, and she gave me a hesitant look of confusion. I mean, really, who doesn’t know the Olympics. I should been able to draw circles in the air and she understand.

She said that she would see what she could do, which ended up being nothing. The old server trick of “Oh I’m sorry sir, the fans can not be turned off” or “I’m sorry sir, we JUST ran out of breadsticks.”   …I digress.

We ended up NOT watching the Opening Ceremonies.

On the walk home we were passing a German Pub and out of the corner of my eye I saw fireworks. Olympic Fireworks!!!  They were so beautiful as I pressed my face up against the window like a kid looking at a coveted toy for Christmas. But alas they were over.

These days afterschool since the weather is unbearably cold to be outside, I mostly read and watch downloaded movies. Perfect time for watching a gluttonous amount of Olympics.  So Monday, I ran home, changed clothes and came downstairs to watch the first events. I didn’t even care that I was not going to be able to understand a single word of the announcers. The athletes and the competition speak for themselves! The television was on news. Okay.

Natia tutors in the common room for hours in the late afternoon, so I waited until after then to watch. That’s when the good events come on anyway. Still no Olympics.  Turkish Soap Operas.  What is going on I didn’t understand. Tuesday, same thing. Maybe they didn’t know- false.  They turned the station, I guess to see what else was on, and like magic, Downhill Skiing was on the clearest color channel they have!!!  Yes!!! I turned off my movie on the computer, turned my chair to the television to show I was REALLY into this. They turned it anyways.

I don’t understand.

The other day, I got to watch a little bit of the Mixed Pairs Ice Skating. It was beautiful.  After two routines, they turned it to another channel.

I don’t understand.  It’s the Olympics.

Oh well….  You win some, you lose some.