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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Another long hiatus.  I am not to blame this time however -- my family's internet has been down for almost two weeks, and I have decided I really dislike Four Side, the internet cafe where I usually go to post when such things happen.  But hopefully the Series of Tubes will stay clear of gambling chips and Ted Stevens long enough for me to get a little caught up.

First off... I had a birthday.  I generally am not the hugest fan of birthdays, mine in particular.  But this year I realized I actually could check off a goal or two in my life's bucket list so felt less awkward than usual about getting a year older.  And my birthday weekend was spectacular.

First of all, I need to give some very heartfelt thanks to my parents and my friend Matt, who managed to send me birthday cards from across the world.  And also to our wonderful family friends, Colleen and Allen, who also sent a card (with a generous present tucked inside!).  You cannot imagine the warm fuzzies you get when you've been electronically cut off from your friends and loved ones and suddenly here comes mail for you, in a town that doesn't even have mailboxes!  Please believe me when I say that each of you made my day.

This past Saturday, Mark, Julie and I marshutkaed into Zugdidi to go to Amerikidan, the American bar and grill we'd stopped into on our way to Svaneti.  The weather was utterly horrible -- rain and freezing rain and all around gray November chill.  But we bundled up and had an exceptionally fun afternoon.  James from our intake group joined us, as did several volunteers from the Zugdidi area.  Two of them, Blessing and Elaine, brought me a cake, complete with candle!!  I was so touched -- I definitely had not expected a cake, and the one they brought was delicious.

Awesome cake!
Expat crew minus James, who had taken off at that point.
 We all sat around and passed a very pleasant several hours, gorging on American-style pizza and cake, sipping cocktails and beer, until sadly the three Potiers had to take our leave to catch the last marshutka.  Which... we missed.  Oops.  But luck was still with us, and we were able to negotiate a very reasonable taxi fare back to Poti.  Heat and comfortable seats and a driver who will stop if I need to pee?  SO worth the 11 extra lari.  Back in Poti, the three of us hung out at Julie's for a bit, sipping on birthday mimosas and cognac (not at the same time.)

On Sunday, my actual birthday, I gave myself the present of sleeping until 1:30.  Puttered around not doing much in an internet-less world, then at 5:30 headed over with the family to their restaurant, where they were hosting a pizza party for me! :)  So awesome.  I invited all of the Poti expats, and everyone actually showed up which made me really happy.  So, more pizza and wine and a beautiful cake that my host Mom made.  Love!

... But, then I woke up on Monday with a truly terrible case of the flu, or something.  I will, of course, spare you the details, but I spent a really uncomfortable ten or so hours and twice had to talk my host family out of taking me to the hospital.  My family, particularly my host Mom, were truly fabulous to me on this day, offering medicine and comfort.  My host sister Nata even went to the store for me when I ran out of water.  Finally at around 7 PM, some sweet chalky mixture they gave me seemed to help, and that combined with the Borjomi mineral water I requested calmed my stomach so I stopped puking.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I did not go to school yesterday or today.  No emergency bathroom runs today though, so hopefully the worst is fully behind me.

All in all, I had a simply fantastic birthday weekend.  Thanks to every one of you, near and far, who helped to make it special.  Much love.

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