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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Am I really in Georgia?

It has been an interesting couple of days, and I have no idea what to think of them. Living in a fancy hotel and hardly interacting with non-English speakers makes me feel like I havent really started my experience yet. So far though, there are multiple positives such as being surrounded by 70 other volunteer teachers that are all interested in travel and service and the new, good food; however, there are some weird dudes here, and it turns out my bowels aren’t as strong as I thought they were. I find myself less social than usual because I am very different than a lot of the volunteers, but, perhaps, a bit of alone time and self-reflection isn’t all negative.
Our schedules are so busy that we are all going crazy and it has been difficult to do anything outside the schedule let alone keep up a blog. We have 4 hours of Georgian training each day, and then an additional four hours of culture or methodology training. Then we also have a couple other meetings that last a few hours, and we find ourselves with no free time at all. On top of it all we have a curfew of midnight, though my fidelity towards it has been lacking.
Georgia is beautiful, the language is intriguing, the women are attractive and the five star hotel we are staying in is… well five-star. I have two roommates, an English partier and the nicest Irish guy that has ever lived. We have gone out with each other every night save one, and I am hopeful about staying in touch with them over the next three months. What else… going out, yes. Most individuals are moderate in their drinking, and we have not had embarrassing drunkards make fools of themselves in the fancy hotel. I think the curfew contributes to that somewhat, but the average individual is pretty mature and, thus, isn’t too intent on getting wasted.
The trip here was nice, and I LOVED the Amsterdam airport. It is easily the nicest airport I have ever seen, and I won $25 at the casino, so I loved it extra. I could have done without my 7 hour lay-over in DC, but I could go for a couple days in Amsterdam just to explore. I might be able to break up my trip on the way back and stay somewhere in Europe for a few days if I wished it – something to consider anyways. The trip was made even nicer by having 20 other teachers to travel and converse with. Even though my travel time was something like 60 hours, I was still in good spirits.
I am kicking ass with the language, and I am confident in saying I am the best of all 70 volunteers with it. I think that knowing the language can only improve my teaching ability, though there are those here that would argue otherwise. A good number of people here have English teaching experience, so I guess I should give them due credit, but I refuse to believe that knowing the language doesn’t matter. After four days I can hold conversations, order drinks and explain my presence in Georgia, so I am happy with and excited about my progress.
I really don’t have too many stories so far because we have been cooped up in the hotel. The real Georgian experience hasn’t yet begun, and I know that I am excited for it to. I find out my host family and school placement today, so I am super excited about that. I requested to be at a school with a football pitch and I told them I wouldn’t mind having a large host family with numerous children, so we will see if either of those is met – I think there is a fair chance though.
We got our cell phones, so if you feel like calling me here is my number: +995 77 973 112. I welcome all calls, however I am 9 hours ahead of central time back home, so be aware. Also, it is probably expensive, so we will see who really loves me. I can also receive texts for free and send them for about 50 cents, so that might be preferable.
Overall, I am having a great time so far, but I am still waiting to really start my foreign experience. I am jealous of the many volunteers who have been all over the world, and I desperately want my own stories to counter theirs. I think I will rack up a couple good ones, and I am excited to share them with everyone back home. I will do my best to update the blog. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem once I am placed with my family and at the school, because I wont be so outrageously busy. I have heard however that I should expect large, lasting parties frequently; also, it is considered rude to spend time alone instead of with the family, so we will see how that goes. I have been told to expect no privacy as families here don’t like closed or locked doors, and I should expect my host mother to walk right in without forewarning. I am really excited to see if all these statements hold true.
It is going to be great!


  1. Sounds like you have been busy but in a constructive way. Still time to get out and relax a bit, that's a good thing. I'm sure those stories are lurking out there and will find you soon enough. Aj's team lost 1-0 but it was a good game...called due to darkness since the game started at 630. Zack is joining a knowledge bowl at the school which should prove interesting. Everyone is doing great and we all look forward to your next post. Gratz on your success with the language. Lots of love from home, dad.

  2. I am super jealous. That's awesome you're going to be in Tbilisi. You'll have to post some pictures when you get the chance.