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


 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 07, 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 06, 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 03, 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!