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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Autumn in Poti

Winter weather has definitely set in here. My host family, like most Georgian families outside the big cities, have heat in the form of a woof stove in the kitchen. It's quite toasty and cozy and I actually find I like it quite a bit. However, it does absolutely nothing for the rest of the house. So I have been spending more time than usual hanging out in the kitchen, working on my TEFL or reading or eating, while doing my best to ignore the Georgian TV that is the kitchen's constant companion, blasting at its usual 4756 decibels. But other than that (I actually went to put in earplugs the other day so I could work), I find I am weathering my Georgian winter quite cheerfully so far. I enjoy spending time with the fam, and the recent lack of internet means I haven't had much need for privacy during the day. At night, I bundle up in layers and long underwear and this really excellent wool hat that my Mom bought me at Plow and Hearth before I left. I think I may be acclimating. :)

But anyway, here's what I've been up to.  Abridged.

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended a funeral recently, the grandmother of our neighbors and family friend passed away.  It was, naturally, very sad, and I did feel slightly awkward as a funeral is generally not the place for tourism.  But while I did not know the lady herself, I had spent time with her family, and I was touched that they wanted me there, or at least accepted me into their ranks with typical flawless Georgian hospitality.  After we walked to the gravesite, I attended the funeral supra.

Crummy photo of the funeral supra.  The Tamada is standing up and giving a toast on the far side of the room.
In addition to my four Georgian weddings, I recently I also got to attend a "Second-Day Wedding," which is, near as I can tell, exactly like the actual wedding except this party takes place the afternoon following, is casual, is only for 150 guests instead of 300, and you start doing chacha shots at 1:30.

Bonding with the host Dad.
An intimate party of friends. :)
Modestly-sized drinking horn.
About a month ago Poti got three new volunteers, which brings our expat tally up to nine.  They are all very cool people and have incorporated nicely into our little group of misfits.  I hope to have at least a few more chances to hang out and get to know them before I leave... in a month!  Time here flies by so fast.

Mustafa and Julie with new volunteers Pauli and Arham.
Back when it was still warm enough, I took what will likely be my last bike ride out to Maltakqva. The beach and park were so beautiful and peaceful. I will miss this part of the world.

A little over a week ago, my host family made churchkhela which are strings of hazelnuts dipped in pelamushi, or a kind of sweet wine pudding.

And of course the expat shenanigans continue unabated.  Back before Mustafa went back to Turkey (SAD!), we passed a very enjoyable afternoon at a restaurant called Old House.

Possibly one of the very best photos I have ever taken.
I have absolutely no idea what I was doing.

Georgian Wine Goggles
Back at his apartment, Mustafa had a slight problem with his laptop...

We used the keys as poker chips.  Waste not...
I miss Mustafa and his roommates a lot; they were good people and damn if Mehmet could not cook an amazing dinner.  I hope I will get to see them all again soon.

Mehmet, Murat, Oscan, Mustafa
Finally, I know I have not done a book review in ages.  I've been having trouble finding something new that I can sink my teeth into.  Right now I am about two-thirds of the way through Let the Right One In, which I like but do not strictly love so far.  I feel it's worth a review though one way or another, so stay tuned.

It's not reading, but I have been listening to a lot of This American Life, a radio show on NPR that I'm sure most of you have already heard of.  (Ever the late adopter.)  My Mom loves the progam, and back before I left the States, I downloaded a whole bunch onto my iTunes.  I am normally not a fan of talk radio, but these shows are all immensely entertaining and go a long way to curbing both homsickness and boredom on internet-less evenings.

I'm really looking forward to making the most of my last days here in Poti.  The middle of December is going to come so fast!

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