Saturday, September 24, 2011

Batumi Public School #7

School year started on 15th September. I'm still not sure why. It's really weird for me because in South Africa, school year begins with the beginning of the year. In January. I want to know what everybody did the whole year until September, in the beginning of time, that made them only start School towards the end of the year. I got a call from my reginal rep telling me not to set foot on the school premises before I've attended the introduction meeting. I asked her where the meeting was going to be held. She said, listen to this: she told me to go to the school, meet my co-teachers and then catch a lift with them to the meeting. This is of course, withought actually setting foot on the school premises. I told her I'd love to do that, it's must better than trying to find the meeting place, if only I knew where the school itself was. She laughed, bade be good bye and hung up. She called me again, closer to the day of the meeting, I reiterated that I didn't know where the school was. She laughed and hung up. I guess this was an inside joke she shared with herself. Sending me to a school I didn't know to meet people I didn't know, that spoke a language I don't speak, to take me to a meeting place I didn't know. All in a day's work. I found the school, its about 15 - 20 mins (walk) from my home. None of the teachers I met, including the principal spoke English. I sat in the principal's office, she gave me a huge bouquet of flowers that I'm convinced was given to her. I know because of how they looked at each other when she gave it to me. And everyone had a huge bouquet of flowers each. It's some kind of a tradition, first day of school celebration. I met their care taker. A very pleasant man, who speaks English. She asked me if I know some American English teacher I don't know. And told me that guy's his friend. He's been hear for a while now and is married to a Georgian woman. We had our Batumi introductory meeting at the Dept of Edu something something. We all went there in one car. When we arrive, we got out of the car. Someone told me to go back and get my flowers and parade with them. I didn't feel comfortable with this at all. Its very Georgian to show off to the world that they have a foreigner and are very nice to IT! There were limited seats in the meeting room and my flowers needed their own seats. I wished my flowers dead there for a moment. Until another lady walked in with a much much smaller bouquet! Yay! There were 4 other foreign teachers, their co-teachers and school directors (principals). The meeting lasted 2 hours. It felt more like 48, so boring and unnecessary like all meeting and training sessions I've attended here. My co-teachers rushed home after the meeting. I only managed to exchange number with one other teacher, Monica. She moved here a day prior. I know that for sure because, I got a call at 6am from the Regional rep asking me which vagon I was on (wagon aka train carriage). I of course told her I was in bed, sleeping at my new home. Wrong number. Beep! ed on 15th September. I'm still not sure why. It's really weird for me because in South Africa, school year begins with the beginning of the year. In January. I want to know what everybody did the whole year until September, in the beginning of time, that made them only start School towards the end of the year. I got a call from my reginal rep telling me not to set foot on the school premises before I've attended the introduction meeting. I asked her where the meeting was going to be held. She said, listen to this: she told me to go to the school, meet my co-teachers and then catch a lift with them to the meeting. This is of course, withought actually setting foot on the school premises. I told her I'd love to do that, it's must better than trying to find the meeting place, if only I knew where the school itself was. She laughed, bade be good bye and hung up. She called me again, closer to the day of the meeting, I reiterated that I didn't know where the school was. She laughed and hung up. I guess this was an inside joke she shared with herself. Sending me to a school I didn't know to meet people I didn't know, that spoke a language I don't speak, to take me to a meeting place I didn't know. All in a day's work. I found the school, its about 15 - 20 mins (walk) from my home. None of the teachers I met, including the principal spoke English. I sat in the principal's office, she gave me a huge bouquet of flowers that I'm convinced was given to her. I know because of how they looked at each other when she gave it to me. And everyone had a huge bouquet of flowers each. It's some kind of a tradition, first day of school celebration. I met their care taker. A very pleasant man, who speaks English. She asked me if I know some American English teacher I don't know. And told me that guy's his friend. He's been hear for a while now and is married to a Georgian woman. We had our Batumi introductory meeting at the Dept of Edu something something. We all went there in one car. When we arrive, we got out of the car. Someone told me to go back and get my flowers and parade with them. I didn't feel comfortable with this at all. Its very Georgian to show off to the world that they have a foreigner and are very nice to IT! There were limited seats in the meeting room and my flowers needed their own seats. I wished my flowers dead there for a moment. Until another lady walked in with a much much smaller bouquet! Yay! There were 4 other foreign teachers, their co-teachers and school directors (principals). The meeting lasted 2 hours. It felt more like 48, so boring and unnecessary like all meeting and training sessions I've attended here. My co-teachers rushed home after the meeting. I only managed to exchange number with one other teacher, Monica. She moved here a day prior. I know that for sure because, I got a call at 6am from the Regional rep asking me which vagon I was on (wagon aka train carriage). I of course told her I was in bed, sleeping at my new home. Wrong number. Beep!

Dinner with the President.

Sunday, 18th September 2011 Saturday afternoon, I got an email from head office inviting us to watch a show Keto and Kote (Georgian Romeo and Juliet) at the Opera House with the President of Georgia. I was in! Apparently teachers from other regions had transportation and accommodations/meals paid for. Michelle and I were slightly jealous. I thought, we'll just crash their hotels after the show. My host dad dropped me off at the Intourist Hotel where the other teachers would be staying. I went to meet up with Lo, another teacher based in Batumi. I saw a few of the co ordinators, some I'd never met, one was one of the first people I met in Georgia. About 15minutes later Lo arrived. We lingered around the hotel, she tried to get a room, unsuccessfully. We all were taken to the Opera House in 2 big buses. The Opera house is amazing! It's so beautiful with lots of water fountains in and out of the building. There were a lot of teachers there. I met two South Africans, a guy from Cape Town and one from Durban. I also got to hang out with Monica, another Batumi teacher. I saw Latoya, a nice chick I met my first weekend in Batumi. It was nice to see her. She has a very good vibe about her. I can't wait to actually get to spend time with her. I saw a few of my group members, I had called Harriet and Amy during the day to find out what everyone's wearing. They neither took my calls nor returned them. Amy's excuse was that she heard I've moved to Batumi and thought I'd be at the Opera, therefore we'd talk there. So basically, she ignored my call because she wasn't going to talk to me on the phone and, later in person. Fair enough. For each his own! I didn't bother to ask Harriet why she didn't take my calls. Michelle called her while we were at the Opera house, she didn't take her call either. I sat next to a nice older lady, who's also a teacher and is based not to far from Batumi, unfortunately, we didn't get to exchange numbers. On my right was Monica and next to her was Michelle who felt so bad that we didn't get seats next to our group members. Before the show, I saw Josh, my old friend from Kutaisi. He was talking to Amy, who saw me and waved. I pointed at Josh, signalling for her to tell him I wanted to sign. I thought that was a universal gesture, I guess not where she's from as she looked at me very perplexed. I kept pointing at Josh like a fool, and not once did she think to tell him to say hi to me. Knowing that I know him and he and I used to be friends once. Sometime while we were all seated waiting for the president, Josh did see me and waved at me. The president came in about 30minutes late. He walked straight to his seat with a few not scary looking men. I later heard that one was the Prince of Moroco, I guess the rest were body guards? The show was nice. It lasted 2hours. It was in Georgian and there were English 'subtitles' on a a screen atop the stage. After the show, I found out, I'm the only one that actually ejoyed the performance. That made me laugh out loud. Partly because of how people kept applauding during the performance, that made me think they were enjoying it. I guess that's another not so universal gesture. No word from the President. Not even a wave, or a pause on stage for us to take photos. NOTHING! Lo and I got on one of the buses. We wanted to be dropped off either at our homes or at the hotels and we'd figure our way home from there. We got kicked out of the bus. Because we weren't on that bus before blah blah blah. She then found a bus with her friends and called me to go join them. I was over running around begging for a lift for a company I worked for that actually took me there in a bus. I told my regional I needed to get home and asked her who's responsible for that. You'd think that since people from 8 hours away or so, got free transportation, food and nice hotel accommodation, they wouldn't mind giving us lifts in the buses for a 5km ride! They did! I got a lift with Beth's connections. She's also a teacher in the Batumi area. Lo called and said to join them at the hotel. I had to pass, it was midnight and I didn't have any friends there. I had had enough awkwardness for one day. I talked to Michelle for a bit. She was half asleep, I let her go and went to sleep myself. She apparently ended up working on the computer for 3 or 4 more hours thereafter. Go figure! 2011 Saturday afternoon, I got an email from head office inviting us to watch a show Keto and Kote (Georgian Romeo and Juliet) at the Opera House with the President of Georgia. I was in! Apparently teachers from other regions had transportation and accommodations/meals paid for. Michelle and I were slightly jealous. I thought, we'll just crash their hotels after the show. My host dad dropped me off at the Intourist Hotel where the other teachers would be staying. I went to meet up with Lo, another teacher based in Batumi. I saw a few of the co ordinators, some I'd never met, one was one of the first people I met in Georgia. About 15minutes later Lo arrived. We lingered around the hotel, she tried to get a room, unsuccessfully. We all were taken to the Opera House in 2 big buses. The Opera house is amazing! It's so beautiful with lots of water fountains in and out of the building. There were a lot of teachers there. I met two South Africans, a guy from Cape Town and one from Durban. I also got to hang out with Monica, another Batumi teacher. I saw Latoya, a nice chick I met my first weekend in Batumi. It was nice to see her. She has a very good vibe about her. I can't wait to actually get to spend time with her. I saw a few of my group members, I had called Harriet and Amy during the day to find out what everyone's wearing. They neither took my calls nor returned them. Amy's excuse was that she heard I've moved to Batumi and thought I'd be at the Opera, therefore we'd talk there. So basically, she ignored my call because she wasn't going to talk to me on the phone and, later in person. Fair enough. For each his own! I didn't bother to ask Harriet why she didn't take my calls. Michelle called her while we were at the Opera house, she didn't take her call either. I sat next to a nice older lady, who's also a teacher and is based not to far from Batumi, unfortunately, we didn't get to exchange numbers. On my right was Monica and next to her was Michelle who felt so bad that we didn't get seats next to our group members. Before the show, I saw Josh, my old friend from Kutaisi. He was talking to Amy, who saw me and waved. I pointed at Josh, signalling for her to tell him I wanted to sign. I thought that was a universal gesture, I guess not where she's from as she looked at me very perplexed. I kept pointing at Josh like a fool, and not once did she think to tell him to say hi to me. Knowing that I know him and he and I used to be friends once. Sometime while we were all seated waiting for the president, Josh did see me and waved at me. The president came in about 30minutes late. He walked straight to his seat with a few not scary looking men. I later heard that one was the Prince of Moroco, I guess the rest were body guards? The show was nice. It lasted 2hours. It was in Georgian and there were English 'subtitles' on a a screen atop the stage. After the show, I found out, I'm the only one that actually ejoyed the performance. That made me laugh out loud. Partly because of how people kept applauding during the performance, that made me think they were enjoying it. I guess that's another not so universal gesture. No word from the President. Not even a wave, or a pause on stage for us to take photos. NOTHING! Lo and I got on one of the buses. We wanted to be dropped off either at our homes or at the hotels and we'd figure our way home from there. We got kicked out of the bus. Because we weren't on that bus before blah blah blah. She then found a bus with her friends and called me to go join them. I was over running around begging for a lift for a company I worked for that actually took me there in a bus. I told my regional I needed to get home and asked her who's responsible for that. You'd think that since people from 8 hours away or so, got free transportation, food and nice hotel accommodation, they wouldn't mind giving us lifts in the buses for a 5km ride! They did! I got a lift with Beth's connections. She's also a teacher in the Batumi area. Lo called and said to join them at the hotel. I had to pass, it was midnight and I didn't have any friends there. I had had enough awkwardness for one day. I talked to Michelle for a bit. She was half asleep, I let her go and went to sleep myself. She apparently ended up working on the computer for 3 or 4 more hours thereafter. Go figure!

The Break

I had initially planned to go to Thelavi in the East for my break. Unfortunately things happened and I couldn't go around celebrating in Georgia. Instead, I was online, looking for 'cheap flights', talking to family over the phone, sms-es (texts), guilt trips, crying endlessly, hoping and praying, going to the airport and travelling agencies. Giving up. Feeling guilty in the middle of the night, sobbing quietly in my room. Living on pain killers as I hardly slept but cried endlessly most nights. Starting the process all over again. When I finally saw the possibility of going home, it was too late! They didn't have space for me. I took a deep breath and was somewhat relieved at the thought that it was over. I did all I could. The rest was beyond my control. The funeral was on Saturday, the 17th. I cried almost the whole day. I couldn't get hold of my family the night before, nor the day of the funeral. I finally talked to my sister all of 3seconds but choked up crying and had to go. I hate to cry. I never want people to see or hear my cry. That was a slip off. Apparently she texted me back, but I didn't ge tit because she had run out of credit on her phone. I haven't felt that alone in a very very long time. I was alone in every sense of the word. I'd sometimes take a walk to the beach and just sit there and watch the waves and think deeply. Sometimes I'd feel better, sometimes weird. After the funeral, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders! I knew it was over, and there was nothing I could do about it! No more trying to see if I can still make it. None of that. on Saturday, the 17th. I cried almost the whole day. I couldn't get hold of my family the night before, nor the day of the funeral. I finally talked to my sister all of 3seconds but choked up crying and had to go. I hate to cry. I never want people to see or hear my cry. That was a slip off. Apparently she texted me back, but I didn't ge tit because she had run out of credit on her phone. I haven't felt that alone in a very very long time. I was alone in every sense of the word. I'd sometimes take a walk to the beach and just sit there and watch the waves and think deeply. Sometimes I'd feel better, sometimes weird. After the funeral, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders! I knew it was over, and there was nothing I could do about it! No more trying to see if I can still make it. None of that.

My New Home in Batumi

When I told Clintyna that I was moving to Batumi, Clint asked what I'd do if it's actually a little shack way out of the city, in the middle of nowhere. But they just call the area Batumi. I told him, having lived with 2 totally different host family, I'll be happy to move in with a family that wants me to live with them. All I want is a happy/positive environment in the home. It doesn't matter how much money they have or what their house looks like. Be careful what you wish for! I took a cab from the marshrutka station where the marshrutka from Akhaltsikhe had dropped me off in the rain. It took me to my new home with the help of my regional rep who was on the phone the entire time, directing the driver. My new host mother met me at the parking lot, she was wearing black. She looked rather different. I don't know, there was just something about how she looked. I tried to suss her out, but failed. She paid for my cab as the driver didn't have change for me. She had to run upstairs to get the money, I stood at the parking lot, at the entrance to this really dodgy smelling block of flats. It's really dirty down there! The entrance is rather small, it wouldn't be that hard to just sweep it every now and again. I'm not sure where the smell comes from. We then walked up a flight of stairs to a very dangerous looking lift (elevator) that only stays open for literally, a second. so the first person jumps in, and either lets it close and presses the same floor again, for it to think that it's where it was meant to go. Or keep the doors open with your own 2hands. I hopped in as well, with my huge 30kg suitcase. The lift doors don't close fully, so you can see through them and could even drop, I don't know, a cell phone through the opening? We got to our floor, it looked small, it's tiled with beige and brown tiles or carpet (tapyt). Not sure. Then, to the right was our entrance. What I thought was the entrance to 'our' flat, but later found out it's a passage to 2different flat entrances. It's tiled with really nice, new burgundy tiles. I was really happy to see that, when I thought it was my home, but, never mind! Then into my new home! My regional rep told me I'll be staying with a host mom, her mom and her daughter. Too many women under one roof if you ask me, but let's see how it pans out! Into the flat, there's a door right infront of you as you walk in, then another one to your immediate right. That's my room! She said: Welcome to our home! This is your room! Please rest! She pointed at the sleeper couch and told me that was my bed. Month room: it has a dining room table with 6 chairs, a huge wall to wall unit with china (dinner sets), a technics music system with a record player and cassette player,2huge speakers, a black piano and a chair infront of it. Basically, it's a dining room! With a sleeper couch squeezed in for me to sleep. It has a door. Yeah, that's a big deal here! The door doesn't have a lock just a handle. The door is the usual half frosted glass on top and half wood at the bottom. I thought to quickly unpack and see if any of my clothes are wet as the suitcase was on top of the marshrutka for while it rained for the entire 6hr trip. Some of the clothes on the side were damp, but no damage, thankfully. I looked around and realised there's no place for my clothes. WHAT? No wardrobe? You're going to host a lady and you don't have a wardrobe? Oh well! I thought, I'll just live off my suitcase for my year in Georgia. I took 3 of my dining chairs and packed my dry clothes. My host mom took my damp ones to hang them on the line in the balcony. The balcony is outside their bedroom. It's a bit slanted, I feel like I'm going to slip and fall off from the fifth floor whenever I'm on it. It's covered in blue sale, the sides (at least). So no standing on the balcony to people watch or check the view out. There are about 4 lines stacked really awkwardly and closely together but somehow the clothes do get dry. She offered me something to eat. I was famished! I can't eat before or during travel as I suffer from motion sickness. She took me to the tiny kitchen next to the small room opposite the main door. It's open plan, with the usual kitchen stuff, fridge, microwave. THEY HAVE A MICROWAVE! So good bye cold food! A dining table and chairs (yeah, a second one). Which gave me hope that they won't be using the one I'm my bedroom. (Holding thumbs). I went to the bathroom, it's also tiny, and really really dirty! The only thing clean in there is the toilet, thank goodness! Other than that, the curtain shower is filthy! It looks like, it used to be blue, but now is really dark brown. You can tell it's never been washed. They have 2small mats infront of the bathtub and the sink, both are brownish/greyish. They look like they used to be yellow. There's hair all over the place. I ate, fresh bread, made out of her bread making machine, and chicken stew. It was delicious. She also made chilli sauce, which I really enjoyed. All the utensils, looked slightly unclean. She called to a man in the small room next to my room and introduced him as her husband. WHAT? THERE'S A MAN IN THIS HOUSE? He's super tall, could easily be 2metres. I asked her who else lives with them. She told me she has 3daughters. WHAT? How come I didn't know any of this! Then proceeded to say they all leave abroad, France, Germany and Budapest. She lives with her husband, and her 3year old grandson. Yeah! Not with her daughter and grand daughter Indira! Do your homework! My host dad told me they have wi-fi! Yippee! Or not! Depends how fast it actually is! I might not even be able to watch any programmes online. Which is what I need the internet for. Otherwise, I can just use my blackberry. He set my laptop up and I was ready to go. Of course, I stopped whatever I was doing, and went to my favourite site to see if I can watch anything. And I could! Score! We chatted a bit and I went to bed (read: internet). I couldn't watch programmes anymore! Great! I spent a huge amount of time trying! Until I just went to sleep. The move was during our 5day break before the beginning of school year. I spent an enormous amount of that time, looking at flights home, for the funeral, crying, being super sad. Considering leaving. Realising how silly that idea was. Talking to my sis back home and missing my sis who was vacationing in Europe, and my friend Michelle who was vacationing in Turkey. I felt so alone and spent a lot of money on the phone. My host dad, gave me a new 1 or 2GIG ram because mine was too small at 500MB. Which was surprising to me as I remember clearly buying 2 500MB rams in Melville (Johannesburg) which means one of the people I took my PC to for fixing, who ended up not fixing it, stole my ram. I looked through my window at my view, I can see the Sheraton hotel! Perfect! I really am in Batumi! Sigh! hat I was moving to Batumi, Clint asked what I'd do if it's actually a little shack way out of the city, in the middle of nowhere. But they just call the area Batumi. I told him, having lived with 2 totally different host family, I'll be happy to move in with a family that wants me to live with them. All I want is a happy/positive environment in the home. It doesn't matter how much money they have or what their house looks like. Be careful what you wish for! I took a cab from the marshrutka station where the marshrutka from Akhaltsikhe had dropped me off in the rain. It took me to my new home with the help of my regional rep who was on the phone the entire time, directing the driver. My new host mother met me at the parking lot, she was wearing black. She looked rather different. I don't know, there was just something about how she looked. I tried to suss her out, but failed. She paid for my cab as the driver didn't have change for me. She had to run upstairs to get the money, I stood at the parking lot, at the entrance to this really dodgy smelling block of flats. It's really dirty down there! The entrance is rather small, it wouldn't be that hard to just sweep it every now and again. I'm not sure where the smell comes from. We then walked up a flight of stairs to a very dangerous looking lift (elevator) that only stays open for literally, a second. so the first person jumps in, and either lets it close and presses the same floor again, for it to think that it's where it was meant to go. Or keep the doors open with your own 2hands. I hopped in as well, with my huge 30kg suitcase. The lift doors don't close fully, so you can see through them and could even drop, I don't know, a cell phone through the opening? We got to our floor, it looked small, it's tiled with beige and brown tiles or carpet (tapyt). Not sure. Then, to the right was our entrance. What I thought was the entrance to 'our' flat, but later found out it's a passage to 2different flat entrances. It's tiled with really nice, new burgundy tiles. I was really happy to see that, when I thought it was my home, but, never mind! Then into my new home! My regional rep told me I'll be staying with a host mom, her mom and her daughter. Too many women under one roof if you ask me, but let's see how it pans out! Into the flat, there's a door right infront of you as you walk in, then another one to your immediate right. That's my room! She said: Welcome to our home! This is your room! Please rest! She pointed at the sleeper couch and told me that was my bed. Month room: it has a dining room table with 6 chairs, a huge wall to wall unit with china (dinner sets), a technics music system with a record player and cassette player,2huge speakers, a black piano and a chair infront of it. Basically, it's a dining room! With a sleeper couch squeezed in for me to sleep. It has a door. Yeah, that's a big deal here! The door doesn't have a lock just a handle. The door is the usual half frosted glass on top and half wood at the bottom. I thought to quickly unpack and see if any of my clothes are wet as the suitcase was on top of the marshrutka for while it rained for the entire 6hr trip. Some of the clothes on the side were damp, but no damage, thankfully. I looked around and realised there's no place for my clothes. WHAT? No wardrobe? You're going to host a lady and you don't have a wardrobe? Oh well! I thought, I'll just live off my suitcase for my year in Georgia. I took 3 of my dining chairs and packed my dry clothes. My host mom took my damp ones to hang them on the line in the balcony. The balcony is outside their bedroom. It's a bit slanted, I feel like I'm going to slip and fall off from the fifth floor whenever I'm on it. It's covered in blue sale, the sides (at least). So no standing on the balcony to people watch or check the view out. There are about 4 lines stacked really awkwardly and closely together but somehow the clothes do get dry. She offered me something to eat. I was famished! I can't eat before or during travel as I suffer from motion sickness. She took me to the tiny kitchen next to the small room opposite the main door. It's open plan, with the usual kitchen stuff, fridge, microwave. THEY HAVE A MICROWAVE! So good bye cold food! A dining table and chairs (yeah, a second one). Which gave me hope that they won't be using the one I'm my bedroom. (Holding thumbs). I went to the bathroom, it's also tiny, and really really dirty! The only thing clean in there is the toilet, thank goodness! Other than that, the curtain shower is filthy! It looks like, it used to be blue, but now is really dark brown. You can tell it's never been washed. They have 2small mats infront of the bathtub and the sink, both are brownish/greyish. They look like they used to be yellow. There's hair all over the place. I ate, fresh bread, made out of her bread making machine, and chicken stew. It was delicious. She also made chilli sauce, which I really enjoyed. All the utensils, looked slightly unclean. She called to a man in the small room next to my room and introduced him as her husband. WHAT? THERE'S A MAN IN THIS HOUSE? He's super tall, could easily be 2metres. I asked her who else lives with them. She told me she has 3daughters. WHAT? How come I didn't know any of this! Then proceeded to say they all leave abroad, France, Germany and Budapest. She lives with her husband, and her 3year old grandson. Yeah! Not with her daughter and grand daughter Indira! Do your homework! My host dad told me they have wi-fi! Yippee! Or not! Depends how fast it actually is! I might not even be able to watch any programmes online. Which is what I need the internet for. Otherwise, I can just use my blackberry. He set my laptop up and I was ready to go. Of course, I stopped whatever I was doing, and went to my favourite site to see if I can watch anything. And I could! Score! We chatted a bit and I went to bed (read: internet). I couldn't watch programmes anymore! Great! I spent a huge amount of time trying! Until I just went to sleep. The move was during our 5day break before the beginning of school year. I spent an enormous amount of that time, looking at flights home, for the funeral, crying, being super sad. Considering leaving. Realising how silly that idea was. Talking to my sis back home and missing my sis who was vacationing in Europe, and my friend Michelle who was vacationing in Turkey. I felt so alone and spent a lot of money on the phone. My host dad, gave me a new 1 or 2GIG ram because mine was too small at 500MB. Which was surprising to me as I remember clearly buying 2 500MB rams in Melville (Johannesburg) which means one of the people I took my PC to for fixing, who ended up not fixing it, stole my ram. I looked through my window at my view, I can see the Sheraton hotel! Perfect! I really am in Batumi! Sigh!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last day in Akhaltsikhe



 Friday, 9 Sept 2011



Thursday  the last groups took their final test and their final exam. I stayed at work, marking, until 6pm. After work, Tiko (my 2nd assistant) and I  headed for her village home.
I met her beautiful mom, she looks just like Tiko! Her 6year old daughter was not so shy this time around. I've met her on a few occasions, she could hardly say hi, she was so shy.

We had a supra for 4, Tiko, her dad, the baby and I. The food was absolutely delicious. I talked to friends over the phone, one left Georgia because of how his case was treated by the police at the station. He wanted to file a police report and apparently had to wait 4hours for that not to happen.

Michelle and a few others left for Turkey on Friday, I talked to her one last time before that.

Tiko introduced me to the Epilator. Just what I need, seeing as it's hard to find Hair remover creams like Veet  here and I'm not a big fan of Gillette blades or whatever they're called. I have one, but...

We went to sleep around 11. That house is COLD! It was so warm outside and yet freezing in the house. I cringe to think what it must be like in Winter. We spent about half an hour, trying to find me something to wear to bed. Nothing fit! Tiko said: Brook, you're fat! I was like "ya think?". We finally found pyjama bottoms and I wore the top I had on during the day to bed.
I slept like a baby and didn't want to get up. I did get up around 3 to use the outside toilet. I took my phone with me for light and locked myself outside! I went all around the house, trying to find a door that may have been mistakenly left unlocked. No such luck! I called Tiko. Thank God Georgian cellphones don't have Vibrate/Silent profiles nor the off button or else, she may have missed my call! She opened for me and I headed straight for bed. And was woken up at 8 by T. We had leftovers for breakfast, I just had chicken and cake. Yup, cake for breakfast. And it was divine!

Tiko dropped me off. I was on the phone for a while, texting my sister  who's on vacation in Europe. I eventually left for work around 12 to go mark the exams and finish off my work with the police. More and more tests came in from people I've never met before! Most of which were in the same handwriting. I marked, scored, uploaded on the system, printed 150 tests that day.
I finished around 5, with the help of Tiko. I cleared my class and left them a thank you note on the board and said goodbye to everybody all teary-eyed . Tiko took me home in her car, Lia came along. They went shopping for a gift for me. They found the shop closed. The next door shop owner gave them the number of the shop owner, they called them and went to pick them up at home so they can open the shop up for them. I went to Clintina to finally tell them I  was moving to Batumi to next day. Tiko and Lia were to catch up with me at Martyna's.

We had some caramel coated peanuts at Martyna's that Clint made. They were quite good as is everything Clint makes. He rocks in the kitchen, he'll make someone a very good wife someday. After breaking the news, they told me they were going to take the same marshrutka Saturday morning as well. Clint was going to Kutaisi, Martyna to Kobuleti.

Tiko picked me up and took me home. They bought me Georgian souvenirs. An original georgian house made of stone, two drinking horns and a drinking bowl. Really pretty!

She dropped me off and of course, waterworks again:(
I'm really going to miss my Akhaltsikhe network. I'm glad and honoured to have first lived there in my time in Georgia. I couldn't have asked for better friends, colleagues and students.

They're special people and will always have a place in my heart.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Farewell Party!

Wednesday 7 Sept More tests and exams. More and more students showed up to class. Some of whom I'd never even met. Lia, my assistant was very happy, saying what a good day it was going to be. They had booked Romantica restaurant for my farewell party. It was sweet of them. I asked one of my students, who used to be a professional Georgian dancer to perform for me. He said Yes! I didn't believe him. Who says yes that easily? I was done around 4 and exhausted. the staff I share an office with didn't want me to leave. They wanted me to wait for them until 6 and leave together for the party. I was too tired to entertain. I asked them to get me a lift. They told me to wait an hour for someone to take me home. It would've taken me 35mins to walk. I started walking. I had stomach cramps. I walked slowly holding my stomach. A gentleman driving past saw that I didn't look ok, he took me home. Score! I chilled at home, I may have watched a tv series episode or 3. And freshened up for the party. Lia picked me up with our friend from Borjomi. Everyone looked so nice! We made an entrance as we arrived almost an hour late. Everyone was waiting at the parking lot looking cute. It was nice to see my young student, they are the apple of my eye (or apples of my eyes if there's such a thing. There are 2 of them, so an apple for each eye;) right?). My students stood each side of the entrance of the restaurant and made way for me to walk inbetween them. It was so neat. I was blushing. I didn't wanna do it. It was embarrassing. When I got to the other side of the 'passage' someone was waiting for me with arms wide open, huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. So cute. And embarrassing. Less than an hour into dinner, and toasts, the dj played music. The party began! One of, dare I say my students? (He may have been to one, maximum 2 of my lessons in the entire 3mnths) asked for the first dance with me. No pressure at all. Georgian dance too! I had to impro, they weren't going to let me chicken out of that one. They told me it was Georgian tradition for the guest of honour to do the first dance. I didn't believe them, but I obliged. My 2cute students were sitting really far away from me, but in a good spot cos whenever I looked their way, I got winks and kisses. The 20 year old is convinced his the coolest dude and we might even be in a relationship in his mind. I don't mind. Pun intended. I danced, we danced, they danced. If you know me, you know I never miss out on an opportunity to dance. I'll dance to any type of music. Music is music! We ate and danced. The food was nice. It was cold, but nice. I tasted a bit of everything. I wasn't hungry. Fortunately they didn't force me to drink, I mean, they tried, but weren't persistent. I sat near Lia and Tiko, my friends and assistants. All the ladies sat together. It's always the case here. I pulled up my 20yr old for a dance, he reluctantly agreed. And did an Mc Hammer move for like a minute and ran back to his seat. Oh well:( Not too long thereafter, he came back on stage, when I saw him, I ran to dance with him: BEST DANCE OF MY LIFE! We danced to Spanish Lullaby (I think). He's such a great dancer! I'll remember that dance for a very long time to come. I can't even put it in words! His friend, the ex pro Georgian dancer, danced for me. THREE TIMES! The third time, he wanted to dance with me, unfortunately, I didn't want to ruin his flawless performances. They made a few more toast before the ladies (and I) left, one of which was to one of the officers' son who's in prison for murder. They asked if I wanted to say a few words. I had nothing to say. I took a minute to think of something. NOTHING! All in all, it was a fabulous party! I felt so special and appreciated and I love all my police officers from Akhaltsikhe. They're the best bunch of people anyone who's new in a country can ever work with. Tiko took me home, not before my 20 year old ran to the car to give me a Georgian flag Key ring (holder). I had it in my bag with me at all times before I left Akhaltsikhe, even though I didn't have a key. It was a constant reminder of how lucky I am and of the perfect night I had. I now use it as a key holder and I kiss it every now and then cos I'm weird like that:)hour for someone to take me home. It would've taken me 35mins to walk. I started walking. I had stomach cramps. I walked slowly holding my stomach. A gentleman driving past saw that I didn't look ok, he took me home. Score! I chilled at home, I may have watched a tv series episode or 3. And freshened up for the party. Lia picked me up with our friend from Borjomi. Everyone looked so nice! We made an entrance as we arrived almost an hour late. Everyone was waiting at the parking lot looking cute. It was nice to see my young student, they are the apple of my eye (or apples of my eyes if there's such a thing. There are 2 of them, so an apple for each eye;) right?). My students stood each side of the entrance of the restaurant and made way for me to walk inbetween them. It was so neat. I was blushing. I didn't wanna do it. It was embarrassing. When I got to the other side of the 'passage' someone was waiting for me with arms wide open, huge hug and a kiss on the cheek. So cute. And embarrassing. Less than an hour into dinner, and toasts, the dj played music. The party began! One of, dare I say my students? (He may have been to one, maximum 2 of my lessons in the entire 3mnths) asked for the first dance with me. No pressure at all. Georgian dance too! I had to impro, they weren't going to let me chicken out of that one. They told me it was Georgian tradition for the guest of honour to do the first dance. I didn't believe them, but I obliged. My 2cute students were sitting really far away from me, but in a good spot cos whenever I looked their way, I got winks and kisses. The 20 year old is convinced his the coolest dude and we might even be in a relationship in his mind. I don't mind. Pun intended. I danced, we danced, they danced. If you know me, you know I never miss out on an opportunity to dance. I'll dance to any type of music. Music is music! We ate and danced. The food was nice. It was cold, but nice. I tasted a bit of everything. I wasn't hungry. Fortunately they didn't force me to drink, I mean, they tried, but weren't persistent. I sat near Lia and Tiko, my friends and assistants. All the ladies sat together. It's always the case here. I pulled up my 20yr old for a dance, he reluctantly agreed. And did an Mc Hammer move for like a minute and ran back to his seat. Oh well:( Not too long thereafter, he came back on stage, when I saw him, I ran to dance with him: BEST DANCE OF MY LIFE! We danced to Spanish Lullaby (I think). He's such a great dancer! I'll remember that dance for a very long time to come. I can't even put it in words! His friend, the ex pro Georgian dancer, danced for me. THREE TIMES! The third time, he wanted to dance with me, unfortunately, I didn't want to ruin his flawless performances. They made a few more toast before the ladies (and I) left, one of which was to one of the officers' son who's in prison for murder. They asked if I wanted to say a few words. I had nothing to say. I took a minute to think of something. NOTHING! All in all, it was a fabulous party! I felt so special and appreciated and I love all my police officers from Akhaltsikhe. They're the best bunch of people anyone who's new in a country can ever work with. Tiko took me home, not before my 20 year old ran to the car to give me a Georgian flag Key ring (holder). I had it in my bag with me at all times before I left Akhaltsikhe, even though I didn't have a key. It was a constant reminder of how lucky I am and of the perfect night I had. I now use it as a key holder and I kiss it every now and then cos I'm weird like that:)

The day after the night before

Tuesday 6Sept I had a weird day. I hardly slept Monday night. 3hours tops! I was up around 6 and was glad it was morning. I read the last few pages of The Color Purple, skipping a huge chunk of the book. I needed to return it. I promised myself I'll watch the movie instead. Needless to say, the last pages didn't make any sense. I returned the book to Martyna. Who took it back to the library for me. One of my groups wouldn't be back to class for the rest of the week, they had to work. I told them to come in Tuesday and take the test and the exam. They did. We always had such fun with them. They speak English and are super funny! After the exam, they told me to meet them outside. They bought me gifts! Aw:( water works:( , as if it wasn't a super emotional day for me already. I hugged and kissed them all and they were on their way. One of them offered to take me to the church when he heard the news. I went along and tried not to cry until I was almost out and my eyes were flooded. Oh well, I tried. He took me to the internet cafe, where I watched Kourtney and Khloe take Miami and Kourt and Kim take Newy York, simultaneously, to take my mind off things. After 2hrs there, I got out, saw Tiko, my assistant's car outside the Police station. Called her, she said she was on her way to the car. I waited for her while munching on Russian Chips and Twix Choc bar. She took me home. As we got home, she remembered that her dad gave her money that morning. She asked if I wanted to go out for dinner. And of course I say yes! We went to the pizzeria, I ordered potato khinkali, they didn't have it. Mushroom? Nope! Okay, pizza. 'Drinks?'. Uhm, I'll have Coke Zero please? 'We haven't got it!'. Sprite zero? 'No!'. flavoured mineral water? 'No!'. Ok, I'll have Juice then. Any fruit juice. 'Sorry, we don't have!'. Uhm, still water pls! We sat and talked for a while, Tiko and I. It was nice, I'd never hung out with her outside the office. She invited me to visit to her farm house the next day. I went home, my host mom saw my gifts and gave me a Georgian Bowl. One that they use to drink wine. It has some inscription, apparently, it's long live something something. One day I'll be able to read it. I went to bed feeling much better than I did in the morning. It was a good day! as if it wasn't a super emotional day for me already. I hugged and kissed them all and they were on their way. One of them offered to take me to the church when he heard the news. I went along and tried not to cry until I was almost out and my eyes were flooded. Oh well, I tried. He took me to the internet cafe, where I watched Kourtney and Khloe take Miami and Kourt and Kim take Newy York, simultaneously, to take my mind off things. After 2hrs there, I got out, saw Tiko, my assistant's car outside the Police station. Called her, she said she was on her way to the car. I waited for her while munching on Russian Chips and Twix Choc bar. She took me home. As we got home, she remembered that her dad gave her money that morning. She asked if I wanted to go out for dinner. And of course I say yes! We went to the pizzeria, I ordered potato khinkali, they didn't have it. Mushroom? Nope! Okay, pizza. 'Drinks?'. Uhm, I'll have Coke Zero please? 'We haven't got it!'. Sprite zero? 'No!'. flavoured mineral water? 'No!'. Ok, I'll have Juice then. Any fruit juice. 'Sorry, we don't have!'. Uhm, still water pls! We sat and talked for a while, Tiko and I. It was nice, I'd never hung out with her outside the office. She invited me to visit to her farm house the next day. I went home, my host mom saw my gifts and gave me a Georgian Bowl. One that they use to drink wine. It has some inscription, apparently, it's long live something something. One day I'll be able to read it. I went to bed feeling much better than I did in the morning. It was a good day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rest In Peace Rite Reverend A. Z. Brook

Uwile umth'omkhulu. Lala ngoxolo Krila, Thangana, Rhaso, Nkom'ezibomvu! Soze sakulibala! Inkulu into osenzele yona usadla amazimba. Ubungumzekelo omhle kuthi, bantwana bakabhut'wakho. Ibingeyompazamo nale yokuba usweleke kanye ngalamhla utata wasweleka ngawo! Sowyasbulisela kuye, nakubo bonke abasishiya ngaphambi kwakho!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lazy weekend at home

We have to pay a certain percentage of our stipend to the host families to cover some of their expenses on us.
My old host families refused to take the money.
Last week, I finished my first month with the new family. I texted the host dad and told him I want to see him. He was at work and asked what it was about. I told him I needed to give him some money. He said 'I'm at work, give the money to my mother!'. I went downstairs and found a thousand other cousins I'd never met, there's like a new cousin and 5 others everytime I go to the lounge! The host sis was here as well. I gave the money to the mother. She took it with a smile and asked what it was for after! I told the sister. She tried to hold herself from smiling, and said, we didn't know you had to pay. The mother thanked me so much.

The next morning, I was greeted with a huge smile and breakfast was prepared for me. In the afternoon, the mother cooked my favourites meat, fish and stuff. There have been tons and tons of wide smiles all over here since that night.

Friday, 2 Sept
No classes again, my students just didn't pitch. Apparently they were all either at work or tired from 48 hour shifts. I hung around the police station, eating and playing PC games AND listening to music on my iPod.
One of the police bosses said he has a friend he'd like me to marry. Yep, they don't play here, they hook you up for marriage, none of that dating crap.
I asked if he's rich. I know! I know! I'm shallow, bite me! They said yeah, he has 3cars, a Jaguar, a Merc and whatever else, he's a footballer and a businessman. Ok, deal, when do I meet him. Like really? What happened to warm personality, kind heart, loyalty and all those dating clichés?
I asked the boss when I'll get to meet this guy, he said no problem.

Friday night, Clint called and said to join them at the restaurant. His friends brought him 2.5kg of Crayfish. It was still live when we got in the car, they prepared it in the restaurant. It was really nice. I've never had it from the shell before.

Saturday, 3rd Sept, it was just the grandma and I at the house. I watched Kourtney and Khloé take Miami, and one episode of the bachelor. I talked on the phone for about three hours. The grandma thought I went to bed, she switched the pc off. She was shocked when I told her I was on the phone the entire time. We had dinner, my phone beeped. She yelled at me about how I'm always on the phone or something. I just smiled. More Kourtney and Khloe. Later on, around 6, I went to my room and watched Brothers and Sisters.

4th Sept (Sunday)
Kourtney and khloe in the morning. Just for an hour. Back upstairs for more Bros and Sis'. I sorted out my hard drives, you know, the boring stuff. I fell asleep for a bit, as soon as woke up, i head tiny foot steps coming upstairs. Something said to go lock my door, but I decided against It. Lo and behold, they budged right into my room! Good thing they're cute! You can't be mad at them. The host sister was right behind them. She apologised, told me she likes my hair and told me to go join them for birthday cake. The host dad's daughter's bday. I felt badly that nobody informed me in advance so I can buy her something. She assured me they also didn't buy any gifts. Only cake. I went downstairs for my shower and saw so many people eating in the lounge. I eventually joined the gang, there were around 10 people in there. And gifts all over the lounge!
Everyone had already eaten. I really wasn't in the mood to be the centre of attention. I quickly ate and asked to be excused. Of course, I made up some excuse about how one of my family members is very ill and therefore I'm not supposed to celebrate. I'd say I don't think they bought it if I thought they understood it.
Back to my room, more Brothers and sisters, I blogged a bit. Clint called and said to join them at the restaurant. I walked forever. We had khinkali's. Well, they did! I just tried the potato one. They were with their new friend they met while hiking in Borjomi over the weekend.
I got back home after midnight. It was freezing in my room. I should get an extra blanket. If it's this cold now, how much more in winter!

French kisses and Blind Massage Therapists

Wednesday, 31 August
I've been asking around for massage therapists in my hood since I got here cos for some reason, a good night's rest Is hard to come by and the beds an uncomfy so I need a massage really badly.
One of my students told me she knows someone who knows someone.
After work, she took me to some apartment, nice apartment. Where there was a lady who's eyes I couldn't figure out. Turns out she's blind. She was with a really old lady, who apparently is her mother. I'm not sure who's looking after who in there, but that's their deal. The blind seems pretty efficient actually. All women are!

As my student was discussing with this lady, I kept wondering where this massage therapist is. So it was my student, her 2kids, the lady and her mom. Turns out the massagist (as they put it) is the blind lady, she's a trained therapist. She told me to lie on the bed like feature. I asked if everyone's going to leave. They asked if they could watch. I politely declined. The student said this seems interesting, I suggested she books a session. It's 10Lari (R40) for an hour's massage, full body. That's way less than I charge back home! And the lady's good. She knows what she's doing. She did slap me really hard, harder than the Chinese and the Chinese slap hard!
She also asked why I'm so fat, apparently my thighs and arms are way bigger than her hands are used to. She told me to return in 2days.

From there, I went to my new fave spot, the internet café. Watched more of The bachelor. Harriet came over. She sat next to me and we did our thing. Not long thereafter some guy showed up and the shop assistant needed our assistance. He didn't speak Georgian. We speak Genglish (Georgian English). That's really slow English, a few Georgian words and tons of hand gestures and weird sounds. Look it up on a dictionary near you!
He sat across the room from me. He asked us a bit about ourselves and HOW OLD WE ARE! How Georgian of him to ask someone their age on the first meeting!
He's 24, I told him I'm 57, when he acted surprised, I was like! I know, I look very good for my age. What can I say, I take care of myself.
He asked us out for drinks. We obliged. He's French and is motorcycling through Georgia well, and other Countries for 3mnths. He killed me every time he said Azerbaijan (so French! death!).
We drank Lemonatis (Lemonades, that may or may not be lemon flavoured), talked, and talked posed for pictures for his blog http://vagabondagesautourdumonde.wordpress.com/ check it out if you can read French or have google translate.
Apparently, I'm the first person ever to tell him, the only world I recognised in. The blog name is bondages. Oh well.
After the lemonatis, we went to Clintyna's and hung out some more with Frenchman, Maxim. He managed to get a back massage from Yours Truly. Apparently, the massage was 'unbelievable'. Yup, French certified! Don't hate!
I owe him French kisses, or he does me, something to that effect! He asked if I wanted to take pics on his Bike, I thought he'd never ask! I was there in a flash! I was excited about being outside, in the dark with a Frenchman that I apparently owed French kisses. Harriet, thought it'd be a good idea to take the pics in her camera, 'there goes the alone time and French kisses'.
It became a family affair, as everyone came out. I hopped on, Harrie snapped some shots. Man that thing is huge! And comfortable! It's a kawasaki. I hadn't heard that name since forever ago!
He also took some pics in his camera.

Martyna offered him a placed to sleep at hers, we exchanged contacts. Harriet and I walked home.
He said he might go to Vardzia, the cave city, the next day. I was to hear from him.

Thursday, 1st Sept
Spring day! In South Africa! The facebook, twitter and bbm posts were all colourful! I'm happy for them that the winter's over. It was freezing! I know! I experienced 2months of it!
None of my students showed up because we didn't have the schedule for Sept. I was on the phone with Michelle when I saw a lime green Huge motorbike with tons of luggage and a French driving away. I called Clint and asked where he decided to go. He said, he's leaving the city. I called my girlfriend Martyna, to wallow, and said, how could he not come say bye? She said, 'errr, I don't know! Why don't you call and ask him?'. Ooooooowwwwwww kkkkkaaayyyy then!

Milky Ways and Galaxies

Friday, 26 August
After work, I went to the internet cafe, and watched Jerseylicious. Jennifer, from Ninotsminda called and said she's on her way to my town.
I told her, I'll inform her when I'm done. I did, and they picked me up. She stayed over at her student's house for the weekend. I know the student, she was at the picnic we had at the lake in Ninotsminda.
We went to their beautiful apartment and hung out for a bit. Her husband is a soldier. She's a police officer. They have me a camouflage:).
At night, the husband, Jen and I went out to some restaurant for dinner.
We had khinkali (the notorious Georgian dumplings), meat, meat (I know I know!), and the usual tomato and cucumber salad.

Can I just say? I love how Georgians can cut a cucumber up and have it as a snack! Just like that! So healthy!

We listened to Glee inspired music on my blackberry, You're the one that I want! Proud Mary, I'm walking on Sunshine, and a whole host of songs performed on season 1 of Glee. Then Jen played her African music. Amongst which was Rebecca and Vuyo's 'oh indoda yami, ubaba wabantwana bami! Hay isdudla sami, umama wezingani zami'. Don't know the title. It was nice to hear that. She insisted I need to listen to more African music cos I didn't recognised any of the songs she played and I didn't like them. Needless to say, I won't be listening to them by choice, anytime soon. I do have African music on my pc. Stuff I like.
We spent what seemed like 2 hrs talking about America, okay, the guys, the student's husband and his friend are obsessed with America. They said they'll do whatever it takes to move there. Basically I had a bit of a deja vu. Like what happened first time I visited Jen in her home town and she and her American 'friend' talked about the States for 2hrs while I sat there awkwardly. It happened again, in my city this time.
We finally left! Pumped some I have nothing by Whitney Houston. Jen and I sang along at the top of our voices. It was sooooo fun! I got home after midnight. Jen's student's hubby said we'll all go to Borjomi and Batumi the next day. I don't Jen I won't hold my breath because I know how her people do! They like to make promises. That's it! Just promises.

Saturday, 27 August
For the first time in ages, there were no guests nor kids at the house. I watched The Bachelor, Jake's season online. The host grandma left, I was home alone! I did my laundry and watched some more Bachelor. Jen called and told me she was outside. I went to let them in and the dog wasn't liking her student's daughter very much so they couldn't come in. My host family wasn't here to hold the dog. I wouldn't dare, that thing's HUGE! I don't trust it myself!
They had to go back home.

Back to the PC :).
My host mom came back around 4. Just as she got here, Jen called and they were outside again. We let them in, I had just showered as I was told we won't have water after 2. We left for Clint's house with the daughter. she's ten or something.
It was hot outside. Fortunately, we got a lift from an ex neighbour of mine.

We sat awkwardly with Clintyna. Then we went for a walk. I showed Jen my Police Station and my class. We all walked home via some dirt, dusty road that's supposed to be shorter, according to the daughter. We didn't believe her. It wasn't. And it was dangerous, no pavement.

We had dinner at mine, then we all hung out in my room and watched some funny videos. Clintyna left, Jen and I went to hers. We had dinner there. I just had a bit cos I just age. The meal looked normal and it was warm! Whew! Gold! Macaroni, Viennas and green beans.

It was freezing out! As I was leaving, the student said I can't, her hubby was going to take us to the park. At ten pm in the freezing cold! I obliged! Trying to be nice! I do try, you know!
We picked up his friend from the previous night, who speaks English, I like him, he's smart!
We went to the Observatory. we saw stars: galaxies and milky ways. I also saw an unidentified planet, passing the galaxy. Omg, I feel so smart right now, writing about planets and stuff! It was out of this world! I want to go again, and see actual planets next time. It felt like I was looking through a view master! Thanks mom! That thing was awesome!

We left around 1am, I was cold, and tired, sleepy, couldn't breathe from the smoke in the car. I was ready to go home. They played music and expected me to be all happy clappy like the previous night. I had to fake it;).

Sunday, I stayed in bed the whole day, watching Californication.

Hospitals and German Yogi's

Tuesday 23 August
Work as usual.
I went to the hospital, to have my ankle, heel and shoulder checked out. My shoulder was dislocated a few times in one day about a month ago. Since then, I've been in pain on and off. Lia, My assistant was kind enough to go to the hospital with me and to arrange transport for us.
They took us in a huge police van. The guy drove like a maniac, I thought we'd fly out the window and die! The hospital is depressing. It's Pink, faded pink. And the parking lot is all muddy. It looks almost like a deserted building. There were people inside though, it was cold! Some wings more so than others.
We went in to the doctor's room, there was a nurse and his doctor in there. The doctor must be about 10 years old. She had a huge smile on her face, like she couldn't believe her luck, when she saw me. They both stood in there and stared throughout my consultation. My assistance helped with translation. So we had a full house in there. Fortunately, I didn't have to take my clothes off.

We went to x-ray, we left Harriet and the driver at the waiting area, Lia and I made our way to x-ray. The room was SCARY! Dingy! And dodgy! It looked more like a prison cell, what with the small bed with a grey blanket and grey blankets used as curtains and doors.
The Dr and his assistant went through one of the grey blanket doors, Lia and I, waited a bit, not knowing what to expect next! I was told to sit on the thing, it looked like a steel desk/bed. I did, they took photos of my feet. The thing wasn't stable, I was told to be still. When they told me that, for some reason, I found it really hard to be still. Weird!
They went back in the other room, another lady, magically appeared. She seemed shocked to see me. She had the x-ray, turned the heater on, and heated/dried the x-ray. She almost burnt it because all her attention was on me. While waiting for the exray to heat or dry, there were two women outside the room, randomly standing and staring at me.
Dr came out, took the x-ray from the lady, and told us to follow him. We walked right behind him, when he arrived at the waiting area, his Dr friends came out and checked the x-ray out. So did everyone else at the waiting area, except for Harriet. That would never happen in South Africa!

We went into another room! There were 3Doctors in there. Our driver came and stood by the door. He wanted to hear what was wrong with me, I guess. They asked him to close the door, he came in and closed. I don't think that's what the Dr's meant, but oh well.
Done! They didn't see anything wrong with my ankle, and something was poking out of my heel. It looks exactly as it feels. They told me I need to lose weight. News flash!
They said it's too much salt in my system, due to being overweight. If I can loose 25 or so kg, I'll be fine. I know Doc! Believe me, I DO!

They wrote me a prescription on a random page and referred me to the Poly clinic for physiotherapy.
I got dropped off home.

My host dad's sister was home. She doesn't live with us. Well, not officially. she asked me about the x-ray. I explained to her. She said she might have the same problem. I asked what made her think that. She said because she can't walk. I asked what happens when she does. She said she gets tired therefore she thinks she's sick. Ooooowwwww kkkkaaayyyyy then!

We hung out outside. I got an email from home about a sick close family member. I told the host sister about that. She said, wow, nice watch! Did you buy it here in Georgia! My response was: I'm very worried about my sick family right now, I don't have time to discuss jewellery! I took my phone and left.

I'd met a German tourist over the weekend at the internet café. He said to do dinner when he gets back to the city. He texted that he's back in the city and told me where he was staying. I asked the host sister where that was, the name rang a bell, but what do I know? It was the hotel up the road from here. I went back to my room and chilled. Lately, I've been spending a lot of time at the internet café. Mainly because, I never get a chance to use the internet at the house and partly for peace of mind. I usually, tell the family, I'm going for a walk. Then I'll be gone for no less that 6 hours. Joe, the guy from the internet café, called. It was time to go for dinner.
I told the host sister, I'll see them later, she asked if I'm going to the hotel. I told her no, she sarcastically went, 'oh, you're going for a walk?' I said 'yup!'.

We met at the hotel, I was surprised how nice and normal that hotel looks inside. From outside, it's really not promising at all. and it's affordable.
We went to the pizzeria, sat and talked and laughed and ate margarita pizza. Joe's one of those cool, perfect people. He's a yogi, spiritual person, qualified psychologist, well travelled and generally is a nice person, who had a smile on his face the entire time.
He walked me home around 10pm. We exchanged Contacts and he left, He had to catch a bus to Armenia the next morning.