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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Packed and Ready to Go, Again

Title kind of says it all, really.  My two heavy-beyond-all-sense suitcases are once again bursting at their seams, my backpack is full of survival gear, and my laptop bag is only waiting for this very laptop.

I meet my host family in little over an hour and a half.

It is a five-hour drive from Tbilisi to Poti.  My family will either have a car, or have hired a taxi or a minibus, which are called marshrutkas here.  I really, really do not want it to be a marshrutka.  These things are ancient, smelly, rattlely, and terribly uncomfortable.  Okay for a ten minute ride through the city, but five hours?  Torture.  I will also probably end up with the carsickness experience of my life.  Not the best way to make a first impression.

Yesterday was the last day or Orientation.  One last awful tedious morning in the Airless Windowless Room, and then my friend Julie and I went out for lunch.  We found a lovely little shop where a sweet stereotypical old woman was baking bread.  We bought kachapuri, bread with cheese baked in the middle.  Then we walked to another shop and bought sodas and ice cream, and ate in a park surrounded by Georgians doing the same thing.  Then we walked back to the hotel, met up with the rest of the group, and Lika and our Program Director Tamara took us around the city for a "Cultural Scavenger Hunt."

We divided up into groups and had to successfully take a taxi (and negotiate the fare), read some Georgian, ask people where stuff was, ask what time it was, and cross Tbilisi city streets without dying, which is a skill that needs particular honing.  It was awesome to get out into the city like I'd been dying to do all week, talk with Georgians and actually get to practice what we've learned.  Plus we got to see more of Tbilisi.  I love this city and am incredibly sad to be leaving it so soon.  Can't wait to come back.  Plus, my team won the scavenger hut!  Go Team Pirdapir!  (Pirdapir means "straight ahead."  We got that answer a lot when asking for directions.)

Black Sabbath!


Winning Team!!!  #1!

And again.  We were very proud.
Post-win, everyone went to a Turkish cafe for snacks, pastries, and beer.  Back at the hotel, we had one last closeout meeting, then most of us went to the restaurant next door for dinner, dancing, and much merriment.  Much.  Tamara and Lika came as well which was supercool.  We ordered Georgian salads, which are cucumbers and tomatoes with some sort of yummy weird crushed nut sauce instead of dressing; cheese and bread, and lots of kinkhali, or dumplings.  Georgian kinkhali are just wonderful.  I could eat them every day, which is lucky because it is very probable that that is what I will be doing.

We danced our lil hearts out to traditional Georgian folk songs, Armenian Pop, Turkish something, Hava Nagila, and the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.  We made friends with a large group of very enthusiastic Georgian men.  "Ohh, you are from Washington!  I LOVE Washington!  George Washington my FRIEND!!!!!"  An older Georgian man approached our table with a 2-liter Fanta bottle.  He filled our glasses with a vaugely orange liquid that was most definitely not Fanta but homemade Georgian wine.  Then the group of younger Georgians corralled us into their alcove for shots of vodka.

Everyone was extremely nice but everything you hear about Georgians loving their drink and loving you to drink with them were all true last night.  When we finally left, the young Georgians literally followed us out to the parking lot with a vodka bottle for one more shot.  I abstained. :)

Kathrin, Julie, Tamara, Dani

Patrick with a Georgian girl.  Georgian girls love Patrick a LOT.

100% Awesome.

Me, Patrick, Lika

This was the third (and last) glass of wine I recieved.  I don't believe it would have been physically possible to put another drop of liquid into this glass.

So our last night was fairly epic to say the least.  This morning was packing, and I really need to be leaving to grab a kachapuri so there is something in my stomach before the long car ride.  Wish me luck everyone.  I'm going to need it.


  1. Yaaaaay! What a super fun day! Good luck with your new host family. They will love you :)