Friday, December 17, 2010
Plans for the suphra were still up in the air, so while Co-teach and I hung around waiting to find out if we were having a party in the school or going out, I wrote something. Since we were waiting in our classroom, all of the kids came to find me as their classes ended. It was weird. They all wanted my picture and autograph. I honestly don’t know how many photos I was in. Several of the girls were crying and that was enough to make me want to cry too. I honestly thought that the kids didn’t really like me (for the first 3 weeks they all told the other teachers that I was very strict), but I guess I was wrong. I told them that I would get an e-mail address where they could contact me and give Co-teach the info for them.
Finally, the suphra happened, at school, which was fine by me. There was atchma, a dish with layers of cheese and pastry, kinda like lasagna, but with no sauce (and Georgian cheese). The teachers also brought the most amazing cake I have ever seen. It was so spectacular that I took a bunch of pictures. And it tasted as good as it looked. The decorations were chocolate and marzipan and the filling had chunks of marzipan, too. We all chatted and toasted with a really nice, sweet champagne. I commented on how much I liked it and Co-teach laughed because they’d bought a bottle for me as a gift. There was also a book all about Georgia, in Georgian. Co-teach had asked them to keep things small, so that I could pack them. The whole thing was really sweet and I’m going to miss everyone.
When the suphra ended, an hour and a half later, I went to get my things out of our classroom to find that one of my students had graffitied the wall outside the room with a message of love for me. Then I left the school to find six of my gr 9's waiting outside. They took a bunch of pictures for us and left when I did. Then they walked home with me. Kinda. They sort of surrounded me while we all walked in the same direction, but didn’t talk to me.
I was later getting home than normal, which made the evening fly by. Between the internet and reading and then helping HB1 with his homework, it was bedtime before I knew it.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
At home, I did a little reading, marked some workbooks and helped HB1 with his English homework. While I was eating, HB3 came in to eat with me. HM reminded him that I was leaving soon, and he said "Don’t go," in Georgian. It was cute. I love that kid.
It’s hard to believe that I only have 2 more days in this house, and then I’ll be on my way to T’bilisi and then home. It’s crazy and I’m getting anxious, because travel in Georgia never goes as expected. But the teachers at my school have decided that we’re going out for dinner tomorrow, since it’s my last day teaching. They were trying to make it a surprise, but Co-teach didn’t want me to make other plans, so she told me. She really didn’t have to worry. All the people I would have plans with are home by now.
I spent the afternoon in isolation with the internet. I charged my kobo and my mp3, since I never know when I’m going to be without power. Mostly I killed time on my computer until Mum called. I’d had Daddy leave her birthday present for her, so we chatted about it. We covered a bunch of other topics too. When the call dropped, I went back to my Spider solitare game. HM stopped in to ask if I was hungry (I wasn’t) and I gave her my Skype info.
A little bit later, HM came in with HB1 and HB2, carrying the internet and their laptop. She wanted me to check my Skype to make sure it was me. After some confusion, I remembered, that the texting feature only works when both people are online. With HB1’s help I explained that, and then confirmed that it was really me she’d added. While we were looking, HB3 started calling for her. It was the Georgian version of "Mom, c’mere!" "No, you come here." "No, You come here." It was hilarious.
HB3 made his way upstairs and joined us in my room. Then, HM asked me to upload my music onto her computer. When she told me that she wanted all of the songs, I had to do some quick thinking, because not all of my music is child- (or mom-) friendly. Luckily, because I was using my mp3 player, there were a lot of files that weren’t music, so I removed those and sneakily got rid of some other tracks, like Closer by Nine Inch Nails.
After the music, she asked me to share any photos I had of the family. This I agreed to with no trepidation. And used the opportunity to give her and the boys the framed photos I’d put together. They examined them while I copied my photos onto a flash drive for her. HM actually got quite emotional after looking at the pictures. It was really sweet. While I was copying the photos, HB1 started playing some of my music. When it was done, I gave HM her flash drive, and she and the boys left, HB1 carrying the laptop that was still playing music. The whole situation was adorable. These are the family kind of moments that I’m going to miss when I leave.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Hung out with Sailor for the last time today. Tomorrow, she catches the train into T’bilisi and then Monday she flies out. I slept in later than intended and only had a half hour to get ready before I needed to go out to try and catch the bus. One went by while I was getting ready, so when I was ready to go, I started walking. Partway down the mountain, another bus came by and I caught it.
I met Sailor in Batumi. She’s still not feeling well, but she’d arranged to meet someone else to say goodbye, so she was there. She also brought her computer, so that I could chack my e-mail. We all had drinks and I had cake and we had a good visit. Eventually, we all left to run errands. I actually didn’t have any, so I tagged along with Sailor while she did hers and then we caught a marshrutka home together. While in Batumi, Kiwi called about my plans for getting to T’bilisi. Since TLG fell through on that, too (big surprise) I arranged to go on the train and stay in a hostel with her and Mom
Since it was only 1pm when I got back to Kobuleti, and there was lots of light, I decided to walk back home. Knowing that there was probably no power at the house, and that I had no plans for the rest of the day, was an influence. I only got a little way up the road, before the host family drove by on their way home. Obviously, they stopped and picked me up.
The power was out, as expected, so I spent a couple of hours hanging out on the balcony with my sudoku book. The cat came up to join me, and he blissed out in my lap for a while. When it got too windy to sit outside, I came in. The light wasn’t good enough to read or puzzle, so I was at loose ends. I started tidying and putting things away, but I realized that it was pointless to put clothes in drawers when I’m leaving so soon. So I started packing!!! I pulled out the clothes that I’d need for the next week and everything else went into the suitcases. My room doesn’t look any emptier, but now only 1 dresser drawer, and 1 night-table drawer have anything in them.
I made one brief foray downstairs, but the children had instruments and were trying to sing/ play Jingle Bells. It was cute, but no good for my headache. I spent the rest of the afternoon talking on the phone, and reading. I lost track of time until HM called me down for tea at 8:30. I had a bite to eat and then came back upstairs to watch tv and finish my book.
1. This dream was Tuesday night after the fiasco with ITA Georgia, the company responsible for booking my plane ticket.
I dreamt that I had gone to the Flight Reservation place in person. It started out just as frustrating as in real life, except that the guy working was American. So he let me see my ticket for myself and then stood up for me when his boss tried to get him in trouble for it. The boss went away and the guy went back to answering my questions, except that I woke up just as I was asking the one question that I really wanted answered. For a split second I felt really good, until I realized that I’m still in Georgia, nothing had actually been resolved and the people at the reservation place are still Georgian. Then it was back to feeling like crap.
2. There’s no set-up for this one from Wednesday night, except I really want out of this country:
I was trying to come back to Georgia and couldn’t find my passport. I knew I’d used it to close my Liberty Bank account (in Canada) but didn’t know where it had gone. I was retracing my steps and asking my friends (other tlg volunteers) to wait for me to find it before checking in themselves. I was very stressed out in my dream, but when I woke up I was like, why would I be going back? Silly brain. And felt relieved that once I get home I don’t have to come back here.
3. Thursday’s dream made me think "WTF? I’m not even on drugs. But this dream made me wonder if I should be."
In this dream I got a baby (one minute I was not pregnant and the next I had a baby and she was mine). When I showed her to the daddy, he was like, "Wanna get married?" and I said, "Sure". Then I left the baby with him and he put her on a shelf and left her there. When I came back she was a boston cream donut, which I was in the process of eating when he came back. He asked where the baby was, I looked at the half of donut that was left and said, "I couldn’t help myself, she was Boston cream." Then we snuggled on the couch to watch a reality show called, "You, Me and the Baby Makes Three" about pregnant woman and her husband and daughter (I know the math doesn’t add up).
Yesterday after school I went into Batumi for the final beanboat dinner. Boston, Joker, Lush and Gent took the train to T’bilisi today and they fly out on Monday. Sailor also goes on Monday, but she’s just going to go right to the airport Sunday night.
I missed my bus down the mountain, so I started out walking. Partway down, I got picked up by a friend of HD’s. He works in Batumi, so he drove me all the way in. Batumi is a construction-zone-wasteland. I mean, it has been for a while, but now the construction has moved to the streets I actually frequent. And they don’t block anything off, either, so it’s entirely possible to walk straight into a giant hole in the ground. Pre-dinner I went to the library to internet and meet Sailor. There were a couple of incidences of Georgian-ness that I happened to overhear, but was in no way a part of. They’re really funny, when they’re not happening to me.
First, a friend of mine wanted to print something, so he asked the girl to set it up. She asked how many copies (1) and how many pages of the document he wanted (all of them). Then she pointed out where she’d written the instructions (half English/ half Russian), then she tried to print without turning on the printer. Next, Lush wanted to return some books, but she didn’t actually have a library card. She told the girl this and gave her her id to copy. The girl says, "Fine, but I need your number, to find the cards for the books." Lush tells her again, that she doesn’t have a number and the girl tells her to look at her card (which she doesn’t have, because she NEVER got one). This goes on for a good 2 or 3 minutes before Sailor yells across the library in Georgian, "She doesn’t have a number because she doesn’t have a card!" Hilarious.
Dinner was good. There were 7 of us total, so the anecdotes were flying fast, and no one actually completed one. We got side-tracked frequently. We all headed over to Goodwill after to stock up on various items. Just as we finished up, the power went out. We stood around outside to say good-bye to each other. I’m sad that we’re not all going together, but I know that if anyone needed to get out early it was Boston and Joker. Sailor and I marshrutka’d home together and made plans for tonight.
HB1 had more English homework, so we worked on that. We didn’t get finished until 11:45, though, because he was busy doing all of his other homework and didn’t even get to English until after 10. The kid is 9 or 10 years old. There’s no way he should have 5 hours of homework a night. I did get to see the Simpsons on Turkish tv (subtitled) so that was awsome.
Sailor was supposed to come play this afternoon, but she wasn’t feeling well. I spent many hours alone in my room with my sudoku book. Thank goodness I have it because (I can’t believe I’m going to write this) I’m getting sick of reading. It feels like I’ve re-read the books that I like millions of times and I’m glad I have something new to do.
I ate with the family and watched the kids run around like crazy people. It was entertaining. Then I had tea with HM. We saw on the news that while digging the foundation of a new hotel in Kobuleti, they found a ring and earrings that are 400 years old. I think HM also said that they found some things dating back 1800 years (but between her English and my Georgian, I could be wrong). Something was definitely 1800 years, though, because I wrote down the number to be sure.
Hammer called me at the end of school and confirmed that we are on the same flight. I’m so relieved. I was afraid that it would get messed up, like everything else here, and we wouldn’t be together. Bebia’s still in Batumi, so I was home alone again. I started tidying and going throw papers and things in prep for going home and I found my Sudoku book. Best thing to happen to me in weeks. I spent all afternoon doing puzzles and not thinking about anything.
When the family came home, I helped HB1 finish his English. We did it early, cuz tonight’s Veronica Mars night and I wanted to be sure to be free. I was sitting upstairs, watching Leno, when the cutest thing happened. HB3 opened the door and said my name. I asked him what he wanted and he replied with a string of Georgian/ baby talk that I couldn’t understand, but I made out the word for ‘mom’ and ‘you want’ and he kept pointing downstairs. So I got up to go with him and he kept checking to make sure I was still there. He led me into the kitchen where HM had made lobiani (bread stuffed with beans). So I sat down with the family and ate, before coming back upstairs.
Friday, December 10, 2010
On my way home I passed some men working on the power lines. Explains why every day the power is out during work hours. If someone had told me this weeks ago.... Not having power wasn’t a surprise and I was alone, again. Used the last of my computer battery to check my e-mail and since the message I was expecting from the airline wasn’t there, I decided to call them.
First, I tried to explain my situation to the guy on the phone. I told him I’d spoken to someone on Friday, and he transferred me to her, even though she actually had nothing to do with what I wanted this time. She told me I had to talk to the other office and gave me a number. But the number was the same as hers and the automated voice is Georgian, so I was asking her HOW to get through to the other office and she just kept telling me to call them. Finally she understood me and told me what I needed.
When I called the other office, I got the same guy again. He started to transfer me and I told him, "No, I want to check my ticket and I need your office." So he asks for my name and takes ages to look it up. While I’m waiting I tell him that the problem was with my name, so I want to make sure it’s corrected. He says, "It’s fine. Don’t worry." I said, "Can you please spell the ‘corrected’ version to me, so I can make sure." He huffs, but does it. Eventually. And it was correct, so I apologized. Then I asked him to check on whether my departure date had been changed like I’d asked. He tells me that I can’t change the date. When I asked why, he huffed again (gee, I’m sorry for making you do your JOB) and said, "It’s already booked, you can’t change the date." Since "it" is a nice vague pronoun, I asked what he meant. He says, "What I say is what I mean." So I tried to clarify, "is the plane full on that date or is there another reason?" He said, "Your ticket has already been bought, so you can’t change the date." But I know for a fact that the date’s already been changed once, so I said again, "Why?" To which he scoffed and then hung up on me.
I was livid. I had to call Sailor to vent and get myself calmed down, before calling back for an actual answer. I tried to call 7 times and every single time, they hung up on me. Inentionally. The first time I got a woman who spoke English and asked her, but she told me just a minute, set down the phone (so I could hear them speaking in the background) and then about 5 minutes later hung up, without saying a word. The next couple of times, I got women who don’t speak English and I could hear them talking to the guy in Georgian, but he wouldn’t take the call. The next bunch of times they just said, "No English, Sorry" and hung up without even trying. I finally had to stop calling when I ran out of money on my phone (that’s what happens when you’re on hold for 30 cumulative minutes). Only in Georgia would a business be allowed to operate this way. In Canada I would’ve had that guy’s @ss in a sling and he would’ve been out of a job, so freakin’ fast.
I stayed angry for a good portion of the evening, in spite of trying to distract myself. HB1 had a boatload of English homework (like, 5 pages) so we spent a lot of time working on that. I finally had to call a break for food, with a page and a half left, and then he told me that he doesn’t have English again until Thursday. So we agreed to finish it tomorrow. I ate with the family and then watched Leno and Gossip Girl.
Gr. 12 was a treat of its own. We’re working on composition and they don’t even know how to do an outline. In Georgian. So I go through the whole thing; topic sentence, main ideas, examples, while Co-teach translates. Then I gave them the topic and asked them to write an outline (in Georgian) and then their composition (in English). Many of them stared blankly and a couple started just writing in English. Co-teach asked me what I wanted, I said "Outline in Georgian, composition in English". I went through the instructions again, for the students, with Co-teach translating. Then they started writing their compositions in Georgian. So I went back to the board and showed them the outline. I told them this is what it should look like, it’s just NOTES! It’s not sentences. Then Co-teach says, "What are they writing in Georgian?" She didn’t understand what I wanted, but instead of asking, she just translated what she thought and we wasted the whole class with the kids doing the wrong thing. And you just know they’re not going to do the homework.
The power was still out when I got home. And the family was still out, too. Bebia’s been in Batumi since Saturday, so I had the house to myself. It would’ve been much more awsome if I’d had power. I used the last of my computer battery to check my e-mail, finished a book and had some food. The power came on just as the family got home.
I hung out downstairs with them, and helped HB1 with his English. HM wanted to try doing some veggies in the slow cooker, so I told her which ones and how to prep them. They came out really well, except that being Georgian, she had to cover them with coriander as soon as they were done. I’ve gotten really good at brushing excess leaves off of my food, so I enjoyed the veggies to their fullest.
Hammer called to chat. Since we were on the same flight here, we figure we’ll be on the same flight home. The name on her ticket is wrong too, so I gave her the name and number of the woman that I spoke to, to get it fixed. She also told me about something horrible that happened at her school, which is a frustratingly good example of typical Georgian apathy and lack of forethought. A gr 3 girl collapsed in the middle of class. Someone called the ambulance, which took 30 minutes to arrive. Upon arrival, the paramedics walked into the school and they had no equipment with them (even though they’d been told what happened) and on the way to the hospital, the girl died. Hammer’s really shaken up, with good reason. The girl had pre-existing heart problems, but still. If they’d just hurried, or been better prepared, she might not have died.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Online, I checked my e-mail and did some non-essential surfing that I haven’t been able to do without power all week. I got a new e-book and spent the afternoon reading it. HM roasted a chicken in the new slow cooker. I had roast chicken and bread for lunch and it was amazing. Once I finished my book, I took some time to work on my resume, since I’ll have to start the job hunt as soon as I get home.
This evening, I got 2 calls from home. They think they’re as excited as I am, that I’ll be there soon, but they’re not. They’re excited enough, though. Blue Eyes is even counting down, but he thinks that when I get home, I’ll be going home to London. He doesn’t remember that my home is in Stratford, now. It’s really cute.
Boston and I rushed to finish eating and get dressed and were completely ready to go within a half hour. We had to wait for HD to get back, but then we all piled into the car and got ready to go. HD and Bebia sat in the front, while Boston, HM, HB3 and I crowded into the back seat. HB1 and HB2 sat in the hatchback compartment. It was really safe, especially with the way HD drives. But we got to town alive, barely, and proceded about our day.
We met Lush for lunch, where Joker joined us. Then us girls took a bottle of wine to the beach, while Joker ran some errands. Since the sea was so calm and the day so nice, I took off my socks and shoes and went walking in the sea. In December!!! It felt like any of the Great Lakes in May; cold, but bearable. Joker and Hammer joined us just as we were finishing the bottle, but we all hung out on the beach for a while. We spent a lot of time throwing stones into the sea, an hilarious enterprise when several people involved have been drinking.
When we were done at the sea, we went to Vinyl cafй, a place I’d never been. I had to go on a chocolate run, for something to go with my Bailey’s, since the cafй doesn’t really have food. We all chatted and laughed, while we had our drinks. Boston needed to go by her house, Lush wanted to spend some time at hers, and I wanted to meet up with Sailor, so we split up and all headed our separate ways.Sailor wasn’t answering her phone, so I went to the Lit cafй, assuming she was there. And she was there, hanging out with some other teachers. We hung out there until Pop made it, since tomorrow he’s leaving Batumi for T’bilisi and then home. Since we all live in the Kobuleti direction, we left the cafй together. After a brief stop at Goodwill,so we could all stock up on groceries, we got on a marshrutka and headed home. Back at the casa, I watched some tv (Harrison Ford was on Conan and he is HILARIOUS. If he weren’t so old, I’d totally marry him.) and went to bed, fully intending to sleep in tomorrow and spend the whole day doing nothing and going nowhere.
I had lunch at home with Bebia, HM and HB3, where HM showed me the newest purchase. It’s a toaster oven/ slow cooker, thing. But the problem is, the instructions and recipes are in English, so they don’t understand them. Since there was no power, we couldn’t test it out, but we agreed to try it out together later. Then I headed into Batumi for our regular Friday night beanboats, but I had some things to accomplish before dinner. I went to the library to use the internet and met up with Sailor there. Then we went shopping. We were both looking for the last of our souvenirs and I found mine. Along our travels, we ran into many of our colleagues. Everyone’s really excited to be going home, but they’re all upset about the lack of information from TLG.
We met up with Boston and Joker and Hammer at the restaurant. While we waited for Joker to show, the girls chatted while I called the Airline about some issues with my ticket; mostly that my name was wrong. After some typical Georgian-ness, where we talked in circles for 5 minutes about what my problem actually was, she was quite helpful. She told me that they’d e-mail my new ticket to me, and I’ve got my fingers crossed that everything will work out.
After dinner, Boston came back to the village with me. We hung out with my host family for a couple of hours. We had a bite to eat and some wine. They’re all very upset that Boston’s leaving so soon. When everyone finished eating, we started trying to translate some of the ingredients for the new kitchen toy. This was especially funny considering we were each about 2 glasses of wine deep. I gobbled like a turkey, to get that across, then Boston tried to act out a raisin. She also successfully used pidgeon English and Georgian to explain that ingredients get stuffed inside the quail. Quail-shi is my new favourite non-phrase. The children got bored with recipe talk, so they pulled out the toys. And once Boston was in possession of the toy sword, things took a crazy turn. She and HB1 had a sword fight (Boston had the sword and HB1 had a bracer) at the end when he “got her really good” she performed the most epic death scene I’ve ever seen.
Exhausted from being the entertainment, we came upstairs and watched mtv until Conan came on. After Conan, we went to bed.
As we were planning Friday lessons, Boston called me. She’s still shaken from her experience last night, so Pop was going into Batumi to get her out of her apartment. Since I was done early and my house had no power, I headed into town as well. We met up at the cafe, where I’d run into Hammer, and then we all went to the Italian place, where we met Joker for dinner. Some others also stopped by and we had a good visit.
After dinner, we went to a baklava place that Joker and Pop knew about and I had a chocolate pudding with marshmallow fluff. It was delicious. We finished dessert and headed back to the cafe before we all headed in our different homeward bound directions.