"My soul is elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there." -- Rumi

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Week So Far...

On Monday, more shenanigans at Aragvi.  Ben's host dad Gia came along, which of course meant we couldn't just have a beer or two and something small...  Ah well, fun was had, Georgian style.
The Poti Gang!!
On Tuesday though, Ben and I went out for dinner with another volunteer, Todd.  Just us Americans this time, which meant there was no vodka.  We tried a new cafe downtown.  The food was decent but the menu was only in Georgian, and a complication with the Language Barrier meant I never actually got what I ordered.  Then when the bill came (always not itemized and only in Georgian), there was some confusion and subsequent discussion over the amount.  Awkward... and all that adds up to my probably not going back to that particular cafe.  Too bad, because Poti only has but a few of those to start with.

But the GOOD part of the night is that after dinner, Ben took us to this really wonderful little gem that he'd discovered.  This place is incredible.  Really nice, tastefully decorated, English menu.  Food and coffee and booze -- they had Teliani Cellars!!  I love Teliani Cellars, because that is the very same brand of Georgian wine that Whole Foods carries back home.  I am aware that this is a retarded reason to like something, particularly Georgian wine when I am in Georgia.  But I had been craving a taste of home, after all.  And in this place I got it.  An atmosphere that could have been Old Town, and Teliani's Tsinandali white wine, which is the very same wine I had five years ago, when I first bought a bottle of Georgian wine on a lark from Whole Foods.  Only difference is that this bottle cost 15 lari, which is about nine dollars.

And there is free wi-fi.  I think Ben just showed me the single coolest place that Poti has to offer.

We didn't get any food because we'd just been to the other place (I'd sampled the guys' stuff so wasn't hungry even though my kebab never arrived).  But I have high hopes.  It's just on the side of an unreasonable walk from my place, but a completely doable bike ride.  I have a feeling I'm going to be popping in and out a lot.

Wednesday was a very special day -- my host sister Nata's 15th birthday!  The family was throwing her a party which was a very big deal... they rented a reception room downtown to accomodate the 50+ people that were showing up.  After work, I left right from school to go with Nata and her friends to the hall so we could decorate.  A couple hours there, then home to change and to make punch.  About a week ago, I'd offhandedly remarked to Nata about how much I would like a cocktail.  I had to explain what a cocktail was, and she said she'd really like to have some of those for her party.  Well, as I'm sure you know by now, it's really freaking hard to make a cocktail in Georgia, let alone cocktails for 50 people. 

Over the next few days, the idea of cocktails for Nata's party kept coming up.  I kind of had a feeling that this wasn't going to work out with me holding a vodka cran with a twist (and ice that wouldn't make me hate life later), but now that it was out there I didn't know how to shut it down.  On request, I gave a list of (very basic) things we'd need to make cocktails, like vodka and juice.  The day of the party, I was presented with a giant jug of the family's home-made alcohol, and several other jugs of their various home-made juices.

So I attempted to make punch.  Only problem was that this alcohol was most definitely NOT vodka.  It was something else entirely that Bo and Luke would be proud to transport inside the noble General Lee.  And it had a presence that was pretty much impossible to disguise, even with multiple kinds of juice and even some pureed strawberries.  We hauled it off to the party anyway, where the teenagers (mostly) drank it, but I wasn't happy at all with my first offering of a "cocktail" to my Georgians.  Oh well.

But the good news is  that the party was hardly going to stand or fall on the success of my punch.  And it was a great time.  My host Mom and her volunteer army of assistant cooks put out an incredible, professional spread.  The kids all danced their butts off.  And I was very generously allowed to invite the Poti Gang, which meant I had people to talk to, and also people my own age!  Bonus.

Julie getting her groove on with some Georgian teens. :)

My host sister Anna getting her grove on, dancing on chairs with her friends to Queen's "We Will Rock You".
Today was Georgia's Independence Day.  I have a lot to tell you about that too, but I came down with some kind of sickness yesterday/today and feel like crap.  So it is off to bed with me, and hopefully tomorrow I can catch myself up!


  1. So I'm getting the impression there's either no drinking age in Georgia, or it's very low....

  2. There really isn't. But I guess because it's not some kind of exciting taboo, no one really misbehaved or got sloppy or unruly. (There was one small thing, but I'm pretty sure that had less to do with alcohol and more with being a kid.)