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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Thursday, June 18, 2009

First Impressions of Georgia

So the flights over were hell on Earth. Of course all trans-Atlantic flights are, but I can not and never have been able to sleep on airplanes. So, I bout some of those Tylenol PM Simply Sleep tablets for the flight over thinking that they would help me sleep. They did, for about an hour. The flight from Philly to Istanbul was marred by turbulence some of it bad some of it just normal. It’s not that that makes me nervous, it just prevents me from ever being relaxed. Then we had a four hour layover there in Turkey in which all 30 of us had to wait in two different security lines as they changed our departure gates THREE times. So, not only are we in a strange airport we are listening to the instructions in four different languages.

It was interesting being in such a large international airport outside of America. The least common language was English and the staff was less than helpful. The flight from Istanbul to Tbilisi was supposed to only last three hours. It took almost four since we were stuck on the runway for about half an hour after we left the gate about 20mins. late. I was sick on the flight to Tbilisi because I was just so tired at that point and getting nervy about getting to Georgia. Not vomitous sick but just sickly. Anyway, we did all get here and it was interesting. All of my bags made it, however there were three or four in our group who are still missing either one or all of their bags and are having to borrow clothes from people.

The U.S. Ambassador to Georgia was there to greet us along with the Education Minister of Georgia (he could have been the finance minister, I’m not too sure, I was really tired and kind of running on adrenaline at the time). But, they put us all in this little roped off area so that we could pose for both the TV and print media outlets of Georgia. I did have a moment of stardom when a little Georgian kind of about three or four years of age wandered into our area just being curious. He was standing between us and the cameras, so I just stepped out of our little group, reached out and shook his hand. I could hear the cameras clicking and am sure that I’ll end up on somebody’s front page somewhere.

My rock star status aside, they took us to this nice café straight from the airport and fed us a ton of food. I wish I had time to describe it all, but let me just say… it was awesome! (YFY for those of you that know what that means) The food here is so much better than Kazakhstan so far. I’ve had three FULL meals today and can’t get enough of this natural and very delicious food. After the café, we came to the hotel where we will be until Saturday afternoon when we go to meet our host families. After some hanging around, everybody went to sleep including myself. Oh, the bus ride from the café through the city and up a mountain to the hotel was very interesting. I sat in the very front seat because I wanted to get the best view. I can’t say that was the best idea. There are lines down the middle of the roads to mark the two sides, but I pretty sure that’s just a suggestion more than a rule. Wow. And if you ever find yourself in Tbilisi and wonder why all the curbs are busted, just know that they’re fair game for cars, busses and vans on the road. And if your on the side walk, you need to keep that in mind as well. I saw a lady literally have to stop in her tacks to avoid getting hit by our massive bus as it rounded a corner half on the road and half on the sidewalk. Interesting to say the least.

This morning we all got up for breakfast at 8am and training started at 9. We had our first language lesson in Georgian today and… well… that’s going to be interesting. A lot of hocking sounds and not a lot of structure that I can tell at this point. After that I had interviews with all the different program managers and got a shot for tetanus. Fun. That all wrapped up around 5:30pm and dinner was at 6. I’m not sure why they decided to feed us at 6pm like we’re all in our 80s and need to eat 3 hours before the sun goes down, but whatever. The food was awesome. And, the Georgians are into PORK! There are also a lot of salads like the Russians eat too. YUM!

So far everything is good. The weather seems nice, the people are nice, I’ve mentioned food twice already, so I’ll skip that. Can’t wait to see what my host family situation is going to be like on Saturday.

I guess that’s all that’s happened so far really. You all have my phone number, so if you want to call feel free. I should be done at about 7 or 8pm my time everyday. It costs a lot for me to call out so don’t expect too many calls from me just yet until I figure out how all this works on my end.

That’s it for now. Hope all is well there and I miss you guys. All is well with me and I hope that I can get this and future posts up for my outlet and your reading pleasure.


Christie said...

Sounds pretty awesome. Can't wait to hear about your host family/home. That's when things get "real" seems like. Werd.

MAC is wack said...

your pic made it on the us embassy georgian website. nice work, poser.