I moved in with my host family two days ago, and everything has been going really well so far. It’s funny, I had been totally preparing myself to be placed way out in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no modern amenities and I ended up in a large house that not only has an indoor toilet and hot water but also has wi-fi and a playstation. I am located less than 15 miles outside of Tbilisi in a small village named Vaziani. Despite being close to the capital it is pretty rural here. My host family has apple trees, peach trees, grape trees (vines? I don’t know), a large garden, two cows, chickens and a big guard dog named Simba, that I haven’t fully won over yet.
There are six people living in the house, a mother, father, two sons in their twenties, a thirteen year old daughter as well as the wife of one of the sons. In Georgia it is expected that families live together. When a son marries, his wife moves in with his family, and I think that they only move out when they have kids of their own, but that may not even be the case. All the generations spend a lot of their free time together, right now five of us are watching Georgian Idol in the living room. Everyone has been very nice and accommodating, when I arrived at the house around two in the afternoon on Friday the family had a bunch of really good food prepared. Me and the host father took a bunch of shots of vodka together and he made a number of toasts about America, Georgia and friendship.
The family members speak a very limited amount of English, so communication has been pretty difficult, but we have managed. On the upside I feel like I will learn more Georgian than I would otherwise. In the last two days I have only spent about thirty minutes speaking in English, but hey, it’s all part of the experience. It is nice that I am so close to the capital and will be able to take a short marshutka ride (it’s like a mini-bus) in to the city on the weekends where there are a lot of other English-speaking volunteers. Tomorrow I start my first day of teaching. Since I haven’t been able to talk to anyone I really don’t know what to expect. I hope I don’t just get tossed in front of a class of forty students with out any preparation, but I feel like that may just be the case, haha. The school is about a three minute walk from the house and was built within the last year, which is awesome. I walked around the village for a while today, and will post those pictures below, along with a few more from the training.