I don’t like to complain much these days, so let’s get it over and done with in one shot.
I have a confession to make: I’ve eaten more white flour, meat, salty cheese, soda, and candy in a month than a person should in a lifetime. I don’t even like any of those things. (Though I have to admit Turkish coffee is amazing.) And here we have a person who, before she decided to go adventuring, was studying to become a personal trainer. That’s hypocrisy at its best. Before coming here I was happy being vegan and felt better than ever. Now I don’t have any energy to haul groceries home. Ugh, stupid vicious circle. Hopefully this week I’ll suffer through the fatigue and get back in the kitchen.
That contraption of a washing machine and I are on real, real bad terms. It’s constantly destroying new blouses and pants, eating my buttons and ripping apart seams. Some things should never be homemade.
I’d say I’m a private person; I can be an open book information wise, but I like some space and certain property. So when I come home to find my host sister in my shirt and listening to my iPod, I get a little irked. We’ve addressed this in our family pow-wows but there’s still some confusion. I continually remind myself to never be angry with someone if they have good intentions. Most days that helps, some it doesn’t. On that note, never give your phone number to a Georgian male. Once one of them has it the whole village has it. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest; last week I received a mysterious text from a boy who had seen me out shopping and wanted to “meet up for conversation”. Yeah, sure.
The weather here is the craziest I’ve ever seen. When I get up it’s 40 and foggy – by lunch time it’s 70 and sunny. What the hell? Funny choice for someone who could live on the equator for the rest of their life. My room is still an ice box, but I’m gradually adjusting. Now I don’t think anything of sleeping in jeans, a coat, and mittens. Speaking of clothes, I startled myself when I looked in the mirror the other day. There I was in a fur hat, black sweater, black skirt, and black tights. Imagine that. Before I know it I’ll own heels.
Last but not least, I still can’t get over how loud Georgians are. Everyone in my host family raises their voice, all the time. They tell me I’m strange because I prefer to be quiet. Need something from the kitchen? Yell at the person two feet from you to get it. But at least they’re not as bad as the house phone. Almost all the families in the area have the same phone with the same annoying jingle; I sometimes hear ours 40 yards out while standing in the street.
Now for the bittersweet: Jamie and Katie have shortened their contracts and won’t be coming back after Christmas. Imereti won’t be the same without Jamie’s kindness or Katie’s zest for life. I wish I could do them justice on paper.
Enough pessimism! – I can finally call myself a true Georgian 🙂 I’ve been pretty culturally immersed for a while, but still hadn’t partaken in the most important rite of passage: roasting meat. With Musketeeri Katie and Sheila away for the day, Jamie suggested the two of us attempt to prepare mtsvadi – by ourselves. We headed to the bazaar in search of the best pork; selecting meat here is a big ordeal, and outsiders like us wouldn’t have a chance without the help of a local (lest we forget the Great Dog Meat Incident of October).
I spotted one of those motherly types from amongst the shop keepers and asked her advice. She ushered us from butcher to butcher, closely examining the cuts. When they looked too grainy she would tisk in disapproval and show us to the next one. (Did I mention I love Georgian hospitality? Just a little.) We finally settled on a kilo of ribs for $5 USD. The pig went from someone’s farm, to the back of an SUV, to a rusty nail, to a thin plastic bag nestled in Jamie’s backpack all in the same day. And they say Georgians aren’t efficient.
Before our supra we figured it’d be best to hike off some calories. The countryside was stunning: green meadows, snow-capped peaks – the whole bit. I can’t remember the last time I heard the wind gust through trees like that. Aside from that sound and a nearby stream, it was magnificent, deafening silence. Then I broke in the rain boots with some frog chasing. Fun, fun 😀
Back at Jamie’s house everything was going well. We knew exactly (sort of) what we were doing. Jamie’s family kept peering at us from the windows and passing through the yard pretending like they were on a mission. Pretty soon they gave up and decided to make themselves obvious. His grandparents pitched in with tending to the fire; his little bother made sure we turned the meat at exactly the right time; and his mother kept encouraging us to spritz on more and more alcohol. In the end, we made an awesome team and the pork turned out way better than any of that restaurant stuff.
This week is super busy! My eighth grade girls invited me to their dance recital on Wednesday. On Friday we’ll be helping out our favorite local baker in exchange for some of her recipes. I’ve been studying Russian on my own and am supposed to start lessons this week with a tutor. Other than that, I’m going through classic literature like white on rice. And I’m determined to find a used violin. Somehow it’s gonna happen.