I had a fantastic weekend! I had dinner on Friday with my friend James’ host family which was amazing. His family is definitely in the upper economic echelon, so there was a myriad of delicious treats including a roasted pig’s head (I ate an ear which was not quite as delicious as Cuy [guinea pig] but still good). Their family also makes their own wine which was absolutely delicious, and I am sure we toasted through 5-6 glasses a piece. I put on the most presentable version of myself in hopes I would be invited back soon and often. We will see if that happens.
After dinner, we went out to downtown Tbilisi to meet up with other teachers and hang out. It is tough to find a good spot because there is usually like 20 of us in a party. We eventually met up with some people, but it was actually an embarrassing crowd. A couple of the teachers were already wasted drunk (throwing up on the bathroom door, hallway, everywhere) and completely obnoxious when we arrived, so it wasn’t long before we decided to get them home and go somewhere with a small group. So, Americans are now banned at this fine establishment – I am sure such idiotic displays really encourage Georgians that their tax dollars are being spent well in bringing us here. Though this was negative, we eventually settled down at a bar not too far away, though I had to ask a sketchy local dude where we could go because everything was closed. He led us to the bar, though I was a little worried it would be a sex-slave operation; however, all was well and I bought him a beer for his kind efforts. Some local men were making suphra, so we shared in their good time and had a couple glasses of beer. The funniest part of the night was when we came home (Jason needed a place to crash) and we were changing to go to bed and my host mom awkwardly walks in unannounced. It was definitely really gay, but whatever.
Jason got up early to go to Kakheti with all the other teachers, but I had special plans of my own. I met up with my 10th graders to have a day-long excursion. We went to Sameba, the biggest, most beautiful church I have ever seen, and they bought me a couple gifts (a bottle of wine I will bring back home to open and a decorative plate). It was sobering to see such playful students become so serious about the church and kiss its walls and pictures. I somehow feel like religion is too taboo or something to see youth do likewise in the States. Anyways, this place was absolutely beautiful, and I will steal pictures from my students’ facebook to show everyone. Next, we went to the U-17 soccer game versus Sweden which Georgia won in extra time. My students gave me a Georgian flag, and I am super pumped about displaying that wherever I live next.
Altogether there was like 20 of us, so it was a pretty good-sized and rowdy group. One girl spoke pretty good English, so she did most of the translation/guide work, and I am really glad I had her. I found out she read my blog in preparation for the day, so she would have talking points and find out what I liked and didnt like. I dont know how I feel about this to be honest, but it is what it is. I guess that helps explain the 50+ views I have from Georgians. The best part of the night was still yet to come!
We went to a restaurant, packed 15 of us around a single table and ordered a bunch of food and wine. Now, I know the readers back home must be thinking “I can’t believe he would drink wine with his 15-year-old students,” but please understand that the trip was actually planned by one of my Georgian co-teachers and nothing about the trip was morally reprehensible by Georgian standards. This being said, it was still really weird to watch 10th graders get drunk together (apparently they do this every weekend). So, we ate, we drank, we danced, we toasted and it was great fun. All the boys told me I am their big brother and they love me, and I really appreciated their sentiments and compliments in very broken English. It was a great feeling to be the honored guest and center of attention, and it was definitely one of the most fun times I have ever had.
The whole crew wanted to go to some amusement park thing at the top of the local mountain, but we ended up calling it off and sending everyone home because I thought it was best to get them home. I was going to stay downtown and meet up with friends, but I didnt feel like joining a drunken American mess like I had the night before, so I just went home. I had spent a lot of time away from my family anyways, so I wanted to hang out with them and see what they were doing. It was a really good thing that I went home too; because I got a phone call requesting my services as a private English tutor, and you will never guess who it was! The Turkish Ambassador to Georgia wants me to tutor his 12 and 7 year olds! I am really excited about the opportunity, but I am equally nervous because this is a pretty serious situation, and I know the dude expects high quality performance. I am excited to update everyone on that situation!
Sorry this has been a long entry, but my last thing of interest was that I met some missionaries from Canada Sunday morning. They are actually Seventh Day Adventists which is interesting because that happens to be what most of my family is and how my parents were raised. They invited me to play ping pong with them later Sunday night, so I gladly took them up on it. Everyone was super nice, and I hope to spend more time at the church and maybe even do some hiking/travelling with them. Going out with the other teachers is fun and all, but I really want to do some hiking, exploring and travelling, so I think this might be a good opportunity for that. We will see!
Phew... well it was a great weekend. I hope to have some more like it, and I will promptly update everyone when I do.