This Tuesday was probably one of my very favorite days since coming to this wonderful crazy country. And that's saying something. (Apologies in advance -- my camera was still dead from Anaklia and I hadn't bothered to charge it. Silly me!)
So after work, I arrived back home about 2:00 -- another very long and taxing day. :) My host grandma fixed a fantastic lunch, which of course I ate. But I tried to leave room (ha!), because at 4:00 I had been invited to the home of one of my students, Mari. On the way over I ran into Nino, who turned out to be Mari's best friend and who was also on her way to Mari's house to hang out with me and her family. Pretty nice timing, as she was able to show me the way!
Mari and her family were nothing short of wonderful. Everyone was so warm and welcoming that it put me at ease right away. There was food, of course, and wine. And cold coffee! Practically iced coffee except of course there were no ice cubes. Mari sung and played the piano for me. Girl writes her own songs, and she is amazing. I was honestly floored. Someone who can actually do something about it needs to hear this young lady, because her songs were really something.
And then they invited me to Nino's uncle's wedding, which was taking place that evening.
Apparently it is so not a problem to crash a Georgian wedding, even if you don't know the bride and groom from Adam and Eve. They were so enthusiastic in insisting that I come, I couldn't have said no if I wanted to. But I absolutely wanted to see it. :) They drove me home so I could change, then picked me up again and we all rode to the reception hall.
Georgian weddings are BIG. Huge. This one was set for 350 people, which I'm told is pretty much average. And the food! So much food it made every previous supra seem small by comparison. But I'd already eaten twice, plus a quick khachapuri between classes in the morning! I could barely touch anything, which bummed me out. I'd been able to plan for Mari's house, but throwing a wedding into the mix was definitely not something I'd counted on.
We were all waiting for the couple to make their grand entrance, and they seemed to be delayed. No one knew why, but I looked outside and saw positively the hardest rainstorm I'd ever seen since coming to Georgia. Buckets. Buckets the size of stadiums. We found out the bride and groom were in the car just outside, trying to wait it out. No luck. This rain was here to stay. Eventually they made a break for it, and arrived damp but none the worse for wear.
I drank out of a crystal drinking horn, and recieved a round of applause when I was able to empty it. :) I danced and Gaumarjosed and danced and watched the rain sheet down when I needed to catch a breath of air outside.
We left around midnight, early for a Georgian wedding, but it was a school night for Mari, Nino, and me. Mari's father drove me home. Through a series of positive lakes! In the hours that we had been making merry, the continuing deluge had flooded Poti's very rudimentary sewer system. The roads were decidedly underwater in places, often a foot high or more. I waded through 5-inch-deep water in front of my house to get in the door, and was greeted by my host sisters and grandma, who apparently had been fighting valiantly for hours to keep as much of that water outside as possible. So of course I changed as quickly as I could and helped them.
Without a doubt, definitely the most Georgian day I have had, thus far. I loved it. Even the minor flood bit at the end, which could have been awful but this morning it looked like no real damage had been caused, so that was lucky and allowed me to chalk it up to just one more experience for the memoir!
To top everything off? Today, my host family invited me to another wedding. Tomorrow night. And this time -- there will be pictures!