Monday, January 30, 2012

Road Trip!

28th December
My older brother came over to lunch with us. He didn't know I was back. He was more in the dark, because we don't talk often. I was in the shower when he arrived. He sat in the lounge, no one said a thing to him, I came out, walked right past him to my sister's room pretending to be a ghost. Hahahaaa! That was fun! He was soooo shocked!

One of the days, sis and I went to the mall to pay the bills before heading to my mom's for Christmas. I was that fool that walks around with a huge smile on her face. It was so nice to be around familiarity. KFC! Oh my goodness, KFC! We went to the banks, I smiled at everybody, we bought KFC and on our way back, my sis let me drive her car. Yippee! It's an automatic and the last automatic I drove had 3 pedals, so yeah. Go figure! Last time I drove a car was in Akhaltsikhe. It was left handed and I drove on the right side of the road. It's not that different though, once you get on the road, it's not scary or anything. It helps that the pedals are in the same place for both drives.

We also went to Unisa, the other side of town. This was a different day, we took the train. I was still relaxed, walking around with my phone in my hand and my hand bag closed. My sis had to remind me where I was and that I'd better hide my phone and zip my bag. There was a guy sitting across from us in the train. His pants were torn right above the thigh and he was sitting nonchalantly with his legs wide open. Oookkkaaayyyy then strange flashing dude!

We got off the train and asked for directions from a coloured lady who walked us halfway there and on the way, she asked a random black, probably homeless guy for directions IN ENGLISH and he responded IN ENGLISH! Yup! All those tiny little things we take for granted! South Africa IS and English speaking country and I'm very proud of that.

21st December
5 days since I got back to South africa and I was still as tired as a dog. The very very hot weather didn't help much either. We packed and left for Uitenhage mid morning. Brother-in-law drove. You know me and my motion sickness situation. I wanted to check the scenery, but half the time I had to either look straight ahead or close my eyes. When we passed The Wilderness, a small town in the garden route, I thought of a friend of mine, I say friend but he really is an artist/actor/Mr Everything guy I met while doing the second day of my first commercial. He wanted us to do something together and we confirmed so many jobs that we'd do but we just didn't end up doing any of them. He meant well, and I love him for that. I remember when we asked where he was from because he has a bit of a British accent. He told us, 'The Wilderness.' I was like, really? He went, 'you know where that is? Nobody know where the Wilderness is'. Uhm, yeah, I do! It's in the garden route. I did think of him, and I remembered he'd posted that he was at home in the Wilderness. I said hi to him in my head.

8hours later, we arrived in Uitenhage. We have a pice of land on the way out of Uitenhage towards Port Elizabeth, it's where we grew up, the thieves stole all the buildings, from the buildings, to the tanks, to everything. All that's left behind is land. It's always so weird to drive past there. And the fact that it's not that far from the cemetery where we buried my brother doesn't help much with the emotions either. R. I. P. Big!


We got out to offload the car, mom came out and was like, 'hayiiiiinnnniiii, uBaaaabbaaallllwwwaaa!' (OMG, Babalwa!). She sure was shocked to see me here. She thought I'd be in France by then, well, here I am! Hi mom!

So strange to be at home without my uncle. You know how it is when you go back home for the holidays, you're so used to seeing everybody. And then boom! Someone passes away! Next time you go home, there's someone missing, their room is empty, their furniture is lying on its sides and your mom's wearing dark coloured clothes? Kinda reminded me of way back when, when they took me home during school term from boarding school, didn't tell me what was happening, my uncle had shaved his head, we took a huge wreath with us all the way to Uitenhage. When I got home my mom was dressed in black. I asked everyone what was going on, they told me everything was fine. I was eleven. My dad had passed away. I figured it out when I asked my now late younger brother where everyone was starting from the then oldest member of the family. The only person that was not fine was my dad, my brother told me he was in hospital. I knew he was the one that had passed away.

Guess

17th Dec
First morning back in South Africa! Whoot! Whoot! I woke up not knowing who and where the heck I was! You know when you look at the ceiling and don't recognise it and look at the wall and see your sister's artistic pictures in which she herself doesn't even look like herself? Yeah, that's what happened.

The day was pretty laid back, we ate and watched some tv, I couldn't and still can't follow anything on tv as a result, I haven't really REALLY watched tv since I got back. I'm still stuck in Georgia mode. We did watch a recorded episode of Carte Blanch where an ANC dude stole hundreds of millions of rand from the Richard's Bay municipality budget . Really sad! The town looked so sad and ready for some word, dude took all the money for himself. What a greedy fool! Selfish! He couldn't take some of that and do something to the town? How do those people sleep at night?

My phone was sitting there, like a toy because nobody could know I was back. Not yet. The secret was eating me up. But the expressions on their faces when I finally saw them, was worth it. Bro-in-law wasn't buying it at all. He was like, you should tell people! If you are going to someone's house, you tell them you're on your way, you don't just show up on people like that. I got a missed call from my sis in Joburg. I didn't know what to make of it! I knew I wasn't calling her back. But what are the chances she'd call my South African number, so randomly? Mh, suspicious.

I got a really cute Guess bag. And more stuff from my recovering sopaholic sister! Later on, my sis and I went out. My German friend in France (I say that because I'd call her French friend, but she's not French) who was going to host me had I got the schengen visa had promised that we'd eat snails. I'd mentioned to her I'd never eaten them before. I was slightly grossed out by them. I was like ok, you know what? Let me eat them and then tell me later, like the next day or something that those were snails. I may have mentioned this to my sis, who's friends with this lady as well. It's actually her friend, but oh well, she's mine too now.
We went out for drinks, by the beach front. It was a beautiful night, and I love the water, it's really strange that I still can't swim. Show for another day! My sis was like they have nice snails here, wanna try them. WHAT? RIGHT NOW? CRAP! UHM, SURE! LET'S DO IT!
That's the night I ate snails! They look just like snails. No one could've fooled me into thinking they're something else cos 'they taste just like chicken!'. No they don't! And they don't look like it. After swallowed the first one, I was like, give me a minute! I wasn't sure if that thing was gonna start snailing it's way up my insides. Who knows how many lives snails have?
I finished them! Yesss! They weren't half bad. I'd like to have them once more to decide whether I like them. I did enjoy the garlic sauce though. We chilled and may have taken one or 2 pictures.

We got back home, I watched an episode or two of The Office --> bed.

The next day, I got a call from my friend from Pretoria. I don't know how she knew, she just dialled my number and it went through. I had talked to her and told her I was having endless problems going to France and might come back home. I guess that's how she knew. A few more days, and we'd go to my mom's in Uitenhage where everyone would know I'm back and we'd all leave happily every after. Or could we?

It's Good To be Home!

16th December
We landed in Cape town as scheduled. I guess it's true what they say about Cape Town (and Durban flights) always being on time. It was scorching hot! The passengers applauded. That was a first for me. There I was, coming from the coldest winter I've ever experienced to, if not, the hottest summer in South Africa! This global warming thing's real, ain't it? I had half my wardrobe on, not only because it was cold in Georgia, but like I mentioned in previous posts, because I'd exceeded the luggage limit and I was being cheap.

I put on all my jackets, grabbed all my small bags and tried to get off the plane without annoying anyone very much. The hot Italian waved good bye and disappeared in the crowd.
I was so excited to be back in the motherland in the mother city! The rest of the family still didn't know I was back. Just my sis and her hubby. I was still in touch with everyone, but I stayed clear of location details. I was so excited, I wanted to call everyone and scream I'm HOME!

Of course, I had to look for my phone, which for the life of me was nowhere to be found. I had the blackberry, but I didn't have the sim card. It was in the work phone. I knew where everything was before I got to the airport and had to unpack and repack 2 times grrrr! 'Don't be mad! Don't be mad! You're home now, happy thoughts'. I found a public phone and as I was about to dial my sister, I saw my brother-in-law. Yaaaayyyyy! He was the last person I saw before I left and the 1st I saw when I came back. Talk about full circle. 'You are so stupid! Come here you stupid!'. We found my sis, she looked so cute! She's the one that I've talked to every single day of my time in GE. She knew everything, she went through all the motions with me and she reads my blog.

She burst out crying. 'I know! I know! It's like I just came back from prison, right?' YES! 'I know and it doesn't help that I'm wearing my least flattering clothes. Sorry about that. Now you'll have this image of me stuck in your head'. Group hug and we headed for the car. Bro-in-law has a nice new car, Audi A something. It's really pretty and big. We drove to his work, I was appreciating the weather and the nice view. You know Cape Town and its mountains and and and. At bro-in-law's work, they have Zebras. They're his friends. He talks to them all the time. One of them had given birth the day before. Baby zebras are big! That thing didn't look one day old at all!

We talked a little bit about GE, made a few jokes in English, that was the fun part! MY SIS HAD BAKED ME A CAKE. WHHHAAAATTTTT! She hid it in a corner somewhere in the kitchen. Of course I went straight to it and I died! It was so big! Divine! And alllll mine! I did share with them of course, I'm not that bad, duh! I got new clothes, new jewellery yayness all the way.
I showered and called it a day.

GOOD TO BE HOME!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

... The doctor's finger, a man's private parts and and and

Dec 16th
On the plane, I sat next to a Georgian seaman. We were lucky to be the only 2 passengers in a 3seater, Lord knows we needed the extra space!
The dude wouldn't stop talking! He spoke English well. He told me about himself, his job, how much he earned, which was way more than I thought Georgian Seamen made, about $8 000 per month. His marriage, his wife, what she does and how much he made per month.

The flight attendant made the usual announcements, emergency exits and whatnot. The guy spoke right through those, they must've reminded passengers to switch their cell phones off, but I missed that. Before I knew it, the plane was getting airborne! My cellphone was off and I hadn't buckled up! I quickly switched my cell off, dude, made a phone call. I was like, say what nah? I felt like I was being punked, which is how I felt every single day in Georgia. The passengers behind us notified the attendants that my neighbour was talking on the phone. He was reprimanded. I told him to buckle up, he told me the belt was too small for him. It fit me! That says a lot! 'Nah, it's too small, plus it makes me uncomfortable'. Ok, Mr. Seaman!

He went on to tell me about how badly he and his wife want children. There's a procedure that the Turkish doctors perform on men that can't have kids. I'll spare you the gory details. But it had to do with a man's private parts, the doctor's finger and and and. This guy looked me straight in the eye and his face seemed much closed to mine as he talked to me about this. I don't know if he was, or it was me being uncomfortable. He may have breathed deeply too.

I remember thinking, I needed to sleep well before my flight out of Georgia so that I could watch the plane leave (I imagined having a window seat). It's the image I wanted more than anything else. This man ruined it for me! Trust a Georgian! And I didn't get a window seat!

Somehow, the subject changed and he asked me the usual Georgian questions:
'do you like Georgia?'.
It's a beautiful country.
'Do you like Georgians?'
Nope!
'NO?'
Yup! Nope!
'Why? I mean, Georgia is a country like any other country. Georgians are normal people, we have our ups and downs, but nobody is perfect. Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah! Blah!
Have you travelled to any other country? Could it be you just miss home and are not used to being among different people? That's the word! Different! Georgians are different to South Africans! Blah blah blah blah'.
Yeah, you're right. Georgians are different. I've met people from all over the world. But I find a lot similar in them and I find nothing in common between myself (and them) and Georgians. So yeah
'But, but-'
You know what? Let's leave it as it is. That's one of the things I find 'different' about Georgians, the defensive-ness. I've never met more defensive people in my life! Don't worry about my opinion, I'm just one person, if I'm the only not-so-well-travelled foreigner  to set foot in Georgia, I'm sure lots of other well travelled foreigners loved it.
'No, no no no! It's people like you that black paint Georgians out there. These are your own opinions and you should keep them to yourself and let other people come to our country and experience it for themselves!'
I'm sorry, but if people want my opinion of it, I'll tell them exactly, what I went through in Georgia, it's not my duty to sugar-coat it. They can make up their mind as to whether or not they want to still visit or not.

Like all Georgians, once he heard my opinion of his country and its people, he had nothing more to say to me. Thank heavens! I spent the rest of the flight (which wasn't much at all) excited that I made it on the plane without having to pay for my luggage and that I was actually on the way out! That I made it! Through all the drama!

In no time, we were in Turkey, Istanbul airport. According to the travelling agent, I had a 2 hour lay over. Very excited about that. When I went to Georgia, my lay over in Istanbul was 7 hours. I had lots of bags, heavy bags and tons of clothes on me. As soon as we landed, I went looking for a trolley. It took me an hour to find one! Yup! 60 minutes! I kept looking at the time and something didn't gel. If my layover was 2 hours, then I'd to be out of there at 8pm.  My ticket said 12, which meant the layover was actually 5 hours. Thanks Georgian travelling agent for clearing that up for me! See, here's the thing, when you talk about Georgian anything, you have to put the prefix 'Georgian'. That informs people that whoever/whatever you're talking about is SPECIAL.

I spent the remaining 2 hours sleeping on the benches. That's after, I munched on free Turkish Delight. What's Turkey without Turkish Delight? I'd never seen so many Chinese in one place in my life! They were EVERYWHERE! An hour before my flight, I went to check in. I knew I was in the right place, when I heard people speaking Afrikaans, until I realised it was either German/Dutch because IT WASN'T AFRIKAANS. I saw more black people and that put a smile on my face. Whew!

I don't know what happened but as the gates opened, they announced something (the airport people, not the gates lol), and we all were rushed through the gates without being checked. I squeezed through the passage to my seat, fortunately, I kind attendant helped me with my bags. She even helped me pack them up in the overhead shelf thing.

I sat next to a lady this time. She smiled to acknowledge me and I felt guilty stripping off 3 of my 5 jackets and jerseys. I didn't want to be that annoying person, with crap all over the place. I'm so glad I had a window seat because I just stuffed all my thing between my seat and the wall. She was reading a book. She was travelling with three kinds and her husband. HER HUSBAND WAS HOT! HE IS HOT! THEY'RE ITALIAN. They swapped seats for a little while. He wanted to watch a movie and his monitor wasn't working. Maaaannn! I was so mad that I didn't look cute that day. He's nice too! He told me it was going to be their first time in South Africa, they were going to stay for 2weeks, and all that good stuff. I had to bite my tongue and not invite them over to my sis' for a meal or 2. She's a great cook and it couldn't hurt to feast my eyes one more time on an Italian hunk. When I thought about how many they were, I was like, never mind! There's no way, we'll use 2 cars just to drive these people home! And none of those cars is mine. I'd feel guilty.

It was a very nice flight. I listened to music, all time favourites: Ray Charles, Elton John, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Michael Bolton etc. As a result, I still want to buy myself Michael Bolton's The Duets album. It's great! I love his version of Make you feel my love. I watched a movie or two, I can't remember. I know that one was with Rob Patinson and Reese Witherspoon, something about water and the elephants. It's a nice movie that shows off Rob's acting talent.

When we landed in Johannesburg, I felt like it had only been the day before that I left the country for the first time to an unknown land. I felt all sorts of emotions take over me. I just wanted to call my family and tell them I'm here! But I couldn't because my sis and I decided to surprise everybody. More on that later. We were in Joburg for more than an hour. I spent the whole time listening to a dude making moved on a Norwegian girl sitting behind me. I was so over it!
I freaked out a bit when the flight attendants wanted us to claim our bags. I was like oh my gosh I knew it! My friend D's 'dealer' friend snuck something in my luggage!

Last day in Georgia?

15th Dec
The day finally arrived!
I woke up early, even though I went to bead really late. (By the way, I still don't get why slept late doesn't mean I went to bed late but I woke up late).
I hadn't weighed my luggage but hoped that the weight would have been more or less the same as I didn't do any shopping in Georgia. All my gifts were in my carry onS. Yeah, I had a few of those! I took out some stuff I wanted to leave behind and gifts for my friend D. My suitcase was still too full, and there wasn't much I could do about that but hope for the best and pile the thicker and heavier clothes on.

My friend, B and I had an appointment for 1pm. He only had an hour to see me because he had a boxing match that day. And I only found out then that my professional dancer friend was also a boxer. Interesting! I asked him to meet me at my friends, we'd talk for a bit, say our good-byes, then he could head back. He called me when he was 'around'. I ran to the bus stop to meet him and he was nowhere to be seen. We did that awkward thing of talking to each other on the phone, asking the other person to wave their hand so you could see them, I ran toward a statue that was in the middle of the road so he couldn't miss me. He told me he was looking at the statue and couldn't see me. I jumped, and waved and and and AND he still couldn't see me. He asked me to hand the phone over to a Georgian. I did, they talked, Georgian man handed me my phone back, B told me to wait for him right there. Apparently he got off a few stops too soon. Great! All that jumping and waving for nothing! I'd be damned if I must listen to this dude and wait for him, and NOT MOVE! I ran across the street to the bank and exchanged my money to Dollars because who knows if they keep Georgian Lari in South Africa? Or anywhere else in Georgia besides Georgia herself! Just as I walked out of the bank, B called and told me he got lost and ended up God-knows-where, he asked me to rather meet him in the City centre. I would have if I didn't have 100 kg (220 lb) baggage to take with me to the airport from our meeting. I had to cancel our meeting. The other thing was, he had about 20 - 30 minutes left before his match.

What was more annoying was the fact that I couldn't call him, whenever I tried, I got the annoying automated crap that said his number didn't exist, which, it obviously did! I had to text him, he'd call me in return. I could sense the disappointment in his voice, he probably could sense the pain in mine. Ahhhh! Painful Good byes! I sent Michelle a text, asking her to give B a big kiss for me. They were going to meet the next day. I later found out that didn't happen either. They somehow missed each other. Poor B :(  Poor us! He's such a great friend!

Cab----->Airport. Good bye D! Saying good bye to D was weird. It wasn't  sad, it was just weird. Cab driver and I had the usual driver/passenger conversations. In Genglish (Georgian and English).
Driver: Do you like Georgia?
Me:  She's ok.
Driver: Do you like Georgians?
Me: Not really.
Driver: Why not?
Me: Because, first of all Georgian men see us (foreigners) as sluts/prostitutes and they want nothing but sex sex sex sex from us.
Driver: What's wrong with sex? Don't you like sex? I like sex. Everybody does.
Me: . . . . How much longer before we get to the airport?
. . .

At the airport.
I was 2 hours early, if not a little longer. I wanted to have enough time to sort my stuff out i.e. The baggage. I was very nervous about that. Leaving South Africa for Georgia, I was allowed 30kg checked baggage and 8 kg carry on. Fortunately, they didn't weigh my carry on, which weighed about 20 kg. . . Don't judge! Luckily, I was flying the same airlines back to SA!

I sat around, chatting with my sister on email, not believing that the day had finally arrived. It was cold outside and I was sweating bullets! You should have seen all the clothes I had on! Time for check in! They weighed my suitcase, 30 KG! Yesssss! Errrr NOPE!
'I'm sorry, man, you're only allowed up to 20kg for checked luggage'. WHAAAATTT? TWENTY KILOGRAMS? BUT IT WAS THIRTY WHEN I CAME HERE! WHAT AM I TO DO WITH THE EXTRA TEN?
'You may pay for it at that counter mam, at €20 (R200) per kilogram.
WHAAAAATTT? TWENTY EUROS? THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY!
'Neeext!'

R2 000 ($300) for luggage! Good Lord! I could've bought souvenirs with that money! Sharks! Uhm, okay.... I went to the counter to confirm the amount.
'Miss Brook flying to Switzerland, via Germany?' No, that was meant for tomorrow, I didn't get the visa, I'm now going back to South Africa. (I was hopeful that they'd made a mistake thinking I was still flying Lufthansa whose baggage limit is less than that of Turkish.
'Ok mam, your limit is 20kg, anything over and above that will be charged at €10 per Kilo'. But - 'I'm sorry mam, those are the rules. If you have a problem with that, please talk to the manager. There she is.'
I emailed my sister an update of what was going on. She said: CRY! JUST CRY! THEY'LL FEEL SORRY FOR YOU.

Acting hat on, I started getting teary eyed, I walked toward the manager, she was talking to someone. I stood there waiting, getting 'really upset'. I had to interrupt them, they weren't getting done, I think the guy was trying to hit on the manager and she wasn't getting it.
Me: Hi! Excuse me. Are you the manager?
Manager: Yes, can I help you?
Me: (teary eyed) uhm, oh Gosh! Whew! My luggage-
Manager: Yes, they told me! I'm sorry. Those are the rules, I can't help you.
5 kilograms, that's it!
Me: (excited, tears GONE) so my limit's 25 kg? THANK YOU! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
I ran back to my luggage which by then was all over the place, I took out my clothes, put more clothes on, threw some clothes away, oh my gosh! I had to figure out what to do with 5kg of my stuff. There was a security guard sitting next to me, watching me like a hawk. I don't blame him, I was acting rather suspicious running all over the show like a headless chicken.

I'd to go back to have my suitcase weighed. 24.6kg. I was like, oh cool! And ran back to my bags to get more stuff before she could tell me I couldn't. We stopped at 25.2kg. The lady told me to bring my carry on. I was like Lord have mercy! What if they decide to weigh these bags as well? I'll die! She looked at them, shook her head and just gave me the stickers to stick them on myself. Thang goodness!

I went upstairs, pretending as if my bags weren't that heavy, I passed a policewoman that looked at my bags and went, 'that's a lot of bags!'. I was like 'uhm erm, er, hi uhm'. I didn't know whether to agree with her or deny that those were a lot of bags or what. Security check! Dude told me I had a pair of scissors in my bag that he wanted me to take out. WHAT? REALLY? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Of course, I didn't say that to him. I couldn't find the darn scissors. I had to empty my bag once again, thinking to myself, "I tell you I'm not meant to leave this country! I'll miss my flight tonight". I had to strip, it was impossible to manoeuvre with half my wardrobe on.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My New Boyfriend

Wednesday,14th Dec.
One of D's many guy friends called, asked to speak to me. Yeah, to me and we don't even know each other. Very fresh of him! He told me he missed me and couldn't wait to see me. Did I mention we didn't know each other from a tin of paint? To stay up and wait for him. D seemed excited that this dude was coming over to meet me. I was ready to call it a day. 3 hours later, dude called again, this was about 10 pm or so. He'd just got off the bus. D told her I was up waiting for him. She told him I wanted him to buy me a slab of chocolate. She described her favourite chocolate. He was like, what else? Beer? She told him, no,and asked me what I wanted to drink. I told them I was ok. She was like, come on! I told them, ok, fruit juice!
There's something about fruit juice that confuses people so much. First of all, they don't get why a grown up would want fruit juice instead of... I don't know.... Beer? Secondly, they never know if you want fruit flavoured carbonated drinks or 6 % fruit juice.
For some reason, they just never get it right! It doesn't matter if you clarify and say 100 % fruit juice. Rest assured that is NOT what you're getting! Unless you're at a restaurant and are going to pay for it yourself. if someone else orders it for you and THEY are paying, FORGET IT!

Anyway, D told me a bit about him. He's a 'businessman' from West Africa, he's looking for a 'good' woman. He lives with a woman, but that woman,blah blah blah, I won't get into it here. I wasn't interested. For obvious reasons. I told him to be realistic. Besides the fact that he's taken, I  was leaving the country in a few hours. He told me to stay. Two more months. For him. I was like, you must be joking, after everything I've been through, all the drama, just to get a ticket out of this place you want me to stay. FOR YOU! 'What if I said I'd buy you another ticket? First class? What if I said I'd send you on vacation in Thailand?' Psshhhhh what it if I said no thanks?

It was freezing that night, I was sitting on a one sitter couch, with a huge blanket over me, in front of the heater. He told me to sit on his couch and that he'd warm me up. Eerrrr, nah thanks! I got bored. I got on my blackberry and occupied myself. He was like, 'you're not even drinking the juice I brought you'. He brought 2 slabs of really nice chocolate. He did figure out that my friend wanted the chocolate, not me. Oh and of course, he brought us Fanta Orange. That was my fruit juice. I'm not a fan of carbonated drinks. I had to be polite and have a bit of that.

D kept pushing that I sit next to this random, rich, businessman, dude. Oh he's well travelled, he's been to 42 countries. Blah blah blah. He wanted me to go home with him that very night. I asked him what would happen to the woman he lives with. He told me he'd already booked a hotel for us. I don't know when and why? I didn't believe him anyway. I was tired and really wanted to sleep. I didn't want to sleep on the plane. I wanted to be wide awake when I left Georgia. That was the moment I'd been looking forward to for a very long time. I wasn't going to let anyone ruin it for me!

I asked to be excused when he said, 'I came to see you and you want to leave me here? Are you chasing me away?'. I was like seriously dude? We don't know each other and I've plans. I really need to sleep. It was around 1am. I didn't know where I was sleeping. D had told me I could crash on the couch. We were at her new man's place, not her old place where she had a spare bed. Her guy was nowhere to be seen. Apparently he was at the office. It had been 48 hours since he was last home. Some guys are serious about their jobs.

I told D I needed to sleep, she knew my plans, she knew what I'd gone through, she knew everything. And I thought she knew I wasn't looking for a one night stand. Wrong! She told me she was tired. I could go to the hotel with the business man if I wished or we could sleep together in the lounge. WHAT? Who are you and what have you done to my friend?

Eventually, the guy got that I wasn't doing anything with him, I wasny going to sit next to him, hold his hand, dance with him DANCE with him, go out with him, or sleep on the floor with him. He got pissed off. He got mad that I wasted his time and led him on, I didn't care. I felt unsafe. I hoped that nobody would sneak any illegal substances in my luggage. He asked me to walk him out. I refused. He left, I slept in D's bed because her man didn't come home.

One Way Ticket To Georgia

Wednesday, 14th Dec
In Tbilisi, Superman helped me with my luggage off the train. He got me a trolley. I haggled the trolley-man down to R12 (3Lari) from R20 (5Lari). Trolley dude took me to a cab where I haggled the dude from R40 (10GEL) down to R32 (8GEL - Georgian Lari).
It was before 8am and I had to call my friend for directions. Poor thing!

She's new there, so she had to wake up and find a Georgian to direct the  driver. It wasn't that hard to find. I'd been there once, at night and fortunately, I was able to direct the guy from the main road.

It was freezing out! I hung around my friend's place for a bit, defrosted myself.  On asking my friend, D if her man has a scanner I could use to scan my docs to the travelling agency, she told me he normally uses his phone. I couldn't help wondering why she didn't use his phone to scan the docs to me instead of telling me to travel 8 hours to do it myself. She didn't know where the internet cafe was in the area, if at all there was one. I was like, okay, how about I just take a photo of the documents with my phone and send it to the agency? So I did that and called them to confirm receipt. Success!

Next was to sit and wait for the agent to get back to me. They were going to email the paperwork to the airlines, wait for the airlines to make a decision on whether to refund me or not and then get back to me. 2hours later, NOTHING! I called the agent, she suggested I meet her at the agency. I did as asked.

I arrived at the agency, she said she'd been trying to call the airlines and they didn't pick up. Apparently they only deal with emails. No phone calls. She tried calling them again.
There I was freaking out, imagining the worst. What if I didn't get my a refund? I'd have to use my own money to book a flight home, +- R10 000. What if they didn't have space for me before Christmas? What if? What if!

The airlines picked up! They agreed to refund me 100 %. Score! The supervisor/manager or whatever person of the agency was sitting right next to the consultant that was assisting me, checking out her every move. That made me nervous.  I wanted a one way ticket to Cape Town. The org had bought me a return flight to France. That refund wasn't enough for a one way to SA, I had to pitch in some of my own money. The consultant told me that he had the perfect seat to South Africa for me.  What! Are you telling me there's a light at the end of this tunnel after all? Or NOT! I overheard the supervisor or whatever person talking to my bosses. She handed  the phone over to the consultant. When she was done, the consultant then told me to call K, the flights lady at the office. Oh nooooo!

My contract ends in June of 2012. My fear was that I'd be forced to buy a return flight or else not go on vacation. One of the reasons I took the contract to work in Georgia was because they pay for your flights. I found myself having to pitch in my own money. This was only for a single ticket. I still have to buy a ticket back to the country to finish my contract. I'm going to have to think about that. That's not what I signed up for. . . . Note to self: don't act nervous... I called K and remembered to breather normally.
Me: Hi K...
K:   Hi Brook. How are you?
Me: Whew! I'm okay thanks. How about you?
K: I'm very good. Are you coming alright with your flight arrangements?
Me: Yes. Thanks. (Trying to keep the call as short as possible).
K: I hear you have to use your own money..?
Me: Yes, but it's ok, I'm just glad to be going home.
K: Are you coming back?
Me: I have to, my contracts ends in June.
K: Are you buying a return ticket?
Me: I'm afraid not, I can only afford a one way ticket for now, I'll raise the rest of the money in SA
K: I feel bad that you have to buy your own tickets, let me call my boss and see if we can't buy you your return ticket.
Me: (thinking: oh Lord! Don't!) Thanks, K, I'd really appreciate that.
K: ok Brook, I'll call you back

Darn it! Someone's going to realise that once I'm out of this hell hole there will be nothing forcing me to come back if I don't have a return ticket. Especially if they don't buy it for me! I can do whatever I want. Dang it! They will probably make me buy a non-refundable return ticket or make me sign some legal document forcing me to come back and in the process, I might end up loosing my nice ticket to SA. HEEEELLLPPP MEEEE! I'd to sit, and wait. And try not to die of anxiety. So I got on the phone and emailed my sister.

K: Hello Brook, how are you?
Me: ok thanks
K: I talked to the head and he said it's ok if you can only buy your return ticket in SA. Please keep me informed of when you'll be back blah blah blah.
Agent printed my ticket out. I double checked it. Double DOUBLE checked it. I had to make sire everything was fine! The ticket was for the next day, December 15th. I hit a jackpot! I got to leave a day before I'd have if I'd gone to France. I told my sister and we agreed not to tell the rest of the family. We wanted to surprise them. Man! That was going to be hard. I was so excited. I wanted to scream it on roof tops! To come that close to being trapped in that hell hole for the holidays would've been the worst thing ever!