Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Couch Surfing in Batumi

Yesterday was a bit of a slow day! Mondays to Wednesdays are my busiest days at school. Yesterday, however, my co teacher with whom I had 50 % of my classes, was off sick. And our classes were cancelled.

My last class was also cancelled because, we had to go to the department to - Well, S thought we were going to meet someone. She didn't know who. On our way there, S bought pizza, we sat on a banch on the side of the road to eat and chat. I met one of the teachers from my org. She was going to the opposite direction. I asked if she wasn't part of this 'meeting'. She said as far as she was concerned, it wasn't a meeting but we were supposed to collect our new books. Great! Finally!

When we arrived at the Resource Centre, there was a long queue of confused teachers. They had their ID's in hand and didn't even know what exactly they were about to sign for. It turned out we were signing for the books we already received. Seriously? We walked all the way to sign for books we ALREADY received? Couldn't this be done at the school on receipt of the books?

On my way from the Resource Centre, I talk a nice stroll and did some window shopping. I foun d a huge shop with cool clothes my size! Shocker! Lo called and was on her way back to Batumi. We met up and she told me about her latest endeavours. Very exciting stuff that I can't post here. Oh and I found out some cute guy I met here last month told Lo, I 'stole his heart'. Aaawww :(

Lo had an appointment with a couch surfer. We met this lady together. It was kind of nice! We sat along the port, in the dark, facing the sea and talked and talked and talked. The big boats (or ships) started moving. One by one, really slowly. It was awe striking! I'm gonna go back there, just to watch them again:).

The couch surfer was heading to Tbilisi on the night train, we got to hang out for more than an hour. Gypsies and random drunk men bothered us, but we survived.
After taking the surfer to a taxi, we went to the nearest bar, Lo had a bear, I inhaled 2nd hand smoke from dude that was sitting across us. Chain 'smorking'. He didn't really smoke the cigs, talked on the phone until they died and lit the next one.

Thereafter, we walked home. Turns out, Lo only leaves 3 streets from mine. She promised to take me for bicycle lessons with the random bicycles (I suppose - for hire), near the beach. Deal!

I got home around 10 pm, I was so tired. I went on line, researched my next destination, and went to sleep. My host family arrived just after me. It's very interesting how they almost always come home just after me, no matter what time I get home.

I must have slept around 1am.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blonde Moment

I slept right through the night last night. I was up around 5. That's good for me,because either I sleep around 1/2am and wake up at 6/7 or will sleep early and be up from midnight until 4 and then sleep for one more hour.
Anyway, I watched The Real Housewives of Orange County for a bit and rushed through my morning routine. The rush is part of the routine. It 's the part I'd like to lose. I've literally only been on time two times in the month that I've worked at the school. Luckily for me, when I get to school, I usually find out thaty the first class had been cancelled or moved, or something. However, it's still a bad habit!

I start at 9:50 today. That's the class I'm usually late for! 9:00 is never a problem, it's the 50 that I can't calculate well. I left the house and people just wanted to chat me up on the way. I left at twenty to and it takes me 15 minutes, so I was already late. First, my host mom thought it would be cute to have the 3yr old calling me out the window as I walked away to school. I kept looking back, but cos I was rushing, and you have to look down when walking here, or you'll trip and fall, that's how bad the roads are, I just gave up and walked on.

Later on, a random Old man, said 'Superrrr! Delicious!' Then a woman, halted as she walked past. I was praying inside: please don't talk to me, please don't talk to me! I've got to get to work! Prayer not answered this time around! She stopped! And talked to me in Russian. That's English to them. They're convinced the whole world has Russian as a 2nd language. News flash! She asked me something. I just said 'sorry, I don't understand'. Because if I'd said it in Georgian, that would've started a whole another conversation 'Kartuli itsi? Georgia like? Khachapuri like? Khinkali like?'. I do didn't have time for that!

As I approached the school, I saw that people were still gathered outside. I was like, 'wait a minute! Maybe I've mastered this walk and it now only takes me ten mins instead of 15'. So proud! I quickly checked the time, it was 8:55! I'd have still been 5 minutes late, it does STILL take me 15mins to get to school, it's just that I left AN HOUR EARLY! Whaaaatttt!? I contained myself and decided 'I'm not telling anybody! That'll give them something to talk about! - small wonder she was on time! She's never on time, blah. And I wouldn't blame them. Tardiness isn't cute!'.

I guess I'll just chill at the cafeteria for a bit until my first lesson. Oh well!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Acclimatisation?

 I spent Friday at home, it was freezing, I couldn't be bothered to go anywhere. I did have plans to go dancing at night though. Unfortunately, my friend was too tired to go, he had to cancel. I was also half asleep by then.

Saturday, the weather was great! I went for a long walk in Batumi. I met two guys from Ghana. We talked for a bit. They're selling African Jewellery and have been here since the Summer. I went to the Swimming pool to enquire about swimming lesson rates. Too expensive for me! GEL 45 per lesson. (That's R180 per hour). Then I went on a hunt for a moisturiser. (Preferably with glitter;)). Most stores don't sell them, body cream, lotion, moisturiser, nothing! Which makes me wonder what all the Georgians use! Some Pharmacies have lotion, the cheapest is GEL 29 (R120). Clearly I'm not in SA anymore. Where you can get lotion for R10 (GEL 2.5). I went to 'the biggest' supermarket, Populi and they don't sell such a thing. Seriously! A supermarket that doesn't sell body lotion!

I made my way back home, feeling rather weird. My whole body hurt! Especially my back. On my way home, I met a random Georgian middle aged man, who went, 'Hello, my darling, how are you?'. I thought he was being kind of forward calling me his darling. 'How are you, honey?'. Oookkkkaaayyyy! We talked for a while. He lived in the States for 14yrs. He told me everything about himself, his life, Dallas Texas, and everything he knows in a matter of minutes. He's a cobbler, I'll be taking my shoes to hid for repairs, I've got lots that need fixing. He was impressed with my English for someone from South Africa. I didn't know whether that was a compliment or an insult.

I got home and stayed in bed for the rest of the evening. I went to sleep early, around 8. The next day, I felt worse! My whole body hurt. My back was literally in pain, pins and needles! I got a painkiller from my host mom and stayed in the entire day. The weather was fine, I wished I could go for a walk or something.

 Today, I still feel weird, my back doesn't hurt as badly as yesterday, but my throat! It's interesting because I'm recovering from the flu, but, it somehow seems as if, I'm coming down with it all over again.
I looked in the mirror at my throat, my tonsils are swollen and gross. And my throat has the same grossness that's on my tonsils. I won't disgust you any further with the gory details.

My friend had something similar last week, she told me it's some kind of an infection going around, because her friend had it the week before. So, yup! I'm a statistic!

 I'm at school right now, supposed to be in class, but apparently, my co-teacher has left, which means this classes have been canceled or the schedule has changed again. All I want to do is go home and sleep.
Update: I talked to my co-teachers, S said It's probably the climate change that causes me to get sick all the time. She said it will take me +-5 months to fully adjust.
I hope she's wrong!

I left school early, bought some meds at the chemist and came straight home.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Finally got a lock on my door! Or did I?

I finally plucked up the courage (or anger) and asked my host family for a lock on my bedroom door!
Host dad said he'd see what he could do. I left for work the next day, and kind of expected to find it on after work. Nope!

Day after that, I came home, nice and hungry and sat at the table for lunch. He showed me the new lock. A full on lock! Big with a handle and everything! My door already has a handle and they're not that well off, I didn't want them to waste money on locks for rooms they don't use. Plus, my host dad's Music system is in my room. Apparently, he does come into my room when I'm gone and listens to the music. That's normal in Georgia!

I suggested he returned that lock and buy a Latch instead. That way, I can lock it when I'm in my room and need my privacy and they can still gain access to the room when I'm not around. He seemed surprised that that's all I wanted. Well, if they'd listened to me when I tried to explain why I want a lock (besides the fact that it's one of the requirements from a hosting family), instead of being defensive, and dramatic, they would've known. Anyway, he instisted on installing that lock because he said it wasn't expensive, and it's better than a latch. it didn't work out because somehow that latch was too big or whatever. These doors aren't really meant for locks. Believe it or not. Which is super weird because coming from South Africa, all the doors have locks. Even though people don't budge in on each other over there.

He returned the big lock and said he'd buy the latch the next day. He did. And kept it in the packaging and showed it to me that evening when I got home. I'd have preferred to see it on the door already! He told me to keep it, he would install it the next day. Which he didn't. I came home to find it still stewing on my dining table (I sleep in the dining room, remember?).

I'm not chilling in my room, it's freezing outside, I'm in my dressing gown, watching a move (Sex and the City II ). Host dad decided to come do the latch thing. Now! Host mom is doing her Georgian lessons in the kitchen, so I can't go in there.
He walked in, I was on the phone. He talked to me, while I was on the phone. All normal over here. I didn't even see the need to do a consultation, it 's his house! Afterwards, he wanted to turn my PC off. I'm not sure why, but hey! So I'm trying to talk on the phone and put the pc on standby. He's telling me 'no, no! Babala! Shut down!'. He didn't even know what I was going to do, whether I was going to shut it down, hibernate or what. He just said, no no! Don't restart! I wasn't going to. But he just assumed that, I, as a woman, don't know how to use computers. Hello! It's mine! I've had it for years! How have I been managing all along without you? He took the plug out and I subsequently lost the movie. And probably everything else I was working on online.

While I was on the phone, he kept dropping the screws, swearing them, searching for them, finding them and while picking one up, would drop another one and the cycle would start all over again. Whew!

Fortunately, I was done on the phone before he started drilling and made my teeth hurt so much. I'm glad it's over!

I can now lock my door when I'm in here and live in peace and not freak out whenever I hear footsteps or my host mom's voice coming my way, when I'm changing. And I can easily ignore her when I want, without her walking in and switching the light on.

Of course she came in as soon as the husband finished, she didn't knock! I looked at her with a smile that said: enjoy it while it lasts mummy!

My teeth still hurt.

I should be going dancing with a friend, but, maybe not. It's too cold outside. Let me get back to my PC. Wish me luck in finding the exact spot I stopped with my movie.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

This is why I'm in a bad mood!

I've only got 2classes today, one is with a teacher I only started working with yesterday.
 I got to school on time for a change, then to the fun part of searching for the class. Up and down, and up and down. Five minutes, nothing! I went to the stuff room, I asked the two teachers I found in there. They told me 'she's not here!'. really? I thought one of you had her in her bag!
  I called her, 'the number you dialled is not available!'. I went door to door to the classes. I tried to be quiet, but when the students heard the door, they'd all turn around, stand up and go 'good afternoon!' Or 'hello!' With such enthusiasm, that I had to stop, greet back and then walk away.
 I walked into one of my co-teacher's classes, Y. She told me to 'please come in!'. Of course, that was not a visit, I was looking for someone. And was running late. I just asked here where L was and that I couldn't get hold of her on her cell. She told me I could use her phone to call her. Even though I just told her I couldn't reach her. So as usual, I repeated myself. She said 'oh!', reached for her phone and called L. Yeah! I know! It so happened that she had a wrong number for L. She suggested I go to the principal, she would know where L was. On my way up the stairs, Y asked me why I was in a bad mood. Apparently, something about that situation was supposed to make me very happy, and she didn't understand why I didn't get it!
 Principal, offered me a chair, she seemed to have been in a meeting with two other teachers. The male teacher offered me a sweet, which I politely refused. He kept nagging, took the whole side plate full of sweets and forced it to me, almost sticking them into my handbag. I was busy typing something on my phone. I kept sayin 'Ar minda!' Which means, I don't want them. I know it sounds impolite, but that's what they say when they don't want something. It works amongst each other, but obviously not in my case! He begged me to at least take one. And because he wanted me to take a sweety so badly, I refused! They had to stop him because, he was so out of control! I mean, dude! This is not even your office! Why are you so desperate to offer me someone else's sweets?
 The principal asked me what I eat back home in South Africa. I asked her where L was, by then, I was really late for class. She continued to ask me about what my favourite food is in Georgia. First she aske me if I like Georgian food. I told them not so much. I was too pissed to be polite. Then, 'ok, uhm, khachapuri?' No, I don't like it? They listed Georgian food individually for me to state whether or not I liked it. Most of which I don't like. Then I had to name South African food. Mind you, none of the people in the room speak English. I don't really speak Georgian. So this was really fun! Especially considering I didn't even understand why we were doing this instead of finding L and shipping me off to class where I needed to be.
 I kept reminding them that I needed to be in class. They told me not to worry, L would come find me. Okay, you're the boss!
 Finally, the principal called somebody who told us where L was. She took me to the stairs and pointed to the first door. That's where L was hiding all along!  Yay! NOT! I walked down the stairs, as I was heading for the first door, the cleaning lady, told me L was in the second room. Why didn't I ask her when I first arrived because she's the first person I saw when I arrived for class. Anyway, atleast, it's over now. NOT! I bravely opened the door, all to find a different teacher. That was not the class! That teacher kindly invited me to go in. I couldn't! I was running out of time! She pointed me to the 1st door where L was. Finalllllllyyyy!
 When I got there, I was really not in the mood! Fortunately, the kids were cute and when told to repeat after the teacher would repeat everything she said, even when she wasn't talking to them.
  Ten minutes later, class was over!

It's my late brother's birthday! R.I.P. Big, we'll NEVER forget you!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hanging out With The President

OMG is it October already!
 Molly's host dad picked me up from the freeway. My lift waited until he got there, which was very kind of him as it was freezing outside. Gori's beautiful! Much bigger than I expected.
 I'd talked to Clint before and he told me that he and Martyna were going to hitch hike to Tbilisi for the teacher's excursion. While on the way to Molly's house, Clint called. They talked for a bit, then Molly handed me the phone. Clint told me they were in Gori. Apparently they somehow ended up there, but it wasn't planned. He said he thought he'd let us know 'just in case!'. He said that over and over again. I asked, 'Clint, do you guys need somewhere to stay for the night?'. He said he thought they'd be ok, but thought he'd call us 'just in case'. Ok, bye Clint! Seriously, because I'm from Batumi and there wasn't much I could do for him there. And it's very tricky with them because they're an unmarried couple. Which is something very frowned upon here.
 I met Molly's family. They're sweet, and speak a bit of English, their house is BEAUTIFUL! And HUGE! I was soooo cold, by then!
 They leave their shoes at the entrance, I had to do the same. My socks were wet! My feet were frozen! Ugh! We had a supra. The food was very very nice!
 While we were having dinner, host dad made fire in the fire place. Yay!
 We sat around the fire and chatted with the family. I like Molly's family. They're cool! We checked out some Youtube videos and some dance videos of the host bro. He's a professional hip hop dancer in Turkey.
 Before I went to Gori, I asked a few people who live in and around Tbilisi to host me. Jeniffer was one of them, she lives in Gori. She told me she couldn't host me because she was going to stay in town for the weekend. To ask some random guys from Tbilisi because her friend from Tbilisi has moved. I didn't. I don't know that guy well enough to ask to stay over at his.
 Fortunately Molly agreed to host me.
 I got a call from Jennifer asking me if I was I Gori. She said she would've hosted me if she knew I wanted a place to stay in Gori. Uhm, didn't I ask her to host me? Where else would she have hosted me? She lives in Gori and only in Gori! Anyway, she told me she and her family were going to a party. I asked if Molly and I were invited. She didn't think that would be a problem and said she'd call me as soon as she knew where the party was going to be held. She called back two minutes later and told me to ask Molly to call some random guy and ask him where the Read bar or whatever was because that's where other teachers usually hang out. I asked if she was there as well, she said she wasn't, she was at her family's party. Never mind! I asked her if any of her friends could give Clintyna a place to stay the night. She told me she'd find out, I asked her to call Clint back if she came right. Later on, she texted me and asked if Clint found a place to crash. I don't know where from! Because she's the one from Gori not me. I called Clint to find out. He told me they came alright. They were already in Tbilisi. He confirmed the meeting place for the next day, and said to call him the next morning, in case he overslept.
 I updated Jen on Clintyna's situation. She asked me what my plans were for the night. I rest my case!
 We went to sleep around midnight and woke up early for 7am when we were supposed to leave for Tbilisi. We were supposed to meet up and leave for Kakheti at 9am. Gori is an hour and a half from Tbilisi.
 Something told me to take all my stuff with me in case I ended up sleeping elsewhere Saturday night. I thanked the family and we left the house at 7:15. Molly's host dad took us to the taxi.
 We made it just in time in Tbilisi! 9 o'clock on the dot! Clint was already there, with Martyna. I bumped into Martyna's friend on the way there, whom I'd texted 2days prior and she didn't get back to me. She had the general Georgian friendly smile, that means nothing to me if I don't know where I stand with you. You bet I asked her why she didn't return my text. She said she had no excuse. I know she didn't. Or did she?
 She and Martyna were going to try and see if they could catch a lift with us to Kakheti, and maybe get to meet the president as well. They're not with our organisation. They were lucky because they got a lift to Kakheti but were not allowed inside the event venue. It was interesting to see that. Considering we were kicked out of the company buses a few weekend's ago and we just wanted a 5minute ride. They got a ride for 2 and a half hours. Double standards. But it's Georgia. There's nothing anyone can do about it.
 Martyna and her friend hitch hiked to a neighbouring town where Clint would catch up with them later. Security checked our passports, bags and belongings. Think, Airport security checks! They're were police officers all over the place. The president was coming!
 He landed on his helicopter half an hour or so later. Some people got to meet him, and take pictures with him. The whole gig was disorganised. Just like all tlg gigs. I was recorded 'making' Georgian bread, that clip ended up on TV.  I got calls from my Georgian friends and host mom. They were so excited to have seen me on TV. It was my second time on Georgian TV in 2months.
 At lunch, we were lucky if we had a piece of bread. They didn't have enough food for us. I got an impression they were expecting half the number of people that showed up. Oh well, here we are! We didn't die! So so disorganised! We left a few hours later! The ride back was much longer for me.
 While in Kakheti, I found out that Molly couldn't host me for the second night. Apparently, she told her family, I would be there just for a night. No problem, Jennifer will host me, she said she would've if she knew I was going to Gori and not Tbilisi. I called her. She said she'd ask her host mom. 3hours later, I asked what they said, she said nothing yet. Uhm, did you just pitch the idea and let them digest it? Like, I don't get it! 'Yes, she just walked away!'. Do you think she'll say yes? You know her, is it looking good? 'I don't know, I'll ask her again later'. I didn't buy it. But whatever.
 Later on, I got a text and a call. Jen told me her family said no because the host mom's sister was coming to town that night.
 Molly said if I didn't find a place to stay that night, she'd ask her family again.
 I didn't, so I told her. She went pale in the face. It wasn't looking good. I never thought it could be so hard to find a place to stay, what with having so many friends! Clearly, I know who my friends are now! Molly seemed reluctant. I told her not to worry about it. When I did, she said she can call the house. You know what I hate the most? Amongst a whole lot of other things I hate the most! It's people who promise something with the hope that you won't need it and when you do, they tell you how they won't be able to come through for you. That drives me nuts!
 One of my friends suggested I book a hostel that night and hitch hike the next day. That way, we'd all hang out in Tbilisi that night. Then I overheard her discussing with her friend that they were going to go straight home. Which means I'd to book a hostel and go hang out by myself basically. When I asked her about that, she said she had a headache.
 I booked the midnight train back to Batumi and forgot about fake people. When we got back to Tbilisi, after booking our train tickets, Molly and I joined a crew from Kutaisi. A bunch of nice, grown up people. Thank God! We had a nice time at Bude bar. We left at 11pm and almost missed our train. I got the cheapest ticket, GEL 5.50 (R22) not bad for an 8 hour trip!
 Molly got off an hour and a half or so later in Gori, I slept in the freezing cols. I tried to find the guys renting out the blankets, instead I just kept bumping into weirdos inviting me to their compartments. I was like, never mind! I put on all the clothes I had in my bag and slept like a baby. Ok, not really, but I slept-ish. We arrived in Batumi at 8:20 am. We left Tbilisi at 23:50. It was a long ride. It will be a while before I take the train again.
 I took a random but that turned out to be going to the airport. A nice lady told me where to get off to find the right bus for my direction. I recognised where I was. It was about 1.5km from my place. I walked home. Bought something to eat on the way. When I arrived at the house, I was half asleep, sooo tired and still recovering from motion sickness. I couldn't use my key, their key was inside the lock. That got me worked up! My host mom was so excited to see her little celebrity, she hugged and kissed me in the cheek. I just wanted to yell at her about the key that she always leaves on the lock. What's the point of giving me my own key if I can't use it? What if I'd arrived at 1am? Anyway, I fake smiled and went straight to my room. Chatted to my lovely sister on email, had breakfast and slept.
 I woke up 4hours later and watched the rest of the bachelorette.
 I was shocked with the results. My favourite didn't win. I believe he'll have his own Bachelor season, so I'll get to see more of him. Can't wait. Unfortunately, that'll only be next year.  Who knows where I'll be then?
 I watched an episode of the Real L Word. A lesbian reality show. Boring. I won't be watching that again. Or will I? Who knows? I'm in Georgia!

Hitch Hiking From Batumi to Tbilisi

Friday 30 Sept
 I decided to do something I haven't done here yet, something I don't generally do, and hitch hike! I asked a friend for pointers as she does this a lot. She told me where to go and what to do etc. It was pouring outside. Great weather to hitch hike! NOT!
 I kept going back to bed, the weather was so discouraging!
 I decided 11 o clock sounded like a good hour to hike. I cleaned my room and got ready to leave. My host dad asked where I was going in that weather. He knows I'm not fully recovered from my flu. I lied and told him I was meeting a friend at the train station. He said, 'you know the train doesn't leave until 11 tonight, right?' I was like, yeah, I do, maybe we'll take a marshrutka. He said,'but the marshrutka station is right here!' Well, I don't know, but I've to meet my friend and we'll figure it out from there. He offered to take me to the station. Great!
 The station is quite far! I wasn't aware! It's right next to the Opera house where we watched a performance with the President.
 He dropped me off (my host dad, not the president lol). I waited for him to disappear, bought something to eat and used the bathroom because you never know when you'll get a chance to use it while hitch hiking.
 I found a spot and did my thing. The hitch hiking gesture here is different from back home. Either way, it was pouring rain. I got a lift in less than 2minutes. He dropped me off 10minutes later. I'd to hike again. I got another lift in about 2minutes again. It was two guys that said they were going to Kobuleti. They dropped me off about 2minutes later after asking me everything under the sun about myself. They did not drop me off in Kobuleti where they said they were going. Which was on my way. Then another lift to the real Kobuleti! In a cab! An actual cab offered me a lift! How nice are these people? We talked a bit. One of them new about 10 English words. I know a few Georgian:).
 In Kobuleti, I hoped that my friend, Michelle wouldn't catch me hitch hiking in the middle of her town. Nobody knew I was hiking besides my friend from Batumi. Michelle moved to the main road in Kobuleti, and I know her family owns a restaurant. Which is where they live. I made it a point to pass all the restaurants and then stand and do my thing. I got a lift in about 5 minutes. This time to Kutaisi.
 The guy told me he's half Georgian, half Italian. He taught me a few Italian words with a very weird pronunciation. Then he asked me the usual Georgian, personal questions like whether or not I'm married and y I'm not married.  As he was talking, his hand kept landing on my knew, it doesn't matter how far from him, I moved my leg. A bit further up, then he'd just rest it on my thigh and keep talking about God knows what. I moved the hand umpteen times. As time went on, he said 'hotel!'. He didn't speak any English. He asked if I wanted to go to the hotel with him. I asked, when? He said that day. And I asked him what about where I'm going? He told me he'd give me a lift all the way to Gori if I went to the hotel with him. I politely declined.
 Then he said something that I think meant that he and I should hook up. I told him I didn't understand. Frankly, I didn't want to understand. He'd talk about other things (still not sure what) and then go back to the same hotel subject.
 We picked up another lady on the way. As soon as she got in, I heard the driver tell her everything he knew about me. Then she asked her how much I earn per month. Don't freak out, it's a normal question here, one of the first things you get asked along with how you are, what your name is, your age and y you're not married etc. I told them I'm a volunteer and don't get paid. The driver thought I didn't understand. He said 'stipend' (which of course impressed me). I said yeah, I understand (in Georgian) and I told him in Georgian that I got nothing. He was convinced I didn't understand, the woman said 'salary!'Georgia  President, Micha. I said 'ara pheri' which means, nothing. They gave up and continued to talk to each other. Whew!
 After we dropped the lady off, the hand started again! Then he asked me to visit him at his house. I told him, I was sorry, I already had plans for the weekend. He giggled like a little girl. Silence. Then 'hotel'. Then he hummed hotel California. I sang along. We both sang out loud like fools. And we didn't even know all the words. I knew some, he practically sang it in Genglish (Georgian/English).
 He, out of the blue, said 'sex?'. I was like 'huh?'. 'Sex, sex English kho?' (Sex is an English word, right?). Ver gavige!  (I don't understand). Sex! Sex! Sex! I kept saying I didn't understand. Just for the fun of it.
 I did consider getting out of the car, but I didn't feel threatened yet, he was just being annoying. He wasn't brave enough to do anything, I reckoned. He dropped me off in Kutaisi, two hours later. 2hours! Of harassment!
 I went to the bathroom and then back to the hiking spot. This time, my clothes had dried off from two hours in a warm, dry car. It was pouring in Kutaisi as well. People were more rude in Kutaisi! They would slow down, pretend to want to stop, get me running towards the car and speed off. That happened a few times. Some would slow down and say something. I assumed it was 'where the heck are you going?' Then, boom! A car stopped and while I was running towards it, a truck honked (hooted) and I signalled for it to stop. I told the private car driver, I was going to Gori, he said No! I then proceeded to the truck. I had options! :)
 That thing was massive! There was huge space between us. Which I was super grateful for. No more touching of the thigh. Hooray! He was a nice man. He told me about himself, his family, job, etc. And that they'll be hosting an English teacher in a week's time. I gave him my number and told him to get the teacher to call me.
 He wasn't creepy at all! He even told his wife, over the phone that he was with me. He gave me his cellphone and ear phones to listen to music. He had a lot of Eminem in there! He also gave me a packet of Russian sweets (candy).
 He dropped me off in Gori, 4.5hrs later!
 Yesssss! I did it!

Ramblings about Georgian Teachers and host family

On Monday 26th Sept,
  I still felt sick. Y had told me not to go to school if I didn't feel so good. Also, because I work with children, I wouldn't have wanted to spread what I had. I stayed in. Which made it a 4day weekend. I watched a whole lot of millionaire matchmaker and Celebrity rehab. I literally, stayed in bed the whole day. My whole body was sore, and I was coughing and sneezing and doing all sorts of gross stuff. I texted one of my co-teachers, S. The one I got the flu from and asked her which meds she bought from the chemist because she came to work feeling so much better the next day. No response.
 At work, on Tuesday, 27th Sept
 S saw me and was 'so excited'. Hey! How are you? Blah. It's hard for me to pretend like I don't want to know why she didn't return my text. But I tried. For a bit. Then when I went to my first class with her around midday, I asked if she got my text. Without hesitation, she told me she had but it was too late. I don't know what she was talking about because I sent her the text around 8am. She told me that her battery had died and she only could read the text when she got home. Which is strange because at 8am, she should've still been home. She doesn't live far from work and school starts at 9. Oh and she didn't have airtime to text back.
 Here's the thing, I told Y that I cought the flu from S. And them being Georgian, have to share everything. I bet you Y told S that piece of information. Which was neither a secret nor a lie. However, I'm not sure about the context in which she told her. I mean, a flu is a flu is a flu. Someone has it, and you work closely with them, you're likely to catch it. That's it! If they want to take it personally, they can go fly a kite as far as I'm concerned.
 I had a 3day week, whereby my first day was Tuesday, I had a 9 o clock, when I got to work, I couldn't find my co-teacher, Y. I called and texted her to no avail. I asked around, none of the other teachers seemed to know where she was. I decided to go to the ATM. Someone told me it was just up the road. They walked me there.   A nice lady, who speaks some English. We walked for ten minutes. Which is not just up the road to me but to each his own. When were got there, it was 9:20 and the bank was still closed. Good thing, I just needed the ATM. There was none in sight. I asked the lady to ask the people in the bank if they have an ATM. She came back saying the back is closed and that we had to wait another ten minutes for when it's open to ask if there's an ATM. Preposterous! I thanked her for walking me there and told her I'd go to the other bank, which was much much further now that I was on the other end of town. I took my time too because my next class was also with Y and I didn't  know where she was. from the second back, which is close to where I live, I felt like I was doing double work walking all the way back to school. I was about ten minutes late for my second class. Y greeted me with a concerned smile. She asked how I was feeling. I wanted to know if she didn't get my text and call. She was like, 'oh you called?' Uhm, no, I called myself, and I want to know if it reflected on your phone!
 She said she never heard the phone. Fair enough, she's not as suspicious as S, so I let it go. She told me her schedule had changed and we no longer have the first class on Tuesdays. She had forgotten to tell me and was sorry. Don't be sorry, just don't do it again! Even though I wanted to, I didn't say that! She assured me that that was the only change to our schedule together.
 Wednesday 28 Sept,
 I had a few classes with S who was in a super good mood. Then a break, in the afternoon, I walked around looking for Y's class, couldn't find her. I called S, no answer, I texted her to see if she knew where Y was, no answer (again!) She finally showed up late. I've a weird feeling, things are going to be interesting between S and I.
 Thursday, 29th Sept
 I only had two classes, one at 2:45 and one at 4:30. I stayed in bed, watching the rest of Millionaire Matchmaker and Sex Rehab with Dr Drew. (That's the name of the show, I didn't watch the shows with a Dr!). I got a call from my third co-teacher, I, whom I kind of like. I'm not sure why, but there's a certain innocence about her. She told me her schedule had changed and we'd no longer have the 4:30 on Thursday, which meant I only had on class that day. Which I intend to shift and have 4 day weekends.
 After school, I went for a walk around town, and back home. I hadn't seen my host mom in 2days or so. Which was long for someone who used to budge in and out of my room as as she pleased. She hadn't done that in 2days. And (touch wood), lately, she doesn't even budge anymore. She knocks. And waits for a response. Touch wood again!
 I paid for rent and she just took the money and walked away. No acknowledgment, no eye contact, no thanks, nothing. Later on, when I went to drink some water in the kitchen, she gave me a huge (fake) hug. Awkward!
 I got a call from head office inviting me to an excursion which would take place Saturday morning. I totally accepted!
 Friday, 30 Sept
 I stayed in the entire day, watching The Bachelorette, Ashley's Season 7. I still can't believe that dude Bentley! I thought he was being funny and sarcastic! How rude and disrespectful! It's a very interesting season, I couldn't get myself to watch Ali's season because I saw her with her guy on Brad's season.  Not only that, I saw the first episode and it was obvious she liked that guy, so knowing that and the fact that she did pick him in the end defeated the point of watching. I just watched the men tell all for the bloopers, that's it!
 I must have watched, gees! I don't know! So many hours of that show on Friday, I really need to get out of the house more. I'm in Batumi for goodness sake! My favourite city in Georgia!

Weekend in my co-teacher's village

Saturday, 24th Sept
 One of my co-teachers invited me to the village the very first time we met. She was so excited to show me her in-law's place. She said it's so relaxing! What with the mountains and the river. All of Georgia is like that. But all Georgians will tell you the same. As if their village/town is different.
 She and her hubby picked me up at 11.  It was nice and cool outside. I had my overnight back with me as she had told me they'd bring me back Sunday. They bought dinner on our way. Y, my co-teacher said to excuse the fish smell, they bought me fish on the way to picking me up. AWKWARD! Don't you just love it when people invite you over, pick you up, then proceed to buy you things, dinner, breakfast stuff, one soft toilet roll, that you know is meant for you. Then fill up their gas (petrol) tank.  All in. Your presence! It's like, see, how much we're spending for you! This is all for you! You're really special to us :D.
 SUPER AWKWARD!
 The village is 40mins outside the city (Batumi). On our way, Y asked if I brought my camera. Weird question, but ok! Then we stopped at their 'pool'. It's a huge fish pond. With edible fish that they sell. I don't know the name of that fish. It's very prevalent here. It's not hake, but it sort of looks like it. Maybe it is, I don't know! They're building a restaurant next to the pond, overlooking the river. It'll have a beautiful view when it's finished. She told me to get the camera, she'd take pictures of me near the pond and I could take pictures of the scenery as well. That made me not want to take pictures of anything. Just the fact that someone is telling me what to like and what not to like! I took one or two photos and I was done.
 We drove to the house. It's just up the road from the pond. Nobody speaks English in the house, just Y. They told me I am beautiful. Wanted to know if I'm from America. And asked if I liked their village. Just as I got out of the car. The only thing I saw in the village, was the pond! I told them I liked what I'd seen up to that point.
 I mean, really now! Y took me on a tour of the property. They have fruit and vegetable, cows and chickens. It's ok. I saw regular size pumpkins. They asked me if we have 'such big pumpkins' in my country. Of course we do!
 'Do you have mandarins in your country?' Err yep! 'Oranges?' Yeah!
 Ok!
 Then she found a spot with a good view and made a huge sigh of relief and said 'wow! This is beautiful'. They're so desperate to have us like everything and to control us that they even speak for us! What she said is what she wanted me to say. But because she wanted me to say it so badly, I was resistant and just wouldn't get myself to say it for the sake of pleasing her.
 She asked me if we have such beautiful villages in Africa. I told her we have villages, farms, townships, suburbs and city centres. We have it all. I'm sorry Y. You had to have brought me something different to get me excited and different questions. These standard Georgian questions don't do it for me. At all. I'm over them.
 We went back to the house, we sat on the verandah, they brought me a box of chocolates. Darck chocolate. I don't like it, but I did have a few pieces. Then cookies, then fresh grapes. The grapes are really tiny here! They asked me if we have grapes in Africa. I told them we make wine in South Africa! And I went on to brag about out delicious huge seedless grapes. Just because!
  Because I've the flu, they brought me fresh lemon and hot water. The lemon was delicious! I know! I know! It's lemon! But believe me! I love lemons, so I would know.
 After that, they all asked me if I felt better. As soon as I swallowed the last sip of lemon water. I didn't know what to say! they then asked me that at approximately five minute intervals until I left the next day. Y suggested I go rest. This was around 4. There was nothing else to do, but sit amongst her in-laws while they discuss me in Georgian. I told her I'd stick around until everyone went to bed. She insisted I go rest. I asked if she wanted to take a nap, she's pregnant and she's Georgian, which means when she insists you do something, it's not necessarily for your own good,  you have to figure it out. She admitted that it was her nap time. I went to bed and was on Facebook for a few hours. My room was between two bedrooms and the lounge. They have to go via my room to the lounge. So they passed over and over and over again. And whenever they did, they asked if I was ok 'now'.
 Around 7, Y asked if I wanted some medication, I was game! They brought me something in a small containet that could've been anything. I chugged it. It tasted like a tablet that had been dissolved in water. This was while we were waiting for the cows to come home (literally) for them to make me milk and honey.
 They boiled me milk, added honey, and gave me that to drink in a coffee mug. I can't stand warm milk! I drank it, it wasn't so bad. I soon felt sleepy and I was gone! Lala land!
 I was up from 1am to 5am. Insomnia. I'm sure they were weirded out when they walked past my room with me sitting on the bed busy on the phone. When Y walked past, she did ask me how I was every time she passed there. Which was a lot because she's pregnant. I fell asleep again after 5am and at 8 Y brought me honey milk. This time it was sweeter than the night before and there was still lots of honey at the bottom. Which I found out the hard way. At least, I think it was honey. I chugged the milk down, and swallowed what felt like ugh! I don't know, phlegm? Bleh:( just thinking about it makes me want to puke! Y came to take the cup and asked how the milk was, if it wasn't too sweet this time. I felt like I was going to puke and looked it. But I still said no it was ok. Tired of complaining because they never do anything right and always want feedback, so if I'm going to be honest all the time, they will feel like I'm a unappreciative you-know-what. I ran to the bathroom with the hope that it would all come back up, automatically. It didn't. Not really.
 Tail in between legs, I went back to bed.
 It was pouring outside. Since I got there the day before. Everyone was hanging out in the lounge, speaking Georgian. It was either I go join them and be the topic of discussion, while everybody battles to make eye contact with me as they're talking about me right under my nose. Or I stay in bed peacefully. So of course, I did the right thing and went to the lounge to mingle. They started talking about me, the eyes started facing random places like the floor or their laps. I heard what they were saying. So I got over it, got up and went back to bed. I felt the stares and couldn't be bothered.
 About two hours later, I'd fallen asleep, Y WOKE ME UP and told me to 'dinner' was ready. So I got up and went to join them for BREAKFAST. They talked about me, and everyone was looking away from me, but whenever my plate got empty, there was a contest as too who would pass me something random that I handnt eaten yet. I don't like that because I'm clearly not blind, and am old enough to decide what I want to eat when. So I don't like it when they make decisions for me. They decide for you what you have to do at home,like If I want to watch a movie, they will budge into my room and give me a rock and roll dvd of someone I'd never heard of and tell me to check it out. That guy's very good, then 6 more dvd's by other rock star of the same calibre. Because I'd planned the whole day, that when I get home I'm going to watch whatever, I stick to my plans and put the dvd's aside for when I'll feel like watching them. Then they'll come in later to hear if I liked them. And bring me some more. The next day, we'll talk about music and I'll mention that I loke Elvis Presley and have all his music. ALL OF IT! I'll say that while watching something on my computer. Then they'll lend me Elvis Presley's CD's and stand there with huge smiles on their faces waiting for me to stop whatever I'm doing and play the cd's. Uhm, didn't I just tell you I have all his music? Can you not see that I'm busy doing something else? What the heck are you doing in my room? Have I ever been to your room? Aren't you a 50 year old man? Why are you acting like a spoilt kid half the time?
 After breakfast, I wanted to go shower, and was told not to because I've the flu. Just another decision made for me. I didn't, but was going to be returning to my 'home' that day and just showered there. Where I do what I want no matter what they try to make me do because I refuse to pay someone to make me uncomfortable in 'my' home. Y told me to get ready, we'd leave in 10. I made my bed and changed, sat in the living room with them. They talked about all sorts of things under the sun. She asked if I wasn't cold and offered me her scarf, it stank like nothing on earth. It's dark brown, so you can't tell if it's dirty, I've a feeling it's never been washed. I took it off and wrapped my night dress around my neck. They asked why I didn't keep the scarf on, I told them the night dress was warmer. Y's mom in law had a cool, comfy dress on the day before (and the next day). I complimented her on it and she said she'd give it to me the next day. Later on on Saturday, when I saw her, I told her how excited I was to be going to get a new dress. She smiled, and told Y what I just said. They always tell someone else what you said. Sometimes as you're saying it, as a result they end up discussing it with each other and get carried away, while you're standing there waiting for an answer. It can be anything! You can talk to a man, about something random, and have a full on conversation with them, the first person who walks through the door will be told what you just talked about. I don't care if it's a stranger, a hitch hiker that he just picked up on the side of the road! Anyway, the smile on Y's mom-in-laws face after my little remark about the dress gave me a feeling I wasn't getting the dress. I didn't!
 10mins became 1hr. while sitting there aimlessly, bored out of my mind, Y asked me why I was angry. That made me angry! I asked her what made her think I was angry. She said because I wasn't talking. I asked her what I was supposed to talk about and to whom. She said to them, oh her, she would translate. I asked her why she wasn't talking to me if she wanted to talk to me. She translated everything to the gang. She called her husband, he was waiting for us at the pond, we left.
 When I got home, I sent Y a courtesy sms (text) thanking her and her family for having me. She sid but you were in bed the whole time. Even though, she forced me to go to bed half the time. I couldn't respond to that.
 I spent the rest of the day watching Millionaire Matchmaker.

A night out in Batumi

 I had a long day at school. Which 2 hour breaks inbetween and ended up leaving after 5pm, since I started at 9am. I went straight home.
 Host mom had her private lesson in the evening, and asked me to teach her English at 8. 8PM! 20:00! I hesitantly agreed. And went to bed.
 At 8pm, I went to the kitchen to teach my host mom English and she was busy baking bread. She said to give her ten minutes. I suggested we do the lesson the next day.
 She wasn't around Thursday morning, and I had the morning off, I only started work at 2pm. After work, Lo, my friend from the UK, who's also based in Batumi and I went for a walk. When we needed the bathroom, she suggested we go to the Intourist hotel. So we did of course! And met an Israeli old man at the shoe shiner or whatever that shoe shinning thing is called. It was my first time seeing that thing so yeah:).
 Lo almost bought a ring, but the lady wouldn't lower the price. And when we saw the exact same ring priced a third of the price she charged the rest, she said it was a mistake and refused to let her have it for the price she saw. On our way to the beach, we saw a cool stall with nice affordable stuff. So Lo bought herself a nice right there. We met an Iranian couple. Very nice guy! He gave Lo his number and said to call him when she's there and he'll be her tour guide. Now I want to go to Iran:).
 We parted ways, Lo and I bought a cob of Maize from a street stall. It was weird. Too soft for me. But I have had much yummier ones here. We sat not too far from the beach and talked about life in Georgia. Especially being black here. We were interepted a few times by people asking to take photos with us to post on the net. Lo doesn't like to have her photo taken. I don't mind. I prefer that to someone staring at me for hours. I'm not sure why they'd want to post our pictures online. There are so many pictures of black people online!
 My host mom called me around 9 to check up on me. We went home not too long thereafter. I got home after 10pm. It was a nice day!
 When I got home, host mom wasn't home. she later got back, let herself into my room, turned the light on and tried to talk to me while I was on the phone. I had to ask her to switch the light off. She did and left. Then I overheard her talking about teaching and English. I suppose she was complaining because I didn't teach her English as promised. I promised to teach her before I went to school. She wasn't home then!
 Since then, when she wants to come to my room, because I never have the light on, I use the PC light, as that's always on, she turns the light in the passage on, just outside my door. It's so bright! It's blinding! Blight lights give me headaches. That's a good sized chandelier and bright as hell! So she turns that on, and then walks into my room, no knocking, NOTHING! When she's done talking to me, she turns that light off.
 I'm going to ask them to put a lock with a key on my door. She might get offended, because that means, I want to keep her out of my room as she's the only other person that comes to my room. But it is what it is. According to the contract, we should have lockable doors with keys.
 Friday, 23 Sept
 I had Friday off. According to my schedule, Fridays should be off, but you never know. I take everything one day at a time. So last Friday, I was free. I stayed home the whole day, sick as a dog! I watched Gigolos, So You Think You Can Dance and Millionaire Matchmaker. Fun times!
 I only left the house once, to buy Lunch, banana and yoghurt. A small tub of yoghurt is 1Lari (R4). Parmalat size! That's way more expensive than home! A banana is also the same price. Which is a lot. In South Africa, you can get a kg of bananas for that much!
 I snuck my food in and ate quietly, or else, I'd have offended people. They take it personally when you don't eat their food. I needed a break from bread and this, bread and that, bread bread BREAD! Oh and hair all over the place, on the table top, in the food, in your mouth, between your teeth. Ok maybe, I exaggerate, but I'm lucky to not find hair in the food when I don't.