Not the most eloquent or profound beginning, but I still have some considerable jet lag after my ~24-hour door-to-door trip that began at 7:30 PM Friday night in DC, and ended at 4:30 Sunday morning, Tbilisi time.
I suppose I shouldn't say anything and jinx it, but so far in my life I have had nothing but good luck with international flights. The same held true here. The 9.5 hours from Dulles to Istanbul actually seemed to pass pretty quickly (I have no idea how), and a nap followed by a couple cocktails filled up the 7.5 hours in the Istanbul airport. I wish I'd had a day or three in Istanbul. From the plane window the city looked beautiful -- all red roofs and mosques with their spires and minarets.
Landed in Georgia at 2:00 in the morning. I met Dani on the plane, a wonderful girl from Londonwho is also teaching with my program. Together we navigated customs, and baggage claim, and emerged out to be greeted by several representatives from the company. Between that, meeting the rest of our incoming group, a couple local media interviews, currency exchange, a ride to the hotel, and checking in, it was after 4:30 AM when I finally opened the door to my very... basic... room. Also, I found out I have a roommate. Which is totally fine, but I was kind of expecting and looking forward to some privacy. Ah well. It's going to be a year of not having much control over my surroundings, so I better get the hell used to it.
Today my roommate and I slept late (natch!), and gradually met the rest of our arrival group over lunch. 11 people total, all pretty cool folks. This afternoon we took a walking tour around the city, despite the chill and pouring rain. Let's just say I love my North Face jacket a lot.
I love the rugged wildness of this city, and how the mountians seem to ride right up into town like a challenge. Beautiful. We also stopped into one of the Tbilisi bathouses. I really hope I'm able to check one of those out before we leave at the end of the week. Seems like it would be a lot of fun and a really unique experience.
So far, things have gone about how I'd expected, if I'd thought much about expecting anything. About half an hour now before our first formal Group Meeting (even though we've already met), so I'm going to snuggle down in this very narrow bed and try to drive some of the walking tour's chill out of my bones.
After dinner I'm going to try and entice the more adventurous of my group over to the local bar next door... :)