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

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gloves off

In my last post, once again I talked about everything that was good -- host family, location, meeting with friends in the city.  And everything I told you was 100% truth.

I just didn't tell you all of it.

But tonight, for reasons that I trust will soon be made quite clear, I am inspired towards honesty.  Truth without the rose-colored glass I so often write my posts behind, because this sucker is public and I am afraid of hurting someone's feelings.

But tonight, just once -- heck with that.

I am fighting it, but the truth of the matter is that so far my Tbilisi life has been quite frustrating and more than a little disappointing.  Being so far out on the city outskirts is a gigantic pain in the ass.  Among other things, it means I am very isolated in the evenings and I have not found any other expats nearby to play with.  After seven months with my very cool, always-up-for-an-adventure Poti crew, this shit is like a steady drip of cold water while standing naked in a Georgian winter.  I am BORED.

An exploratory long walk of my neighborhood was completely depressing.  There are two possible restaurants, and an additional restaurant that is probably a strip club or something else unsavory.  (Georgia has a lot of these.)  There are about 35 gas stations, a couple furniture stores, some autobody shops, and the usual array of seedy local markets run by grouchy bent babushkas who glare at you like an American flag is going to pop out and distract everyone while you steal something.  In short, there is precious little to do within walking distance.  And even though I have yet to try either of the restaurants, exactly how much do I want to fork over my lari to sit in a drafty cafe and eat Georgian food (salty and bland, hooray!)  by myself?

A huge source of frustration has been regarding my attempts to (re)connect with the other expats here.  Messages have gone unanswered, promises to call have yet to be fulfilled.  I have no idea what the heck is going on, but so far I have felt very alone here.  It was quite excellent to see Suzanne and meet some new people on Friday.  But (and maybe this is just my social anxiety acting up), I don't know that I really gelled with most of the people there.  And I am really kind of over begging people to come and hang out with me.

Today, I got up (and put on earrings, even!) and marshutkaed into downtown Tbilisi because my friend Levan (from the 11-hour Kobuleti bar extravaganza) was playing at the Tbilisi Marriott for Sunday brunch.  But Levan completely failed to mention that this event was not something where it was cool to just roll up by yourself.  There were nothing but big tables for large groups, and even if there had been a bar or a convenient two-top in the corner, it wouldn't have mattered because you needed a reservation.  It would have been really, really cool to have known this in advance.  I got to say Hi to Levan between songs and walk right back out of there again.  Fucking super.  I sent Levan a text to call me when he was done and we'd meet for a drink.  Radio silence.  Whatevs.

And now, for the grand finale of my bitching -- the host family.  I wrote that they were wonderful, and they were.  I hope they will be wonderful again.  But for the past several days, they have been dealing (badly) with some family issues (I think).  There was a very big and terrible blow-up Thursday night that had the family at each others' throats until almost 3:00 in the morning.  It was not pleasant to witness, even from behind a closed door.

And since then, there has been a whole lot of screaming and yelling and the occasional meltdown.  Earlier this evening my host Mom screamed into the phone for half an hour, and is currently at it again with a family member or two.  This whole deal is -- to say the least -- extremely uncomfortable here recently, and I have been doing a lot of hiding in my room.  Last night for dinner I had Doritos.

Hiding in my room (natch) sucks a lot.  It sucks because I am fucking bored (see above), because I sit and listen to whatever awfulness is happening in the kitchen and wonder what in the HELL could be going on, and also because the only heat in the apartment is generated from a gas heater in the kitchen next door.  When my door is closed, it gets very chilly in here.  And -- much like my last host family, and one of the reasons I decided to leave -- they have refused to supply me with a heater that they are contractually obligated to provide.

I don't know exactly what to do about all this.  If the fighting and screaming and uncomfortableness continues then of course I will not be able to stay here.  But I have emailed my Program about this issue and have yet to receive a response.  Just one more frustration in a whole sea of them these days.

For now I think I will visit one of the local shops and purchase another dinner bag of Doritos.  And maybe some vodka.

Tomorrow I teach for the first time in my new school.


  1. How long has it been since you've emailed? Can you call?

    I hope the class is good at least.

  2. I did call tonight about 8PM after a particularly vicious bout of screaming. They are supposed to talk to the family tomorrow, so we will see what tomorrow brings.