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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th of July

Pretty damn great, actually.

First though -- health.  I have bronchitis.  It could be worse.  I went in yesterday afternoon; the doctor was extremely nice and friendly and even spoke a little English.  She listened to my chest and pronounced it bronchitis, but wanted me to come back today for bloodwork and a chest x-ray.  When I arrived today at 10:30, she was waiting for me.  How many doctors can you name back in the States that will make TWO appointments on time, back-to-back, no waiting?  Yeah, I drew a blank too.

The lab work itself was a little draconian... used to the supercareful levels of sanitation and sterility in the States, it was a little surprising when the bloodwork lady pricked my finger without even bothering to put gloves on.  The x-ray room was equally spartan... the best part was when I was asked to take my shirt off and there was a little boy still in the room, plus the door was still open to the hallway.  I asked that both these things be corrected, and they were.

But all in all, I was extremely pleased with my experience.  I left with prescriptions for three different meds, which were filled at the local Apotheka for just under 30 lari, or about $20.  I really don't know of any insurance in the States where two visists, an x-ray, bloodwork, and three prescriptions all come to a grand total of $20 out-of-pocket.  Pretty grand.

But now the fun stuff!

Despite the odds, our little group of Poti expats (and some Georgian co-conspirators) managed to pull together a pretty fucking fabulous 4th.  Pierre knew a Georgian friend who actually had a grill, Mark found hamburger meat AND fireworks, he and Julie made potato salad, and I brought a watermelon, cheddar cheese slices and condiments.  Pierre also brought hot dogs and pretzels, and we all gathered in Lavani's backyard for a very American cookout.

Amazing spread!
THAT is my very own cheeseburger, with some of Julie and Mark's very excellent potato salad to the side.

Yesterday was one of those times when the best of Georgian hospitality just shines through.  These guys were 100% great.  Besides just letting us us their yard and grill, everyone was incredibly friendly and generous.  There were plenty of toasts celebrating America, and Georgia, and friendship.  I had a wonderful time from start to finish.

One of many Georgian toasts, well into the evening.
Mark brought his mandolin, so I got to do one of my favorite things ever -- drink just enough to forget that I can't sing and then belt out some classic rock!  (This is usually reserved for Rockband.)  But Mark and I sang "Hotel California" to a round of applause from the Georgians -- that was pretty cool. :)  Three of the Georgian guys were actually pretty accomplished singers; they did a few traditional songs in that always-awesome polyphonic singing that I love.  Not to be outdone, Julie, Mark, and I sang "The Star-Spangled Banner."  Thank you, countless hockey games, for ensuring that I knew all the words to my country's anthem.

Because hamburgers, potato salad, and songs by mandolin were clearly not awesome enough, Mark also came up with two Roman Candles.  Here's the best shot from the first one we set off.  I don't have any pictures of the second one, because I was holding it. :)

Later, we turned the porch into a dance party.  I think Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" was the most popular, although it might have been "Bad."  Gotta love classic Michael.

Later, Mark and I sang REM's "Losing My Religion," which I have always wanted to sing along to a mandolin.  We did some Fleetwood Mac and tried for "Seven Bridges Road," but sadly our harmonizing skills are not up to the Eagles' standard.

I taxied home and got to chat with my family over skype.  FANTASTIC 4th.  I hope yours was every bit as wonderful.

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