Wow, I can’t believe I have been in Georgia for two and a half weeks already. I feel like I am starting to get in to a groove here. The host-family aspect has really been great. They have definitely made me feel welcome, and the level of hospitality has been crazy, it is a big part of the Georgian culture, but the extent that my host family goes to make me feel welcome almost makes me feel bad. If I even try to put my dishes in the sink they tell me not to. It took me a little bit to realize it but I would say that 95% of the food that we eat is made from scratch on the farm. They make cheese, yogurt, all different types of potato dishes, jellies and a ton of other stuff all on site. Cheese, potatoes, bread and fruit are the main staples here. We probably have only eat meat about once or twice a week, and that is mostly chicken (straight from the back yard).
The teaching has been going well, I feel like it is a little bit up and down. It has only been a week so I think that it will even out. It can be a little difficult to figure out exactly what exactly is expected of me. For the most part the kids are good, and the older kids are definitely enthusiastic about learning English, which I wasn’t totally expecting. I will post some pictures of my classes at some point. I brought a football with me and I was throwing it around with a group of about thirty students after school today, they were pretty psyched, but I had to keep explaining to them that it wasn’t a rugby ball, good times though. I think tomorrow I will bring the baseball gloves/ball to school, which should be a big hit.
This last weekend was a three day weekend (Friday was a Georgian religious holiday), so I went to Batumi, Georgia’s third largest city which is located on the coast of the Black Sea and met up with some other volunteers from TLG. Downtown Batumi is a touristy coastal city, it definitely feels like it is a work in progress, and has the feeling of a miniature Las Vegas. There are a good amount of high-end shops, hotels and casinos, but if you go a few blocks out of the main areas the cities are just as crazy, hectic and exhaust-filled as any other street in Georgia. We mostly checked out the night-life and walked around the boardwalk, there didn’t seem to be a whole lot more to do in Batumi, but don’t quote me on that. Hopefully in the next couple weekends I will be able to head up to the mountains , they are supposed to be incredible, and it would be nice to spend some more time in nature. Plus the weather is nice now but it is definitely going to start getting a little nippy here soon.
On a side note: this experience has been really good so far but it hasn’t been perfect, there have been some stresses and some things that have been really frustrating. I plan on focusing on the positive on this blog, the point of this is to give my friends and family a window in to this experience, not to be a journalist who is critiquing the TLG program and Georgian culture. I am living in a small community, everyone doesn’t have the internet but I bet most people at least have occasional access to it, and the last thing I want to do is be disrespectful to people who have really welcomed me in and shown me incredible hospitality. I have been planning on keeping these posts short, but hey I guess I have a lot to share these days, which definitely wasn’t the case when I was working in the same cubicle every day 🙂 Anyway here are some pictures. I stole some from some other volunteers facebook pages, because I am not the best at remembering to take pics.