Sunday, December 25, 2011

Case Closed

Tuesday, 13th December
I went to work, expecting a call from K. I thought that if I hadn't heard from her by 10, I'd call her myself. Most offices and businesses open at 10.

Come ten o 'clock, no word from K. I called her, no answer. A few minutes later, I got this email from her: I have been thinking about your case and I am terribly sorry for the
situation and problems you had to face. Rejection for a visa is terrible and
I understand how you feel now when all your plans got ruined.

On the other hand, the organisation has special procedures according to what as soon as
we provide a you with the requested ticket there is no more the organisation's
responsibility on changing it or canceling. We have bought your ticket back
in October, because we had your flight request and your several
confirmations and all is kept in our email archive. We have paid xxx GEL
for your round trip ticket and now the airlines do not allow us to cancel it
or get a refund.

Your case has been closed and unfortunately the organisation cannot buy another ticket
for you to send you home. I am really sorry, but there is no way Ministry's
financial department would allow us to buy two vacation tickets for one
Person, when we have such restrictions in our regulations and monetary
transactions are extremely big deal here.

I would recommend you to get in touch with the airlines yourself and maybe
send them the scanned version of the passport where the rejection
information is presented and maybe they will be able to help you. I can also
give you the contact information of the travel agency in case you
need to talk to them as well.
I am terribly sorry once again and wish I could do something to help, but
Unfortunately nothing is under my control anymore !

Hope you understand !

My whole world came to a stand still. I was still at school. I had a free lesson and was helping my colleague marking test papers. I asked to be excused and headed for the library to use the internet to get in touch with the agency and the airlines.

I loaded my phone with tons of airtime and made some calls. I called the agency, they seemed nice, promised to help me as much as they could. The ticket I'd got was non-refundable. I had 3days to make the impossible happen. I was dying. I felt lost. I didn't know where to start. I imagined the worst. There was no time to be weak and to feel sorry for myself, I had to keep going.

The agency took my details and promised to call me back, I had to cancel the travel insurance and figure out the next step as I was on my own in this. I managed to cancel the insurance. Apparently, it takes a while for the transfer of funds. The consultant said she's pressurise the head office to prioritise my case. I had to email a copy of the rejection letter and my passport to the travelling agency for them to send it to the airlines as motivation for my ticket cancellation. They wanted the docs by the end of business that very day. Time was of the essence. All that was 8 hours away, in Tbilisi. I asked my friend to please scan and email it for me. She said, 'I'm on the road, I left your passport in my apartment, please come here and do it yourself'. It was around 4pm, the agency closed at 7 and I was 8 hours. If you do the Math, you'll see that it was impossible for me to get the docs to the agency in time.

I called and asked them if I could email the stuff to them first thing the next day. She didn't mind. I took a bus to the station to buy an overnight train ticket to Tbilisi. I was freaking out on the way, hoping that they weren't fully booked. I waited about an hour for the bus. I'd already had a ticket but it was for the day after, I just wanted them to move it forward by a day. They did it! I got my ticket.
It was around 6, I had to head back to Sarpi, and pack and be back at the station by 10 for 10:25. Whew!

I got home, charged the cellphone, and packed. I'd been told that the org had a new home for me for January, which means I had to vacate my room. I didn't know where the new family lived, I didn't have time for that. I had already asked my family if I could store my bags at their house until I come back in January and they agreed. I had to pay rent for the weeks I'd stayed at their house.

The family wasn't home when I arrived. I packed as quickly as I could. I couldn't even weigh my bag to ensure it's 30kg. That's the limit with the airlines I was going to fly with.
When I was done packing, I headed to the main house to tell them I was leaving. They expected me to leave the day after. That was the original plan. When I moved in, the host sister, that speaks English told me that the last bus to Batumi leaves at 9. I was hoping to leave with that bus. I'd be there just before ten. At 8pm, I told them, I was about to leave, they told me there weren't anymore buses at that time! WHAT? But you told me the last bus is at 9. She didn't understand that. She went blank! Great! The host mom fixed me a really nice dinner. I didn't have time to eat and I don't eat before travelling but I had to be nice. I paid her before I ate. She took the cash and mumbled something in Georgian, the atmosphere changed in the room.
I heard the sister ask how longs I'd stayed there for. The mom said 3 weeks. That's 21 days. I'd been there for 17 days and I paid them the exact amount. I guess she expected me to round it off. Here's the thing about expecting people to round things off for your advantage, what if they expect you to round it off for theirs? For example, what if I thought she wouldn't mind me rounding it off to 2 weeks, i.e. 14 days, instead of 21?
There I was, at the table, in front of a delicious meal I was forcing myself to eat to be polite and everyone's mad at me for not paying them what they expected. Fortunately, I'd only dished up a spoonful of an eg and the tiniest chicken piece.

Just before I paid, host sis had translated to me that her dad's getting his brother to take me to the station. I asked them how much he was going to charge, they said nothing. AWKWARD! I finished eating and moved away from the table. I was the only one eating anyway. The host mom asked me why I didn't eat, I just said, 'nooooo thanks'. I had enough to deal with as it was to be stressing about food. There was too much tension in the house, I just wanted to get the heck out of there. I asked where the uncle was. He was on his way. He arrived in no time.

As if it wasn't awkward enough, I had to accept a favour from the people that believe I'd short paid them. And they insisted! Also, they did mislead me by telling me the last bus was at 9. At 8:20 or so, we left. Not before I asked again how much the guy would charge me (for the free lift). I thought that things may have changed after they saw how much I paid them. And they did! They discussed the fare I heard 80GEL (R320) from the uncle and 15GEL (R60) from the host mom.
The final result from the translator was NOTHING. You don't have to pay anything! I thought to myself, you know what? Just get the heck out of here, don't try to figure these people out, you've been here for months and you never could figure them out.

The whole clan accompanied me. Host mom, sister, brother and the driver, host uncle. I thanked the host dad and left. They sped through Batumi to Makhinjauri station. I'd told them that my train would leave at 10:30. That's 9:30 in Georgian. So the sister mis-translated. We got there at exactly 9:30. Which means if she was right, we would've missed the train. Anyway, we were an hour early. Great! We had to pretend for an entire hour. Crap! I discovered that the host mom had packed me a plastic bag full of naartjies (mandarins). This was over and above the 50kg baggage I already had.

There was an English speaking Georgian dude sitting next to us in the waiting room. He asked me if I liked Georgia. Of course, I told him NO. He translated to my family what I'd told him. You can imagine how much more awkward that made the already awkward situation. Perfect! The host family mumbled amongst each other. More tension ensued. I tried to do damage control by telling the dude, I'd nothing against my host family, they were nice people, I just didn't like Georgia as a country at that very moment. Of course, he translated that to the family as well. I don't think they cared. They were also not impressed that I mislead them by telling them I needed to be at the station by 9:30 instead of ten. I did tell them 10:30, but the truth got lost in translation.

The train finally arrived. They dumped me in my carriage and left. I was sooooo relieved. I met a nice English speaking Georgian in the train. I called him Superman, a story for another day.

Michelle called and I realised that I wasn't going to be able to see her before I left. That sucked! We had an appointment for Wednesday, but I'd to leave a day too soon. Which meant not getting to see each other. I hoped to see her one last time in Tbilisi.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Visa application Results

Monday, 12th December
I'd asked a friend of mine to collect my Visa from the embassy. My flight out of Georgia was booked for the 16th. I had to be in Tbilisi by the 14th. I couldn't travel all the way to Tbilisi for the 12th, back to Batumi, and then back to Tbilisi by the 14th.

I gave her my receipt and informed the guys at the embassy that she would pick the visa up for me. Let's call her D. I sent her a text Sunday afternoon reminding her. I called her monday morning, she assured me that she hadn't forgotten. Nevertheless, I called her again, in the afternoon. No answer. The nerves started! My stomach was turning, I was so anxious.

I remember being on the phone with my friend Michelle and asking if I could call her back because I realised it was before 5 and my visa appointment was at 4:30pm (obviously). I called D. No answer! I sent her a text, asking if she got it, and called again thereafter! I was freaking out. It was done! Either she had received it or not. The latter would have killed me! I'd already made so many plans, my friend and her husband were expecting me. I was going to have my first white Christmas. I kept calling, the calls were not answered. I had funny thoughts. 'What was I thinking trusting someone my visa? What if they took it and travelled with it? Oh my Lord! I was dying!

She called! I quickly apologised to God for accusing this chick of being a thief. 'Brook! Call me back'. SURE! I must've called her back before she even hung up: SO? DID YOU GET IT?
'No. They did not give you! I'm sorry my sister! I was so upset! I scattered the whole embassy. I told them to take it back! You already have a ticket! What are you going to do? ....'. She was so worried about me. How sweet. I sat there, eyes popping out of my head. I was in shock! Utter shock! I thought I was dreaming. The worst thing that could happen, happened. I had 4days left. No time to appeal or re apply or anything. I was screwed!

On asking her why the visa was not granted, she said, 'I asked them and they told me to read the rejection letter! I kept asking him, and asking him, he just told me to read the letter'. So I asked HER to read the letter for me. She told me, 'it's better you come her and read it yourself. Maybe I'll leave something out'. I asked her if it's a long letter. She said 'no, but I don't want to be the one to bread this bad news to you. But I think that the person that's inviting you over did not provide sufficient documentation'. Okay, but can you just read me what's on the letter? 'Ok, Brook, I'm on the way, right now, I'm about to take the bus, call me in 2 hours. I've to view an apartment, call me later'.

FCKKKKK! Darn it! Now, I've to wait a few hours to find out why I was rejected. Not that it was going to change anything, but still! It would be nice to know. I called K the lady in charge of flights. I'd already told her when they asked me to submit my flight request for the Christmas holidays that I was in the process of applying for the visa. I told them I wanted to wait for the results first, they insisted on my confirmation because they had a deadline. We then went ahead and bought a flight ticket to France. Without a visa! I called and told her that my visa application was rejected and I needed a ticket home, to South Africa instead. She was very sympathetic. Telling me she had been through the same before. She told me to appeal and move my flight date or re-apply. She said to first find out what the reason was and take it from there. I told her how ready I was to get the heck out of that place, I couldn't wait another day if they were going to pay me. I didn't just want to get the heck out, I needed to! It was vital that I left! ASAP! She told me she'd call the travelling agent and ask them to start making the arrangement as we didn't have much time. She told me that my other option would be to stick around and leave in January. SAY WHAT? You mean I should spend Christmas AND. New Year's in this hell hole? I don't think so Madam! She promised to at least inform the travelling agent in the meantime and update them.

At 9 o'clock, 2 hours later, I called D again, to see if she 'had' my rejection reason. She picked up the third time and told me she was about to get home, to call her back. Great! More waiting! I asked her to rather copy whatever was the 'reason' and text it to me. 15 - 30mins later, I tried her again. She told me she was done rewriting it on the text and was about to send it. I thought that if she had finished typing what was on the letter, she'd know what it said and asked her to tell me. She said, 'it's all on the sms, hang up, you can read it yourself'. No problem, I've waited 2.5 hours, I'm sure I can wait a moment longer. NO TEXT! I was dying of impatience. 15 minutes later, she sent me a blank text. WHAAATTT! WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON!
I waited a bit and got nothing. I texted her that the text was blank. I was getting more and more anxious. If she spent 45 minutes typing this text, why is it blank?
Dear Lord! It was late, I still had to get back to K. About 5 minutes later, I got the text. It read: The information submitted regarding the justcation for the pupose and condition of the intended stay was not reliable.

3 Lines! I waited 5hours for a 3 line text! Can you say weird? Spell check and forward to K. I spent the rest of the night thinking about things, how you can plan this and end up being dished up that! I was still in shock, I was hoping there was a mistake somewhere. I had to tell the family and my friend that was going to host me that it wasn't going to happen. Nobody could understand why I was rejected. My sis had got a visa to the very same destination 3months ago. And about 3 years ago. No questions asked. The only difference was that she applied in South Africa and I in Georgia. One more reason I love that place so much. It makes possible impossible.

Friday, December 9, 2011

My Anger induced Panic Attack!

It looks like the dodgy adapter I got from my new host family damaged my blackberry charger. Yesterday, before I went to school, for my one and only class, it still worked. I thought I’d get a new one and replace it either because I didn’t want it to damage my lifeline to the real world AKA my blackberry. The wires were sticking out. It looked dangerous.
I was an hour early for school, so I quickly went to That huge electronics store and they didn’t have a blackberry charger. Oh well, at least they played nice music. David Gray – This year’s love.

I bought sellotape (sticky tape), and thought I’d try to fix the wires myself. It can’t be that hard, right? Wrong! When I was done with it, it wouldn’t work at all! Oh well, it could’ve been worse! My phone coud’ve exploded or something. I made peace with the fact that I had lost my charger and tried to charge it using the USB cable I nought in Tbilisi, that didn’t work either. I kept getting reset errors, the phone would die, Oh my word was it frustrating! I couldn’t put my SIM card on the work phone, but I was not about to do that! I watched Wipe Out (or something) on the PC and went to sleep.

This morning, I watched Better off Ted and forced myself to come to Batumi and buy myself a charger. And here’s how that went:
I found a small little cellphone shop, near the marshrutka station(taxi rank). There was a Georgian lady behind the counter, I greeted her and asked if she spoke English. She doesn’t. I told her I wanted a charger. She showed me one for GEL7 (R28 – obviously Fong Kong) and one for GEL3 (R12 more of an FK than the above). We tested them both. The much cheaper one, wasn’t working. I asked her to charge my phone while she showed me their earphones. For some reason, my earphones won’t work, the iPod ones And the phone ones. They won’t work on either the iPod or the phone! Sometimes they work karaoke style, just the instrumental, no voice. Where were they when I wanted karaoke in Joburg? Anyway, I saw some cute pink and white ear phones for GEL 15 (R60) and GEL12 (R48). The 15 Lari ones were weird, and the 12 sounded great! I took those ones! I need them to block out all the zangi sayers and the rest of the crap I don’t need to hear! I know now how come I never heard the word Zangi until I got to Batumi: It’s because I always had my earphones on the entire time I was in Akhaltsikhe! Anyway, I bought the 12Lari Pink and white ear phones that match my phone as well as the 7 Lari charger. I noticed that, suddenly the shop was packed with random guys talking about me. The shop owner who may or may not have been Chinese, (he looked half Georgian/half Chinese) uttered something and all the guys laughed. First he asked the lady that was helping me what I wanted, she said she didn’t know. Then the joke and loud laughter. I paid for my items, thanked the lady and left.

As soon as I got outside, I tested my ear phones again. They worked on and off, if  I so much as moved or shook my phone, they would stop working. I made a quick U-turn back to the store. They did tell me that their stuff didn’t have  any guarantee. But we all know no guarantee means at least 7days or 1month guarantee right? You can’t sell someone garbage and boast that your store has a no guarantee policy. It doesn’t work that way! Back at the store, some of the guys that came in while I was still there were still there. I told the lady that doesn’t English that her ear phones are faulty (in English) and that I wanted my money back. She asked for my phone, to test them, when she saw that they indeed were faulty, she kept forcing them in and out, I was like, excuse me, can I have my phone back! She said, erti tstuti (one minute). I was like, no, mam, they are not working, can I please have my money back?

She told me to take me something else, I told her I wanted my money. She told me that they don’t refund cash, I had to take something else. Seriously! I just left your store a minute ago, and you’re going to act like you don’t know me, no, I want my money! She told me my phone is faulty, there’s nothing wrong with the ear phones. SOOO! SO WHAT? Say the problem is with my phone, that means I can’t use your earphones, therefore, take them back, and give me my money! Some random dude, came out of nowhere and tried to explain that they had already rung the sale and for that reason they couldn’t refund me. I gave them their receipt back and asked for my money. She ignored me, and starting packing up the shelves. I stood there for what seemed like forever. Fuming! I literally was about to throw up my insides, I was so angry! EXCUSE ME! I DON’T HAVE ALL DAY, TAKE YOUR EARPHONES, AND FOR THAT MATTER, TAKE YOUR CHARGER TOO AND GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!
She ignored me. That made me want to DIE!
UUUggghhhhhh! I went ballistic! I banged on the counter, told them to take this crap, give me my money or I would call the police! Police sounds the same in English and in Georgian. Then I cursed them in all the curse words I know, English, Xhosa, Afrikaans! I just wouldn’t stop, I was soooooo piiiisssseeedddd off! I said a lot of the F word too, obviously!  I know they know that word. I think she she may have cursed me too, just once! I didn’t care, That’s when I started pouring them out in Xhosa. If you know me, you will know that I don’t even curse. I will say the F word when I am really angry, but that’s it! She wouldn’t take the charger back, she took the earphones, took out my 12 Lari and threw it on the counter. There was  an adaptor and a universal cellphone battery charger on it, it looked like they were battling to charge the battery, because they kept checking it and fixing it’s position on the charger. After she threw me my money, the coin fell in the adapter, I took my money and my charger, grabbed the adapter threw it with the cellphone batter and the charger on it as hard as I could on the floor. I opened the door and banged it on the glass shelf inside,showed them the middle finger and walked away. I WAS SO ANGRY!
I can easily say that was the most pissed off I have been in the 6months I have been here.

As I was walking away, I was shaking! I called my friends, 3 didn’t answer, one dropped the call, one asked me to call her back so I just talked to myself.  I didn’t care! They think I am an animal anyway!

You're an Ass-hole my friend!

Friday 2nd December
........ I don't know if my room-mates / carriage mates slept at all the night before, but I woke up and find them all staring at me. I suppose they were curious to see what a zangi (nigger) looks like first thing in the morning. I pulled my beanie (hat) down, trying to hide underneath it until I cleaned my face up. the stares wouldn't stop!
I cleaned myself up as much cleaning as you can achieve on a train. It was still early, around 6am and we were scheduled to arrive in Tbilisi at 07:25. I lay down again, and faced the wall, anything to avoid the stares. At 7 o'clock, someone scratched me in the centre of the palm of my hand. You know when someone's trying to 'seduce' you while you shake their hand, and they sneakily scratch the centre of the palm of your hand? Yup! They did that to me while they thought I was asleep. IGNORE! I woke up about ten minutes later.
More stares, more zangi jokes I couldn't understand, more pointing at me and laughing, more of the same stuff as the night before.

When we finally arrived in Tbilisi, I couldn't wait to get out! On my way out, I went over the 'English speaking' Stand up comedian and asked if he knew what an ass hole was. He was like, 'me?' DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN ASS HOLE IS OR NOT? 'ME?' YEAH, YOU! YOU'RE AN ASS HOLE MY FRIEND!
Then I walked away. Whether he got it or not, I couldn't be bothered, it just felt nice saying it to his face.
I went over to the booking side of the station to book my return ticket. After a long wait, when it was my turn, the lady said something in Georgian or Russian, who knows, who cares? I know I didn't understand her and everybody looked at me when she said it. She then walked away from the counter and started cleaning up her office. I thought she may have closed, but everybody else, behind me stayed in line. I was the only one that didn't understand what the heck was going on. Some of the guys in the queue tried to explain to me what was going on IN RUSSIAN (Georgian are convinced Russian is English!) and then they pointed to another queue. I know there's a lady that speaks English on the other counter, so I just went over there and queued all over again, trying not to let it get to me. I had had a long morning as it was. As soon as I left that queue, that lady went back to work, I guess she just didn’t want to help me. Fortunately, the other lady was willing to help. I got my ticket and took the metro (subway) to Marjanishvili.

The office opens up at 9:30 or something, I needed to collect something from them. I was early. I went to Mc Donald's for breakfast. Fortunately, the staff speaks English.
Hi!
Hello!
Do you speak English?
So So
Ok, how are you? (to see how so so her English was)
Thanks, you?
(Oh Lord!)
May I Please have a Mc Feast Deluxe?
What?
A Mc Feast?
What?
Do you sell a Mc Feast at all?
What?
Do you know what a Mc Feast is?
Excuse me, sorry, WHAT?
Okay! Uhm, does anyone speak English here, because, clearly, you don't speak English at all.
One minute please!
(She calls another dude, that looks like he doesn't speak English.)
Not convinced that he would understand me - Hi, I'd like a Mc Feast De Luxe please?
Oh a Menu? No problem!
I KNEW IT!
Okay, so nobody speaks English at THIS Mc Donald's! I'll take the menu thanks.
do you have a meal with  2 burgers and 2 cheeses?
2 Burger Patties?
(yess English!)
Yeah, have you got that? Wish two cheese slices?
blah blah blah, until English speaking staff showed up out of nowhere, like 3 or 4 of them! They must've been in English Speaker's training or meeting. It turned out they don't have Mc Feast at all. Sorry, I am not well clued up with the latest Mc Donald's menu, I'm in Georgia, there are only 4 Mc Donald's in the entire country, and none where I live.
I enjoyed my meal, or kinda did. There's something about Georgian Mc Donald's, it tastes like something's missing, like ketchup (tomato sauce) or something. And I don't even like tomato sauce!
They did nail my milk shake, I asked them to make it really thick, and they understood the word thick. Unlike the Indian restaurant where they thought thick meant really thin WITH LOTS OF ICE CUBES! (to make it super super weak!). Mc Donald’s 1 - Indian Restaurant 0.
They played really nice music. Lots of Mika, some of the songs I don't even know, but I love Mika, so yeah.

I called the office and told them I was already in Tbilisi, I needed directions to the office.
Me: I am at the Metro Station, won't you please direct me to the office, you can sms me the directions.
Office: Ok, no problem, it is very near, please go straight until you get to the office.
Me: Oh, that simple? Cool. Wait, Say I am in front of the Mc Donald's and I am facing the Metro, which direction should I go.
Office: go straight.
Me: Ok, this is an 4way street. There are 4 straight directions here, which one should I take? Should I walk up towards the ... Church or? Can you please explain to me?
Office: Go down the street....
Me: Oh, opposite direction to the Church?
Office: Yes, we are near the bank.
Me: Thanks, I will call you when I get to the bank
I walk down the street and see the said bank to my right, and another one across the street. Great! I look around for the office that supposedly clearly marked, and see nothing!
Me: Hi, I am in front of the bank, there are 2 of them! Where about are you?
Office: From the bank, please come this way and you will see the entrance to the office!
Me: Uhm, which way?
Office: You see the bank?
YES?
Come this way, we are on this side of the bank. Is there someone that speaks Georgian near you? Can you give them the phone? We are really not far from where you are.
Me: Not really, if you are close by, could you just direct me to where you are? ......
........ Until I found the office. Whew!

I got my document and headed for the Embassy, the reason I was in Tbilisi to begin with. My appointment was for the 8th of December, it was the 2nd, I was hoping for the best. I didn't want to wait until the 9th, it's too close to my departure date, what if there was a problem with my application? I wouldn’t have enough time to re-apply or something. It was snowy in Tbilisi, more snow than I've ever seen in Batumi. Parts of the city were warm, some were really cold. It was fascinating! I waltzed up the never ending drive-way praying a never ending prayer that they help me that dat. I got to the gate and the security recognised me from the first time I was there. He let me through, no questions asked. I was nervous and excited and confused and and and.
When I got in, I saw the guy that I talked to the first time I was there. He waved and disappeared into the offices. Oh Lord! Maybe he knows I don't have an appointment :( I was debating whether to be honest and appeal to their kindness by begging for their help or lying and telling them I had booked for that day and acting super confused and not impressed when they tell me my name was not on the list.
He came back and asked if he could help me. I had to bite my cheek because I knew I was about to lie through my teeth. I felt like he could see right through me, Which i why I never lie. I suck at it! I got caught too! He told me my name wasn't on the list. I stood there, blank faced, he called the call centre and they told him my appointment was the following wee. He came back and told me that because I had come all the way from Batumi, he would help me. I was glad he remembered and that my never ending prayer was answered. I just had to hope that I had all the required documentation.
Alas, I didn’t! He was so kind, he snuck me his email address and told me to scan him the missing document. Yesssss! I couldn't believe my luck! SUCCESSSSS!

I took the bus back to the city. I was on the phone the entire time. Sometimes that's the best thing you can do to avoid all the stares and the madness. I got off and wandered about while still on the phone. An old Georgian man walked, slowly towards me, he stuck his tong out and did that thing that perverts do with their eye-brows (think up and down motion). I may have thrown up in my mouth a bit! I crossed the street and encountered 2 gypsies. They cornered me, called me zangi, felt my skin, one of them kicked me in the leg. I wished I were dreaming. I wasn't, they followed me for a while. Nobody said a thing. I thought they wouldn’t, but they stopped and walked away. Whew!

I called my friend, D, spent some time with her at hers then we went over to her new bf's. After a little bit of awkwardness, that I won't get into, I decided to leave.
I prayed for a more peaceful train ride than the night before, And I got it! The next morning, I was back in Batumi - then Sarpi. I couldn't be happier to be back in my own little room, all by my lonesome!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

SMS-es from the ex host mom

My ex host mom's been texting me ever since I moved. A text per day, on average.
Here are some of them:
1) Hi babala.at least what  crimet we. What grieve. Why go there? So to speak implicitly. Sometimes go in a visit.
2) I am sad. Nothing undersand.
3) Heloy Babala,how are you?
4) Hi Babala.How are you.i am sad.for tomorrow bring money?what is the time waiting?
To which I responded: I told you to sms me your banking details. I'll pay you for the time I stayed in your house and for the time you fed me.
5) Ok.soon see
6) I am anything grieve? You want  leave me?
7) Heloy.shi live in sarpi?my vilich gonio.

Thursday Morning, I got a call from the Rep telling me ex mom wants her rent money, she told the rep I'd sent her a text she didn't understand and wants the rep to call me and find out. I wish they'd just forwarded each other the text, figured it out and sent me the banking details but noooooo!
I explained to the rep what I'd said on the text, she also wanted to know how much I was going to pay her. I also told her that the family has Internet, why wouldn't they use google translate? She said it's possible they don't have a bank account that's why she didn't understand what I meant by banking details. I asked her to find out from the host mom either way. Rep called me back and told me the host doesn't have an account and my only other option is to take the money to their house. I was like, 'with all due respect, I'm NOT GOING BACK TO THAT HOUSE! I KNOW SHE HAS A BANK ACCOUNT. SHE'S BEEN TRYING TO GET ME BACK TO THAT HOUSE EVER SINCE I LEFT AND THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!'. Rep then told me to give her the money at the office and she'll take it to the ex host. Fine by me.

I only have 2 classes on Thursdays. They're in the afternoon. I took the bus straight to the station to buy a ticket to Tbilisi. I didn't have cash with me. Assuming there would be an ATM near the station. For obvious reasons. There were 2. None of them my bank. I just withdrew enough for the ticket.
There was a dude behind the counter, he could've been security, or God-knows-what, he stared at me from the moment I walked in. I heard the lady that was helping me answering questions about all my personal details on the passport to this dude. I was boiling inside, ready to explode. I just wanted to buy a train ticket in peace. Nope! Not gonna happen! Not now, not here! I got my ticket, and was out before you could say GO.

I took a bus back to the city centre. It dropped me off halfway, I had to walk the rest of the way, it was cold and rainy. I was on the phone, when a gypsy approached me. I can't stand them! I don't trust them! I hate that I've to hold on to my valuables when I  See them as if I'm in Joburg CBD. And they like to touch! I've watched them, they don't touch Georgians, they target us foreigners. Sometimes they hang on to your arm or your leg, until you give them money. I'm glad that hasn't happened to me yet. Knock on wood! Anyway, he came toward me, filthy as hell, the hands were sticky and black. He said 'money! Money!' Before I realised it, I'd kicked him in the ass. LITERALLY! Infront of his mom and sister! His mom called him, he ran back to her, and I carried on towards school.

2 classes. Done!

I went to Bank of Georgia to pay for the insurance. I asked the guy at the information desk where the tellers were. Believe me, you would too! That bank's complicated. It's pretty though, I like it. The guy walked me to the tellers and stuck around to chat with his friends while we waited in line hoping for someone to help us asap. He kept one teller off her job, chatting up a storm. Finally my turn, dude walked over to the teller next to the one that was helping me. I heard her reading out all my personal details for the next teller and the random dude that brought me there. I wanted to die! I had to be nice. I needed a favour from her. I asked her if she could fax my deposit slip to the insurance people. I'd given her their business card where they'd written their details in Georgian. She told me she couldn't. I was like, really? Do you not have a fax machine? I asked this looking at the huge fax machine behind her. She told me they didn't. Okay then! I asked if she could call and tell them I've paid. She said she'd love to but she couldn't. Uhm, really? I looked at the phone that was on her desk right in front of me. She said yes, I can't. But if you give me their phone number maybe I can phone them for you. (Go figure!). I told her their number was on the business card in her hand. She asked for my number:
Me: 5 double 7
Teller: 557, and then?
Me: 5 DOUBLE 7!
Teller: 557 and then?
Me: No FIVE DOUBLE SEVEN!
Teller: aah! Five five seven, and then?
Me: NO! IT'S FIVE, SEVEN, SEVEN!
Teller: aaaahhhhh! Five five seven
Me: (imploding) khuthi, svidi, svidi (577)
Teller: aaaahhh! Five seven seven.
She also called the insurance people for me, got me to sign a piece of paper that she FAXED to the insurance people. This is the same person that had told me she couldn't fax nor call the insurance for me because she didn't have a fax and a phone.

I then wandered about trying to find a photo shop for Visa photos. One website said they need 2 photos, the other said 3, I got 3. The guys in the shop were nice, they speak some English. One of them is also a Seaman. He walked me to the library where I was going to chill and use the Internet, to kill time as I was done with Visa arrangements and the train was only leaving at 10:25 pm.

Lo joined me at the library where I met a nice teacher from NY, we exchanged numbers. The library closed at 7. We walked to the bank, it was still open lights were off and they used candles. We decided to find another branch. We just needed an ATM anyway. On our way back from the ATM, a random guy commented about how not white we are.
Off to the pharmacy. 3 ladies were sitting behind the counter. They talked about us the moment we walked in. I know they were, because that's what they do. They giggled like little girls. I thought I'd have some fun with them and take take pictures of them on my blackberry.

Let's see how uncomfortable that would make them.
Lo needed moisturiser. I told her to ask them to recommend something. They gave her some green box. While looking at that, she needed to take something out of her bag. There was a till (cash register) by the door, with a chair behind it. Lo put her bag on the chair and did her thing. The lady almost died! She told her 'ar sheidzleba! (you may not do that!).  She told the chick to relax. I was busy boiling inside myself. I took pictures of her while she was being unreasonable with my fellow black sister.

 I told Lo to leave the bag right there while she shopped further. She was like, 'do you wanna give them a heart attack?' ERRR YEAH! She decided against it.
She didn't want the green boxed moisturiser they have her, as she handed it back to that chick, you should've seen the expression on her face, trying not to make contact with Lo's hand while she took the box back. I could've died! I told her 'let's touch all the stuff in here, and then leave!' She said, no it's ok! I was like, you know what? I can't do this, otherwise I'll end up in prison! I went outside. Not without leaving the door wide open. Just for the fun of it. It was nice and warm in there, I wanted them to come close the door themselves. I can't believe Lo bought something from those people. I'd never spend my money and support that kind of behaviour. Sorry!
We went to a cafe, chilled a little bit. I flirted with a waiter...
Lo approved, Thanks Lo, I knew I could count on you! But I think I'll pass.
 Marshrutka to the station. I tried to figure out which side my compartment was.

 I asked one of the stewards standing outside the train. As she directed me, the guy said something along the lines of this Zangi (nigga) was going to one of his carriages. Ar minda (I don't want...). I got in. There was a Russian lady sitting on the bed beneath mine. She was with 3 guys. They joked around with me. More and more people came over to see the Zangi. I told one of them, that spoke some English not to use that term. He apologised. An older lady that was sitting with us, told him what to say, I'd never heard that term before. I forgot what she said.
The three guys left. Some dude with spectacles came in. She screamed from afar that she spoke English. She made small talk with broken English. Some of the words seemed point blank made up. When I didn't understand him, he started making fun of me. All the guys around us came over and they were hosing themselves with laughter. Good times! I noticed that only the guys were laughing so whatever he was saying must have been really rude and below the belt. It was a stand up comedy show in out carriage. Not just the compartment, the entire carriage! I made my bed and slept in it. Literally :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hello Nigger!

Tuesday, 29 December A cold and rainy day in Sarpi (my new neighbourhood) and Batumi. I had my first few lessons and a break. I asked the Computer teacher if I could use the internet, I needed to fill out a visa application. No problem. I was almost done when the bell rang. I had a lesson and my co-teacher hadn't been to work for days. You can't save the application form, I had to log off and come back later and do it all over again. My teacher was at work that day. Great! I should've finished my application. The next lesson was replaced by a Maths class. Cool! I ran back to the computer room. I finished my application, printed out everything I needed online. And the visa application requirements. The first one was: please complete the form in CAPITAL LETTERS. Fabulous! This meant I had just wasted 2hours of my precious time. I kept it either way. And I had printed out a blank copy just in case. I thought that if they didn't accept the printed copy, I'd just re-do it by hand in caps. I had a 2class break where I quickly dashed out to Bank of Georgia. Where my friend told me she got her Travel Insurance. It started pouring. I was facing the direction of rain, which can't be good. I wasn't sure where the bank was. I had to ask around and hope for the best. Where they say something is, isn't necessarily where it is. So you've gotta ask a few people and still hope for the best. They could all be wrong, there are no guarantees. It was pouring into my eyes, I battled to keep them open. I found the bank. An English speaking Georgian lady offered to translate for me. They told me they don't sell insurance, and gave me a piece of paper with the insurance institution's number. More walking! I saw a dead body! I came by an intersection where I had to wait for a funeral procession to pass. A few man held an open coffin up. There was a middle aged woman in there, all made up and hair styled. A very disturbing site if you ask me!I kept walking. Two guys in a nice, black Mercedes ML SUV, drove by, the passenger, opened the window and yelled 'Hello Nigger!' Out. I generally don't react to such behaviour, but I did show him the middle finger. Note to self: don't do that again. Don't let them get a reaction out of you! I came by a branch of Liberty Bank on my way, and decided to ask if they sold insurance. There was an OPEN sign on the door. I walked in, there were 3 ladies in there (staff). Me: Hi, do you sell insurance?Them: Closed! Closed!Me: Do you sell insurance or not?Them: The bank is closed. Me: Obviously not! You are in here and so am I. Couldn't you just tell me if you sell insurance or not?Them: Power, no. Isa... No power! Me: Do you need power to tell me if you sell insurance or not? Do you speak English?Them: No. Pissed, I walked out, opened the door and left it wide open. It was freezing out and their little bank was nice and warm. (This is the same bank where, they told someone that was translating for me before to come back 15minutes later. They were closed and couldn't tell us if they had an ATM or not). I passed the street where my school is, and just kept walking. The roads were flooded because there are no drains here. If it rains, which is daily, the streets become flooded. I finally found the Insurance place. 'Hello! Please have a seat. How, er, what do you want?'. I need travel insurance, please. She called someone else, 'hello, I'm listening'. Man! This people use the strangest phrases in here! What happened to how may I help you? Or just plain, can I help you! I told her what I wanted, she told me to go BACK to Bank of Georgia and apply there. MAM! I JUST CAME FROM THERE! IT'S POURING RAIN, I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK, I CANNOT KEEP WALKING UP AND DOWN THE CITY! 'You didn't have to come here at all, we could've done the whole thing over the phone'. HOW WAS I TO KNOW THAT? THE LADY AT THE BANK TOLD ME TO COME HERE, SHE EVEN WROTE ME THE ADDRESS ON A PIECE OF PAPER. HERE IT IS! 'What I can do is, I'll take your information and give you the papers, but you'd have to go back to the bank and pay, come back here, give me the proof of payment before I can activate your insurance'. CAN I FAX OR PRINT IT TO You? 'Yes you can'. She had my passport in her hand and asked me where I'm from. IT'S ON MY PASSPORT IN YOUR HAND! She took down all my details, including what my job was before I came to Georgia. Go figure! In less than 5mins, I was done! Back to school! One class and I had another break. This time, I went to Liberty bank on the main street, I know that some of them kinda speak English and the manager definitely speaks English. I needed banks statements. I got to the bank, and they had three notices stuck on the door. All in Georgian. And the doors were locked. I had to keep walking to find another branch. It wasn't that far from there. They air conditioned the living daylights out of that place. It was boiling! I waited my turned, hoping not to die in there. When I was second in line, the teller just wouldn't finish. I waited! 5minutes, nah, not done, then I stopped counting. I had to get back to work. Me: Do you know how much longer you're gonna be?Teller: NoMe: you don't know how long you'll be?Teller: NoMe: Do you have an idea? I've gotta get back to work?Teller: No. Me: Do you speak English?Teller: NoA kind lady in front of me told me she speaks English 'what do you want?' (Which makes you wonder because she'd been there the entire time, she should've heard and understood what I was trying to ask the teller). I told her I need a bank statement and want to know how much longer before someone helps me, I've got to get back to work. 'Aaahhhh!' To the teller 'er, isa..(Fill in anything. Anything at all because I don't think she understood me). Back to me '*##@$"-+ *#R+!!:/;' (translate to something something in Russian'. Me: sorry, but can you say that in English? You said you speak English remember?'+@@?/62*6!o*#' (more Russian, maybe in her head, she's convinced she's speaking English. Poor thing was lied to all her life. She thought Russian was English. Aaawwww). She signalled for me to follow her into another office. I assumed that that lady spoke English. I told her I needed three month's bank statement. She told the 'English speaker ' that she doesn't speak English. LISTEN THIS IS NOT HARD, (I pointed at the PC monitor) SEPTEMBER, OKTOMBER, NOVEMBER (then I pointed at the printer). 'Aaaahhhh' I handed her my passport and my bank card. She printed out the statement, gave it to me and I was a gonner! SUCCESS! not. I had my last two lessons and an hour's break before my English club. During my last lesson, I double checked my paperwork and realised my names were spelt incorrectly on my bank statement. All three of them! Babalva Bruk (instead of Babalwa Brook) and my first name was spelt with a k instead of a c. Which means my initials were no longer CB but KB. How can that be right? I had to go back to the bank! I rushed there, in the rain, sooooo frustrated by how these people can never get anything right! Goddarnit!When I got there, I was fuming. 'Mobdzandit!' (Come here!). Dajeki (sit). I took a seat, pointed at my name on my passport and my bank card and pointed at the name on the statement from the same bank. Why would I think to check if my name is spelt correctly by my own bank? I have a bank card, with all my names spelt correctly from the very same bank. What happened? Ugh!She told her friend that she doesn't speak English and called another lady that also doesn't speak English. That lady repeated everything that lady said to me in Georgian. EXCUSE ME! DO You SPEAK ENGLISH? She called a third lady who also doesn't speak English to come 'translate'. She repeated what the other ladies were saying in Georgian. EXCUSE ME, DO You SPEAK ENGLISH? 'No!'WHY ARE YOU GUYS HERE? THIS IS SIMPLE, CORRECT MY NAME ON THE COMPUTER AND PRINT OUT THE STATEMENT. HOW HARD CAN THAT BE! They called another lady, into the mix. She looked like she could be the manager or something. She didn't speak English. I tried to explain to her in my non-existent Georgian (when I'm pissed off, I go completely blank and forget all the Georgian I've learnt over the months) that I cannot present that statement and my passport as proof that that's my statement if all the names are spelt differently. All that proves is that that's Not Mine! She said no problem and showed me the door. I called my regional rep and asked her to tell those people why I was there. She did. The teller, started typing in some stuff on the pc and I heard her ask where I was from, the other one told her America, as she was typing that in, I said EXCUSE ME, MY PASSPORT IS RIGHT INFRONT OF YOU! I'm FROM SOUTH AFRICA! 'Aaah!' Then she called someone, who I think speaks English, and asked me, 'are you married?'. NO I'm SINGLE, BUT WHAT'S THAT GOT TO DO WITH THE PRICE OF EGGS? PLEASE JUST CORRECT MY NAME AND LET ME GO!!!! (Ignored) 'What is your phone number?' NO! NO NONONONO! YOU'RE NOT GETTING MY NUMBER! THIS IS NOT AN APPLICATION FOR A BANK ACCOUNT! YOU'RE NOT GETTING ANYMORE EINFORMATION FROM ME! I called the rep again, and told her to tell those people what I wanted and to let me go. She talked to them for like 2minutes. Which made me wonder what they were talking about. She didn't give them my number. Then they gave me a form to fill in. It was in Georgian. I told them I wasn't going to sign it. I called the rep she said, 'uhhhh Hello Kanisa. ... Ok, Kanisa, in Georgia, if you want your name to be changed, you have to sign a form. It is just to say that you authorise the bank to change your name'. UHM, THAT'S NOT WHY I'm HERE! MY NAME HASN'T CHANGED, I'm THE SAME PERSON I WAS WHEN I CAME HERE! I JUST WANT THEM TO CORRECT A MISTAKE THEY MADE ON THEIR COMPUTERS. I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO FILL IN ANY REQUEST FORMS.'Please give them back the phone Kanisa. Five minutes later, my statement was printed with the correct names. I thought I had died of frustration, I called Michelle to see if I was still alive and whether someone on the other side of the phone could here me. 'Hello'. MICHELLE! 'Hello! Hello! Brook are you there? Hello? Brook! I can't hear you! Hello?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My new Host Family

So my regional rep, with the help of my school director (principal), found me a temporary home. Just for until I go on my christmas break. It's 30mins outside Batumi, right by the Turkish boarder. I have to commute to work. Bus fare is 80 tetri (R3.20) to and fro).
the rep called me Friday night, she told me she found me a nice home with air conditioning, she also asked for a heater for me, just in case. they have hot water, 24/7 so that issue was covered as well.

I've an 11yr  host brother who goes to my school but not to any of my classes, a 17 year old host sister, a host mom and dad. So far, I think my host dad's (like all host dad's) nice, happy, and wants to make sure I'm comfortable in their home. The brother's just too cute. He has a permanent smile on his face. Host mom and sister, I haven't figured them out. Host sister stares at me ALL THE TIME. English speakers always say that Georgians stare because they're interested in us and don't speak English and therefore all they can do is stare? My host sister speaks English! She always sits at an angle where she'll have full view of me and will stare at me until I leave the room. When the family or myself, need her to translate, she'll say 'ar vitsi' (I don't know). For instance, if I say, 'ask your brother where he was yesterday at 6, we had an English lesson'. She's say, 'yes'. That's it. Or if the family' asking something about me, which they know she doesn't know because they all don't know me. Instead of asking me, she will tell them she doesn't know. So there's hardly any communication between the family and I.  We do try though. I use the call a friend card and ask Lo to translate or talk to them.
This is a guest house but because it's off season, there's no business. I think that's why they can host me temporarily. It's a 4 storey house. They're still building it. It's new and damp and therefore VERY COLD and it's on the mountain. Right by the sea. Again, very cold. Nice view, but cold!

Turkish border gate on the left and the Black sea on the background.

 I've my own entrance to my room, and own bathroom. GOLD!

that's me in the mirror:)

 No more Georgian poo sightings. At least for 3weeks.
So far, I've been fed. I've to go to the main house for meals, but they've called me since I've been here. Don't know how longs that's going to last for. Yesterday, I got home at 7:30. I was on the phone, I had to let my friend go so I could go have dinner. Either there was nobody in the house or everyone was already asleep. It was dark. I wasn't about to go make myself something to eat in someone's house. First find the lights switch, then stumble my way to the kitchen to find the kitchen switch and then look for food. I haven't been to their kitchen and they haven't told me to prepare own meals. Usually, they tell you.
I toyed with the idea of going to the shops to buy something and I was like, in this cold? Heck no!
I did hear voices and foot steps around 10pm. Maybe the family was out.
Can I just add that, it's very very cold here? I've a small heater. I mean small.

 Host dad has asked me if my room's warm enough, (I think that's what he meant). I told him nope. He asked if I don't have a heater, I told him I do but it's too small. It really is small. Believe me. Then I heard the nice cousin, that was here for the weekend, say something that sounded like they should give me the bigger heater. That was it. No comment.
Needless to say, contrary to what the rep had told me before my move, there is no air conditioner in this house. And my bathroom water is almost luke warm, if that's possible. My first day here, someone had to heat up a wood gyser for me and I used a random bathroom, somewhere random. They also told me that there is no hot water in the mornings, I'd have to shour at night, go to bed clean and ....well, that's it!
I opted to just familiarise myself with my luke warm shower.

I asked the family for an extension chord. I got one for 3 plugs or whatever those things are called. Perfect! Turns out the one in the middle's damaged, and burnt. So, we're down to 2. Still better than one, I can connect laptop and hard drive. Uhm, when you plug something in, you hear a shhhh sound because the thing's burning the metal in your plug, then it kicks in. So everytime you use it, you have to hold thums, pray, think positively, or do whatever It is you believe in.

Yesterday morning, I heard the shhhh sound on the wall socket where the actual chord's plugged in. That's right above my bed. I was like fffccckkkk! I gotta take this out, QUICK! I pulled it out. HARD! Nah, won't come out, oh craaapp! Should I be using my hand! Heck yeah, there's no other way, I did it! Then I folded the chord up and gave it back to my host mom on my way to work. The thing with their wall sockets is, they don't have on and off switches. You plug your thing in, and you're ready to go!
Two days ago, not too long after the cousin had suggested I get the bigger heater after my host dad asked if I'm cold here, the host sister came into my room. Headed straight for my heater. I was like yaaayyy! She disconnected it, I went in the bathroom, when I came back to watch the rest of the movie,  she was gone and the heater was still here. The chord was gone and the computer had been disconnected and had subsequently shut down. I plugged the pc on the wall and had to figure out where I'd stopped with the movie.
She brought it back about ten mins later and said, sorry. I think someone told her to say so.
aaand my bed(s)
My co to teacher asked if I like it here. I told her it's ok. I mean, I don't know these people and they don't know me yet. She went ahead and told the director that I'm in love with this place and the family and I want to stay here until my contract ends next year.
I'm not sure how I feel about all that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Host momma drama

I've been with my current host family since September 11. I don't want to talk smack about them, but things could've been improved upon Greatly in that household. They didn't get any better, the longer I stayed there.

More than 2months later, things went completely south! There was no hot water (for me), no food (for me). I'd see the host mom frying chicken and baking vetkoek / fat cakes, the next minute, there's overcooked rice with tons and tons of water on the stove for me to eat with bread. Go figure!
Sometimes. I'd smell food, hear plates in the kitchen. Then when I go make something to eat, there would be nothing in the kitchen. The dishes will be done and the kitchen will be super clean. She'd be right there in the kitchen (the host mom), and would say nothing when she sees me reaching for the fridge looking for food. Then I'd go to the shop to get bread. Only then would she wait for me outside the apartment to tell me break will be ready in 2minutes. BREAD! REALLY! You can see that I just bought bread, what am I to do? Flush this load down the drain and wait, 2minutes for yours?
I'd put my left over bread in the bread 'bin'. She'd take it out, I'd later find it on the table, lounging there by its lonesome.

I remember this one time, I went to make myself something to eat and found only stale bread in the kitchen. I looked at it and choked up. I opened the fridge up and there was nothing to have with the bread. I asked her if she had eggs. She went like, 'what?' EGGS! 'Oh, no babala! No eggs, edge? Eg? Eggs? Edges?' Basically, my search for food had become an English lesson where I had to teach her how to pronounce egg. She didn't care that I was starving and needed something to have with the bread besides the moulding butter! I was fuming.

I buttered up my bread, with the not-so-moulded parts and took it to my room. Mind you, I don't take any beverages, no coffee, tea, coke or any such stuff. Which means, I pay this woman monthly for food and accommodation, for her to feed me stale bread with rotten butter, and let me shower with cold water and sleep on a couch in her dining room in a house that smells like a night club because she's a chain smoker. She would insist I seat in the kitchen table and eat while she blows smoke right into my face! Of course, I don't her, I wasn't about to do that! I'd go eat in my room, if I didn't find hair in my food. Otherwise, show it to her and throw the food away. I'm sorry, I didn't come all the way here from South Africa and pay her every month to eat her hair.

I asked to be moved. A week later, they found me a new family. This is after things had become rather strange at 'home'. Host mom was screaming and yelling a lot. She was crying half the time and beating the kid up. The kid was crying a lot. It was insane. And they'd never acted like that before. Sometimes I'd hear my name, then the yelling would begin. I didn't know if any of this had something to do with me and wasn't about to ask them. I just wanted OUT! ASAP.

I got the call about my (4th) move Friday night. I was so excited! By then, I'd been having cold showers and buying my own food every single day. Nobody had been talking to me at 'home'. Before they used to keep an eye on me, if I as much as went to fetch some water in the kitchen, someone would jump and wander about in the kitchen until I finished what I was doing. My host dad's thing was to put his shoes on. Whenever I was in the kitchen, he'd come put his shoes on, with his eye on me the entire time. Once, I was so fed up, once he came in to 'put his shoes on', I walked out. I left the food on the table cos I was making something to eat. He left the house, I gave him a few minutes to come back. Because I knew how their minds functioned. He'd think that I wasn't onto him and come back to find me in the kitchen again, so I didn't go back. He came back! I was still in my (dining) room. I don't know what he pretended to be doing this time but he was quick. He left again. And came back again. I kid you not! Then he eventually left, or not. I never know when he's at home or not.
Lately, they'd all hang out in their room. I never got to see anybody. It was strange. From watching me like a hawk, to that!
Friday night, host mom greeted me. Lately, she wasn't talking to me. I even thought that she may have found out that I was moving. She was a lead from one of the teachers at my school. And when I requested to be moved, they asked the teachers to find me a family, so the information must've leaked. Anyway, on the rare occasion, I'd bump into host mom in the passage, and say hi, she'd ignore me. To prove that she heard me, anyone else that would be with her would greet me back, but she wouldn't.

Friday night was different. She said hi. She came to my room and asked if I wanted to go to the village with them. Of course that freaked me out. What do they want to do to me? In the 2mnths I've lived with them, they'd never taken me anywhere! Fortunately I had reports to do and couldn't go. Not that I would've if I'd nothing to do. What? And miss out on the opportunity to be home alone?

Saturday morning, I was up by 4am. I packed, and was ready by around 10. I had to be slow because I didn't want to rock up at people's houses too early. I chatted with my sis quite a bit via email. I downloaded some music videos on Youtube just in case we won't have internet where I was moving to. I called my rep around 11 and told her I was ready to leave. When she told me she was about to call my host mom who was at home cleaning, I took my key and went to find a cab. Somehow I felt uncomfortable. On my way the Rep called and told me host mom wanted me to pay the full amount before I left. I told her payment is due on the last day of the month and that's when she was going to get her as welI. And she wasn't getting the full amount. I have to deduct some money for the time I won't be there because I moved before month end and for meals. She told me she explained to her that I hadn't got paid yet and would pay her when I got my money. I told the rep, even so, she's not getting the full amount! I have the money right now, I could pay her any amount she wants, but it's not about that! Se has to wait, I'm not going to steal her money and she's still not getting the full amount. She can go fly a kite! I stopped feeling weird, but was pissed off. This was a better feeling than the weird uncomfortable feeling I had earlier. I was ready to head back to the house and have her ask me for the money to my face. I was glad that my Rep got to see this side of my host mom's because she used to call my rep and thank her for me and tell her she loves me. I'd tell my rep she's lying. Actions speak louder! She was the grateful for the money I was bringing in. It was all about money. Rep would say, oh no, kanisa, don't talk like that! First of all, my name's not Kanisa lol.
I haggled the cab driver down by 10 Lari (R40). We headed for the flat to get my stuff. I'd locked on my way out, but when I got back, I couldn't turn my key. She had pushed her key in, heaven knows what for. I'd been hardly gone for 5minutes! She opened up for me and said, 'aahhh babala!'. I said WHAT? Ready for war. She went back to the kitchen. I did finishing touches, and took my stuff to the cab. I came back for the last load. I made sure my hands were full so as not to have to give her a hug when I left. I told her where I left the key, she stood in my way and asked, 'ratom midi khar, babala?'. (Why are you leaving? I got a hug, she wouldn't let go, she kept asking why I was leaving. She cried. Ooooohhh. Lawd! I kept saying, 'I have to go'. What do you say when the course of all your miseries and your reason for leaving cries and asks you why you're leaving?

I walked out, relieved to be out of that hell hole. She stood by the door and blew me kisses. I took the lift and left.
it was a 20minute cab drive to my new place. In a few hours of arrival, I got this text from my now ex host mom: Hi babala.at least what crimet we. What grieve. Why go there? So to speak implicitly. Sometimes go in a visit.

I didn't reply partly because I didn't want to and partly because I didn't understand the message.

2hrs later, she sent me this: I am sad. Nothing undersand.

I didn't reply.
Notice how she didn't mention the money to me at all?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Office Drama!

My school has 5 English teachers. According to our contract, we should work with 3 co-teachers. I had three for the first week. A week later, they added one more. There's one English teacher I don't work with.

I have asked my co-teachers why I only work with the ones I do, they told me that was an instruction from the department. Fair enough. L, the new addition to my co-teachers, asked me why I don't work with N. I don't her what the other teachers told me. That the dept picked my co-teachers themselves. She told me that's not true. When she saw that she was left out, she talked to the other teachers and they squeezed her into my schedule. Simple as that. She asked if I'd have a problem working with N. I told her, I'll work with anybody, they should figure it out. I showed her my schedule. That I have 8 classes per week with Y, 5 with S, 3 with I and 3 with her. I don't know if they don't want to reduce my classes with Y, maybe take 3 classes out and give them to N. Also, for one of the classes, I'm there every single English lesson per week, they could take one of those out, and give it to N etc. L said, that's 5A right? I agreed. She told me how she doesn't like that class. It's the most unruly class out of the entire school. Blah blah blah. I just smiled.

After the class with L, I had 5 my minutes break, and had to go to my last class of the day with Y. Now, Y is the pregnant co-teacher that made the example, "I am Big and Miss Brook is --- BIGGER!". She's the one that sent her neighbour/relative to my English club who doesn't go to my school without my consent whom I had to let go because the club's strictly for my school. Since then, she hasn't talked to me. She's ignored me in class and taught the English classes entirely in Russian. I dare you to figure THAT out! During my sick leave, which came during the silent treatment, she texted me over and over again, about 3 times a day, wanting to know how I was doing and whether I'd be back the next day. EVERY DAY! I ignored all the messages because I felt that she wasn't concerned about my health, she felt guilty of how she treated me and thought that she could be in trouble.
This was my first or 2nd day back from Sick leave. When I walked into one of her classes that morning she told me how happy she was to have me back. I didn't buy it.

5minutes after my break, I walked in to class expecting to be ignored. Y said, 'I have one question for you!'
Me: Yes?
She: I believe you've been complaining that you have too many classes with...
Me: who told you that?
She: (yelling) It doesn't matter who it was! The bottom line is you were complaining about my classes and that you don't like class 5A. You said they are stupid and loud and and and...
(A week before, Y, who has 5A, L has 5B, asked me to compare her 5A class with L's 5B. I told her that 5A is unruly, one of the pupils said F*#k you in class when I was teaching alone, one of the days. Y knows about that. I said there's no comparison, because the other class is well behaved. She wanted to know which class is smarter, adding that she thought hers was smarter. Again, feeling uncomfortable that they always want me to compare classes, especially she and L. I told her that whether or not her class is smarter, which it isn't, because I've marked their tests, the other one still wins because they pay attention and are well behaved and want to learn. That's more important to me. The other class is easier to work with. She translated all this to the pupils. Telling them that I said they're rude and stupid, things I didn't say.)
I felt like I was being confronted for the above conversation than what L had told her during the 5minute break. Which was impressively quick by the way!
Me: so you guys talked about me behind my back, and all of a sudden you don't want to mention names?
She: (yelling) if you don't want to work with me, I'm fine with it. I am pregnant! In 2weeks, I'll go on maternity leave. I don't care what happens here thereafter.
Me: So you've already made you mind up that you believe what the other person told you about me and you don't care what the truth is? I thought you were better than that, obviously I was wrong. I don't want to talk about this anymore. This is a waste of both our time, I don't know about you, but my time is very valuable.
She: I want to know the truth! That's why I'm bringing this up to you.
Me: no you don't. Your mind's made up. You're yelling at me. You and I have spent so much time together. I'm disappointed that you think I'd tall about you or anybody behind their backs. If I'd an issue, I'd discuss it with you before I did with other people.
She: Me too. (Lies. She obviously had plenty of issues with me. She wasn't talking to me for days.)
Me: What do you think L stood to gain from this?
She: I don't know and I don't care. This is her problem, not mine. If you still want to reduce your classes with me, we can do that.
Me: you recently added more of your classes on my schedule, clearly you want more time with me, it's not true that you don't care. And I'm going to talk to L about this. I'm shocked that she twisted my words in such a short space of time!
She: Please don't do that! I don't want drama! Let's just leave it.
Me: you should've thought about that before you confronted me. You should've had L in the room as well, when you confronted me. But you because you believed her, all that didn't matter.

I couldn't wait to see L again. We had a class together the next day. I looked at her and felt sorry for her like I do all Georgians. It would've been a waste of my time to confront her. It's good to know who I'm dealing with though. She had a huge smile on her face when she saw me. She complimented me on my pink gum boots. I fake smiled back and we moved on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Would you be my Armenian boy?

So there's this dude, I have been talking to for a while. For as long as I've been here actually. I only met him once. He called me recently and said he missed me, to go see him in his town, hours and hours away from here.
He bought me sms bundles and we exchanged a few sms-es. He told me to visit him and he would pay for my travelling expenses. Deal! It's not like I had anything better to do with myself that weekend. My weekends are long because I don't work Fridays and I only have 2 classes on Thursday, so yeah. I was like, you gon pay? I'm game! I finally got out of bed, and left the house after 1pm. Not a good idea for someone going so far away. But it was cold and wet!

I took the 2 o'clock marshrutka to Khashuri. We arrived there at 6. It was 0 degrees Celsius, dark, snowing, and THERE WERE NO MARSHRUTKAS! Not even one! Nobody spoke English! I felt like I was in a nightmare. I called dude and told what was up. He said, "oh, so you are in Khashuri? Take a marsh to Akhalkalaki" Which is where he was. I was like, but there are no marshrutkas! Ok, take a marshrutka here, and call me when you're close by, Click! He hung up. Awesome! I hitch hiked. I just wanted to get the heck out of that place I was literally freezing. I couldn't feel my toes and as usual, I was wearing the wrong shoes. I got a lift from 2brothers that were going to Akhaltsikhe, 1.5hrs from Akhalkalaki (yeah these are two different towns) where I used to live before. They knew all my friends from Akhaltsikhe. They turned the heater on full blast for me, and fed me mandarins (naartjies) and kiwis (obviously not New Zealanders! I'm not a cannibal, you know). The brothers were tired. And half asleep, we almost crashed or drove off the road the the 90minutes I was in the car with them.

While on the way, I called my police friends, no one answered the phone, they didn't return my texts either. Fabulous! I finally got hold of another cop that didn't speak English, I shoved my phone to one of the brothers that kinda spoke English, He told my friend I needed a place to stay for the night. My friend was excited, I was excited. Perfect! Dude called to find out how far I was, I told him I had to hitch hike and was on my way to Akhaltsikhe, if he wanted to see me, he had to pick me up from Akhaltsikhe or I was going to sleep at my friend's house and take a marsh back to Batumi the next day. He was like, "Brook please! I have no car! My friend that has a car is in Armenia. Please take a marsh here" I told him but it was too late and there were no marsh's anymore. He told me to take a cab and he would pay. I told my police friends. They felt badly that they couldn't just take me there with their petrol but they were broke. Which I totally understood. They took me to a cab the guy said he wanted GEL50 (R200). I told my dude, he said, that's a rip off, it should be 30 (R120) . The cab driver couldn't be haggled. My friend said, he would drive me there if I bought him petrol for the 30 Lari this dude was willing to pay. I called and explained that to him, he said that wasn't a problem, he would reimburse me. Cool!

The drive took forever because there was snow all over the roads. My driver didn't seem to care because, well I still think there's something going on between the married female police office that came with us. They are both married. To other people. We finally arrived in Akhalkalaki, around 9/10. We called dude, he came out running, aw, how romantic! He carried my bag, we ran to his house in the snow. It was beautiful there. And very very cold! There was about 10cm of snow. We went to his apartment, where he had a very small heater. He is Armenian, I couldn't resist singing him, "Would you be my Armenian boy" Cheesy, I know but who doesn't like cheeseburger every now and again, right?

Cut to when the blankets caught on fire from the heater.......
Cut to just before bedtime around 1am, when Dude told me he loved me so much he wanted to take me to Tbilisi the next day. Aw so sweet! He further explained that he would set his alarm for 4am. A.M.! FOUR IN THE MORNING! I was like, uhm what exactly are we going to do in Tbilisi?
"My friend has a big problem and he needs my help"
And what will I do while you're helping your friend?
"You will take a marsh to Batumi"
I BEG YOUR PARDON? So I should wake up in the morning to head back to Batumi? NO! NO! NO! Not gonna happen! I need to sleep this place is cold! I am not go sleep for three hours because your friend has a problem. You can go to Tbilisi, and I will sleep here, you will find me here when you're done.
"Ok you can stay with us then but we will only come back the next day"
Where are we going to sleep?
"In the car"
What? Heck No!
You have a bed, I have a bed There's no reason for me to sleep in a car in Tbilisi. You said I should come visit for the weekend, I am here, you said we'd go for a walk in the town, go to a restaurant and come back and drink beer or wine. I am still waiting to do all of that? I am not going to Tbilisi, tell your friend you can't make it this time around.
"Brook, Please! You have friends, yeah? ... You love them? Then you know how I feel"

I just slept. Around 5am, the alarm went off. Time to wake up. I was like, you're serious about this, aren't you? Well, I still need to sleep. Tell me where to leave your key when I'm done sleeping. Just leave me my transport money. Let's go to Tbilisi, please! I fake cried, he felt badly and told me to stay. Then I was like what if this mutha doesn't come back until it's time for me to head back to Batumi! Let me rather stick it up, and go to Tbilisi. I was up already anyway.

The 2hr ride to Tbilisi, took 5hours! The driver was driving at 15km/h It was a long drive! We were driving on snow. Every now and again the guys had to get off  and push or just get off, to minimise weight in the car. By the way, there were e other friends in the car, besides the driver, the main friend that had a problem. When I saw them, I thought to myself, clearly your friend doesn't need you that much because he has two other friends. There were no introductions, the friend at the back wouldn't stop saying zangi (nigga). I had to sms dude and tell him to tell his friend to stop calling me zangi. He said he wasn't talking about me, I said it doesn't matter, tell him to stop using the word in my presence. He didn't, the word was used all the way till Tbilisi.

Cut to an hour before we arrived in Tbilisi, dude got on the phone, he whispered sweet nothings for about half an hour when I was like, is this dude for real? Can he really disrespect a woman like this! I was tempted to be super dramatic, grab the phone and throw it out the window. I  hanged my mind. He wasn't worthy of a reaction. The call lasted an hour. We arrived at the marsh station, he got off to find a Batumi marsh for me, came back carried my bag for me, ever the gentlemen and walked me to my marsh. He paid the driver 20Lari (R80) and showed me in. I asked him where the rest of my money was that he had promised to refund me. I had spent 50LAri (R200) to get to him the night before. I could write it off but not for a behind like him that clearly has no respect for women. I was still kind of pissed off from him talking to a woman in my presence that long, I'd been disrespected my men before, but nobody had disrespected me like that. Especially a random dude that wasn't even my man. He told me he didn't have money, I was like I BEG YOUR PARDON! I want my money and I am not leaving here until you give me all the money you promised to pay me back. After a few minutes of drama, the people in the marsh looking at us, him, trying to stay out of sight from his friends that were still in the car and the marsh drivers asking what's going on and him calling me a zangi (nigga). I didn't care, I was too pissed off to care. Nothing these people say can hurt my feelings, I feel sorry for them instead. Drama, drama and more drama, he told me he didn't understand what I wanted him to refund me for because my friend took me to his place and therefore there was no money spent. I was like, I had to pay for their petrol, call them and ask them. Plus if you're so broke, how would you have paid for the cab? You told me to take a cab and you would pay... didn't work, he told me, "This is not my problem, Brook". I was like, SAY WHAT?! I wouldn't take my bag back from him, so he threw it on the ground and walked away. I told him to walk away, but if he did, he should do so knowing that he would pay a very costly price because my friends are police officers in his town, they know where he stays, I know where he stays, they've met him, they know what he looks like. He said, "Oh you wanna call your friends?" And gave me his phone, I took it and was about to call my friend when he said, ok, how much do you want from me? As if I am taking advantage of him or something. I told him the amount, 70 Lari, he asked his friend with a big problem. He gave him the money. I got my money, got in the marsh, which was apparently waiting for me the entire time. Not before I told him to pick my bag up. IT was still lying where he dropped it. Of course if we were in South Africa, I would have picked it up immediately, or else, it would be old news, by the time I went back for it.

I had motion sickness all the way to Batumi, it was the worst I've had it in a very long time. Probably because before the 6hours to Batumi, I'd already been on the road for 5Hours and was pissed off.
His last words were, "you are a bad girl!" I told him not to dare call me a bad girl when he is the bad person for doing me like that. I sent him an 8page sms telling him exactly what I thought of him. He said but you have money, Brook, I know that, and you know I don't have money, why would you make me pay you back. Er, because you promised s hole!

When I arrived in Batumi, I paid the driver, he told me dude had already paid. Which means he paid me 20 Lari too much. I called to confirm if he had paid for my marsh so I could refund him, I wasn't hungry for his money, it was the principle behind making empty promises to people and disrespecting women. I told him to text me his banking details and soon changed my mind about giving his money back because s holes don't deserve anything.

He's been calling me and texting me, Brook where is my money, I have no money Brook. I will text him just now and tell him his bank was too far, I had to take a cab, pay 20 lari one way, and 20 back thus I didn't deposit his money and he now owes me 20Lari. Just for the fun of i!

















Breathe, Brook, Breathe!

Tuesday, 8 November

Work as usual, lots of breaks inbetween classes on tuesdays. I finally bought my pink Gumboots/Rubber boots/ Rain Boots (Michelle!) / Wellingtons. I finished work around 3 and came home to thaw myself infront of the heater, then back to work for my English Club. While at the club, I got a call from D. She told me her friend M was in town, she had an event she was going to attended and wanted to take me with her there. I told her to get M to call me. After the club, I got a lift home. M called, she wanted to meet up or something, I walked to my friend Tim's shoe shop to meet her there. It's easier to find than my place. Tim, ever so nice, had the heater on, he offered me a seat and we chatted away. M came over, with a Georgian friend of hers. She made a face and said, let's go, like Tim's place was beneath her. When outside, I asked what's going on? What's this event she's going to. Apparently, she was going to dinner with a much older Georgian male friend and wanted me to be a third wheel. Story of my life. I didn't understand why she couldn't go with her already there Georgian friend. She as like, come on, let's go! Where's your place? I asked where the "friend" was and when we were supposed to hook up with him. She said we could talk about that, it didn't have to be that night. Alrighty then! I guess we'll be going to my place then!

It was my host grandson's birthday. I gave host mom his birthday, introduced my M and her friend and we went into my room to defrost. They brought us yummilicious snacks from the birthday party. We talked about boys and life in Georgia  M told us stories about her men, her life, her this that and the other. I tried to squeeze in a few questions to her Georgian friend, wanting to get to know her, but we'd somehow end up listening to M talking about her fabulous life. Fortunately,  Her friend's uncle called, he was outside, he had come to pick them up

I got into bed, it must have been around 8 or so, heater on, ready for the night when I got a call from my friend Lo, she wanted a place to stay for the night at 9:30. I felt weird because I just had 2friends over and now another one wants to come spend the night. I didn't know how my family would react to that.I told Lo I had a weird feeling about that because it was too late, to have someone come over for the night. She stayed over at my other friend's who has his own apartment. After I felt guilty, gave in and asked my host mom if she could come spend the night and she said sure. I called Lo back and she said, "never mind, I'll sleep here at V's" okay then, I'll just go back to my host mom and un-ask her!

The next day after work, I got a call from Lo who said she needed a place to crash for the night. It was around 7pm. She said she was hanging out with a friend and was also waiting for 2 other people who would be available after 9:30pm. Which meant she would come over same time as the night before, which was a problem. She said if that was late for me, she would come over there and then, meat the family and leave after 9 to meet those people and come back. I told her I thought that was a good idea. I waited for her, until I forgot what I was waiting for, and went to bed around 10. It was freezing outside. I'd been indoors since after work around 4.

She called me around 10:30, she told me she was at V's picking her stuff up and would like me to wake up, get dressed, go outside, in the freezing cold,   me to go help carry her stuff. I suggested she ask V who was right there and a man to help her. She said, "oh yeah, I'll ask him". I waited for about half an hour, NOTHING. I thought she decided to sleep over at V's considering she knew how I felt about people rocking out at mine in the middle of the night to sleep over. And that she didn't make the effort by coming over when we agreed that she should, and instead chose to chill with a friend. I was ridiculous, I know, I actually expected her to respect my family! I don't know what I was thinking. At 11:30 I got a call from her that she was getting lost somewhere near my place. Great! I'm gonna have my first overnight guest at midnight! She said to come out she was outside, but didn't know where the entrance was. I got up, got dressed, went outside. She was nowhere to be found. I called her, NO ANSWER! I didn't even hesitate to head back to mine. As I got back in, she called and said, "hi. So..." I was like, dude where are you? I am not sure, but it seems like I am headed to the right direction. Can you come out and meet me at school #4, a school that's near my place. I hesitated, but was like, you know what, let's get this over and done with. So I had to open the door again, hoping not to wake the family up. I went out grumbling and mumbling to myself, wondering why I found myself wandering the streets of Georgia in my night dress in the middle of the night. I got to the school and called her. NO ANSWER! Great! Here I am standing in the middle of the street, freezing my hinds off, trying to find someone that doesn't know where she is, and she's not answering her phone!
She called me back, "Sorry, I didn't hear the phone!" WHAT? YOU'RE THE ONLY PERSON WALKIN IN THE STREET IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND YOU DIDN'T HEAR THE PHONE? HOW'S THAT POSSIBLE? WHERE ARE YOU?  I WANT TO WALK TOWARDS YOU COS I CAN'T BE STANDING HERE LIKE THIS, THESE GUYS WILL THINK I'M A PROSTITUTE, "No, wait for me there, I'm coming. I found someone who knows where the school, I am definitely on my way there. Click" Great, she just hung up on me! I walked back home trying to remember to breathe.

AS I got home, I got a call, she wanted to know where I was, I told her I was back at mine, she said, ok, I got a lift, I will call you when I get there. When she was outside, she did call indeed, I told her to ask her friend to help her up the stairs, I wasn't about to leave the house again for the third time, for the same mission. What's this? MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 13? She walked up, with a huge backpack. Of course, I felt sorry for her, but it was midnight, my host family was asleep. I felt guilty for all the commotion.

We stayed up and chatted for about an hour to an hour and a half and went to sleep.






Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Finding Lilo

I woke up nice and refreshed at D's. B and I had plans to go to the park, I called him, his cell was off, I sent him a text, hoping he'd get back to me at some point. D wanted to do her hair. We went over to her friend A's. We took a bus there, it's on the other end of Tbilisi, man that was far! A was excited to see us. We brought them some of the apples from Akhaltsikhe. She curently lives with her sister-in-law, who speaks her mother-tongue from Cameroon and French. So she and I exchanged a lot of smiles.

They did D's hair, I baby sat, secretly hoping B would call so I would get the heck out of there. They spoke mainly French and something else, and some English, even when they did, I didn't know they were cos I just zoned out. I made a few phone calls trying to get my other friend, N's number. I got it! YES! I called him, he said he would come over to pick me up. SUCCESS! I didn't know how long he would be,so I decided to go to Lilo, the biggest bazaar in the Caucasus. Imagine that! The entire Caucasus, that include Russia, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the works. I was ready to leave when D told me the place closes at 4. I called a friend of mine who confirmed with her Georgian friends that it closes at 9pm. Great! D said no it doesn't, blah blah blah. On my way to the marshrutka (taxi), I bumped into A, she told me I couldn't leave yet, she just bought ingredients to cook me a special meal. Great! Back to the house. She made fufu (paap), chicken and slimy soup. The slimy soup is SLIMY! It's not for the faint hearted, I tell ya. To make a bad situation worse, I had already eaten not too long beforehand, She had made us yum pork chops, French fries and bread, so I was full from that. I had half of my plate, trying not to make faces, and I was DONE! Done!

I finally left, if you know me, I have issues with travelling on a full stomach, I was even more concerned with travelling with a stomach full of something slimy. This should be fun! Well, that was the least of my concerns once I got on the road! It's a 1hr marsh ride to some place I had to get off for my marsh to Lilo bazaar. I got off and some guys told me where to queue for my Lilo ride. As soon as I got there, a marsh came and I squeezed myself in and off we went. That was some scary ride! It was 7:30 ish in the evening, it was dark, we drove in dodgy, dark, narrow roads, near the river, at some point I thought we'd miss the road and drive into the river. I was like OMG how will anyone know to look for me here! Where am I? That was a very long 30 minutes! Finally, we arrived! Kinda! The two girls that speak English had told me we'd get off together, they told me, "we're here!" Uhm! Really? Uhm, so this is Lilo? Yes it is. What number do you want to go to? Uhm, I want to go to the bazaar, I will see inside if I want to buy anything at all, otherwise I need a few things. Well, we don't have a bazaar here, just a few shops and stalls. What would you like to buy? Uhm, clothes?
I told you I'm going to Lilo bazaar or Lilo Mall. Is it on this street? It's supposed to be a huge bazaar.
AAAAAhhhhhh! Come please! She took be back to the marsh and asked him how to get to Lilo. THEY'D TAKEN ME TO LILO STREET! Seriously! I told everyone who cared to listen that I was going to Lilo mall or bazaar. And they took me to Lilo STREET! What would they reckon I wanted there? In the middle of nowhere! I didn't even know what that suburb was. I literally was int he middle of nowhere. It was 8pm and super dark.

The marsh driver said to take a cab for 3 Lari. I said never mind, I'm not taking another means of transport to get to this godforsaken place. Don't worry about it. They said it's not far, their idea of not far could mean anything, seeing as their idea of Lilo bazaar was lilo street. I went to the cab and he immediately hiked the fare up to 5 lari. I said 3 lari or nothing more, he said 5, I was like screw you! I no longer want to go there anyway! I went back to my marsh and tried to tell him I am going back to Tbilisi, I didn't know if I was still in Tbilisi to begin with. I was so frustrated, I forgot all the Georgian I knew. This guy spoke no word of English. I sat in there hoping that marsh was going back to the city. It got full, people stared at me, you know, the usual. I prayed a never ending prayer. We headed to what seemed as the way we came in. about 10 mins late, the driver told me to get off. I was like, uhm, this is not the centre of Tbilisi! Nobody understood what  the heck I was mumbling. I told him I was going to Tbilisi. Wondering if I was in a wrong marsh once again. He pointed me towards  Lilo direction, I said no sorry, it's late now, they close at 9, of course he didn't understand. I just said, tsa videt! (let's go!). I told him I wanted to get off by a Metro station towards Marjanishvili. He said aaaahhhh! (By the way, that can mean anything from Oh, I get it! to WTF are you talking about. Both are said exactly the same tone of voice.).

He dropped me off where he picked me up before, I went underground and found the Metro, thank Goodness! I saw a group of teenage boys, they pointed at me and burst out laughing. They followed me to the carriage. I walked through carriages, 3 carriages away from the crazy bastards, I was having a great day as it was, and didn't want it to get any better. I found a nice and quiet where I sat and chilled with my thoughts. 2 stops of so down the line, they teens found me! They budged in, pointed at me again and burst out laughing, sitting right next to me. They laughed until I got to my stop. I looked around to see if anyone would try to stop them. A girl sitting across from me looked at them with disgust, an older man across them looked at them in awe and laughed along with them.

Finally! Time for me to get off! I walked up to D's, then I remembered I hadn't called to find out if she were back home. Just as I was thinking about her, she called telling me she was on her way back and would be at the house in 5minutes. It started drizzling. I was so over everything. On my way to Lilo, N called and told me he was on his way to pick me up. He was shocked when I told him I was on my way to Lilo, when I got dropped off at "Lilo" I didn't blame him for his reaction. I was supposed to tell him when I got back to the house, I did and he neither returned my text nor took my calls.

Once again, I was glad to be safely back at the house.