Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Moving Out?

Michelle and I planned that she'll come spend the weekend here. I assumed my family would be okay with it. Especially, considering the 'mom' knows all about her frm snooping through my photos. She knows she's the girl whose host family hosted me when I spent the weekend in Batumi. One day, I got home from work, my host dad's mother was here. Great! She can do some translation for me! I asked if Mich can come for the weekend. She didn't seem pleased and told my host mom, who walked away. She asked if it's a girl friend or a boy. I told them a boy. I mean really now! She mumbled a long story, they both did, and all that was translated to, ' you should ask the host dad!'. I could see they were not chuffed. I thought not to ask the dad. But after a few days, I was like, screw it, I'm asking him. I called him frm work, no answer! My assistant said we can use her phone, she doesn't pay for calls. I indulged her (cos I also don't pay for calls to my host dad), he answered immediately. Which makes you wonder why my calls were not answered. He asked him in Georgian, he asked if it's a boy or a girl, when learning it's a girl, he agreed. He said something else, the assistant laughed (she doesn't even know him!). I asked what he said, she said, nothing!

I told Mich the family agreed to her spending the weekend here.

Thursday, 21 July
I got a call from our resource centre regarding my wanting to move out of my host family's place. The lady said she was on her way to the police station. We met for the first time, she asked me how work was with a huge smile that I didn't get, but oh well, at least it's a smile. I told her ok thanks, she asked then why do you want to leave? Uhm, I want to change host families not police stations!
She told me this might be a lengthy process as she doesn't have any families on standby and on the stame breath, she asked me to stay one more night at the house and she'd move me Friday, as she has a few families on stand by. I was left confused. She asked me to tell her more about why I want to move. As I was blabbing away, she cut me off and said, it was nice to meet you, feel free to call me anytime! And walked away!
I had to tell Mich about the developments as this could change things with regards to her spending the weekend here. I felt so bad!
When I got home, my 'mom' asked where my friend was. She knows Martyna, Clint and Harriet and I didn't know which friend she was talking about, so I asked. She used her hands to signal chinese eyes. Oh, Michelle? She's coming tomorrow. I didn't bother to tell her she will no longer be coming over and she didn't bother to ask where Mich was over the weekend when I was locked up in my room watching desperate housewives.

After work, I went past my host 'grandmother's work. For some reason, I found us talking about Nick my Georgian friend, who's friend's with her younger son. She asked if I talked to him, he's around blah. I texted him. He picked me up, we hung out with his friends at the park. An old, could've easily been 90 year old lady joined us. She wanted to know about me. I saw a friend I made a few days prior, while talking to this friend, this old lady patted me and said 'phuck you!' What is 'phuk?'. I was so disappointed in these kids!
We went to Nick's apartment, hung out some more, one of the friends cooked dinner, they bought me ice cream. We watched a bit of tv. Nick begged me for a kiss, I refused, around 9, they dropped me off and Nick said he'd get money frm his dad the next day and take me wherever I wanna go in his car.

Friday, 22 July
During my lunch break, I called the Resource lady to find out if they'll tell my host family why I'm moving out. She said yup! They need to know! I said but I don't want to offend anybody and since this is such a small town, I wouldn't want the locals to hate me and all. She said, this is their problem, they promised to take care of you and feed you, if they can't do that, it's breach of contract and they need to know. I said, well, ok then!
I called her again in the evening to find out if she was winning. She said she had talked to 5 families that were going to get back to her. If she didn't move me on Friday, she definitely would on Saturday. Saturday, no word from the lady, Sunday, same story. I called the hotline number and asked if they knew what was going on. They said they didn't, but would move me by the end of the day! Not too long after that, I got a call frm head office. I was told that miss RC (resource centre) no longer for works for the company and she didn't have the authority to move me anyway. According to the contract, I should stay here until September. Long story short, the police academy will sit during the week and decide whether or not they can move and where.

Monday, 25 July
First thing in the morning, I get this text frm RC : Good morning *** how r u just now i found my mobile and i am very happy about that i will tell u tumorrow because i am at doctors and when i will be free i'll call and will solve your problem ok. Right i am sorry that i didn't anrwer:) see u tumorrow.

Later on, I got a call from head office, they had good news for me. The police academy agreed to move me! I said But! But! RC has good news for me as well! I asked if she actually knows that she's no longer working for the company. They said yep, she does. On Tuesday, It was confirmed that I'll be moving in with one of my student's student's family next Monday, the 1st of Aug.
My host family doesn't know yet. Apparently, someone will tell them.
I'm so excited, but I'm too scared to start packing because she'll see my bags and will want to know what's up or the husband will dig at work, and I'm not ready for that extra awkwardness yet.

My host family

The host dad is seldom at home, he's a policeman, on call 24hrs. The baby is 5, super cute, love him! The mother is a whole another show!
She's 25 and super annoying. You'd thing that a good age to be cool, nah, not in this house!
She's a control freak!
She's always in my room. Like she'll leave something in my room, I'll notice it when I go to sleep around 11pm, when I wake up at 5am, it's gone. When did she take it? In the middle of the night, of course! Which someone was in my room while I was asleep. How creepy is that?
If I leave my bedroom windows and curtain open, I'll find them closed. And vice versa. I guess just cos!
She knows where all my stuff is! Like, in a creepy way! If I were to leave my iPod on charge, I'll find it in the drawer I keep it. On the exact same stop, if I were to leave, say a safety pin on the dressing chest, I'll find it in my jewellery box, in the drawer, exactly where I keep it! How does she know? She's been going through my things! That's the only logical explanation.
Don't be fooled and think she's been cleaning my room, that's why she moves these things, nope! If I leave the room dusty, I'll find it exactly the same way, I left it, but some objects will be moved!
This used to be their bedroom, so they've a cute lil family portrait on the dressing chest. She comes in here every now and then, dusts it off and turns it in such a way that it faces my bed. So I feel like I'm being watched at all times.
We all use the same wardrobe (closet), so they're always in and out of my room for this reason, everything is kept here, the baby's toys, which of course, he uses everyday, the hair dryer, her toiletries, ALLES! (Everything!).
My door has a huge frosted glass on the upper half (more than half). The bottom part is wooden. You can see me frm outside, just frosted. They never knock! I requested a lock, and got a latch. Which means I can lock myself in, but can't lock when I leave, which I never would've done anyway, because all their stuff is in there. I now latch when I'm inside because I don't want any surprises. She usually bounces at the door as she never knocks, she'll come, push the door and bam! And then stand there, and try to peep through the glass while knocking really hard and screaming my name.
I got a dvd when I moved here. It had been stashed in the room divider in the lounge so I didn't feel bad taking it. If I leave it on pause while going to use the bathroom, I'll come back to find it switched off. Same applies to the lights, computer, tv, any and every electrical appliance. if I leave my camera battery on charge, that's going to be disconnected and the charger will be folded up and packed away, where I keep it! That would've been sweet if it were not uber annoying! I don't like it when people are in my private space, when they touch and snoop through my stuff in my absense, or presence, and when they touch my gadgets! Don't touch my charger! Cos when you fold up the wire, you might do so too tightly and after a few times of doing this the wire will wear off and the charger won't work etc.
I called her to the computer one day and asked her if she wants to know the things that make me feel uncomfortable in her home. She agreed. I typed down a few, she apologised and hasn't stopped.

She stares at me a lot! When my door opens, she's always close by! She'll leave whatever she was doing and linger outside my room! That applies to wherever in the house I am. If I'm using their computer, which was 'bought for my use and they connected the internet for me but since they saw me use youtube [which was somewhere in the beginning], they stay glued on that thing and I can never get a chance to use it)', she'll come stand by me and try to read what I'm typing, or reading. If I'm uploading pictures on Facebook, she'll laugh when she sees ones she thinks are funny. If she recognises the location, she'll go, 'Batumi! Kutaisi!' Etc. I'll of course, ignore her and go on with my thing, or just log off and come to my room, and she'll immediately shut the pc down.
They gave me a spare key to the main door, and half the time, especially in the middle of the night. When I really don't want to wake anybody up, their key will be inside the lock and I will have to ring the door bell.

If I'm lucky, I'll get fed, bread, cheese and something. Or I won't! It's all up in the air really!
Oh and the baby always gets beaten up by the mother. All the time! The moment he wakes up, sometimes I'm awaken by his cry, when he gets home from pre-school, right till bedtime,and he'll cry himself to sleep. Same thing the next morning and everyday.
Once, that I know off, the mother and father had a physical fight! I'd just got home from a weekend away. It went on for about 3hours. He went to work, she came out the bedroom lips bruised and bleeding. I asked if he beat her up, she said no, she was fine. They just had an argument. Married people have those all the time, it's nothing and they'll be fine. Oh well, I wouldn't know, I've never been married!
My host mom wears really short skits, shorts or really tight pants. Then her husband will grab her sometimes when he feels like being freaky! Say, for example, I'm sitting by the computer doing something personal, she's standing right next to me, trying to read it, her husband will come stand behind her, squeeze her breasts and rub her nipples. or stick his hand under her skirt. She'll smile and blush. Aaawww, cute! Can you go to your room now, pls!

The toilet Situation

Whenever I go to the bathroom there's always some type of a situation. Either the bathroom will be open, and when I open the door to the hallway, just before the bathroom, someone will lock the door from inside. Which means there's been someone in there all along. Can you blame them? We neither have a window (that opens) nor air freshener in there! This happens almost every morning.
Or there's unflushed poo! Unflushed cos you can tell they didn't even try! The pressure in the toilet flushing things is weak, so you have to flush more than once. But this person, doesn't even try.
Or there is strong yellow wee that obviously hasn't been flushed. Gross!
Or poo left overs on in sides of the seat. Use the brush, pls! Gees!

We use the shower! I particularly do cos the bath's not really up to par. They've the whole bath/shower combo going on. It's the bathtub, with a shower head, and the shower curtain that's always wet. Basically, after they take a shower, they don't leave the curtain open for it to dry out, the 'host mother' slides it to the corner, really 'neatly' cos everything has to be perfect. Which makes me roll my eyes because: refer previous paragraph!
I always leave it wide open so it can air dry, and she always goes in the bathroom after me, to squash it to the corner.

Lately, there's no water every afternoon until the next morning at 8:00. Atleast I get to shower every day before work, knock on wood! And whenever there's no water, that triggers my body to want to 'go'. They usually half fill the tub with water in case this happens. It doesn't happen often. First time it happened this month, was a few days ago (and it's happened everyday since), just after the host mom took a shower. So she was using the tub and thus, no water for us! We had to not 'go' for more than 12 hours. the next day, I filled my 6Litre water bottle up for drinking water I can trust and whatever else I might need water for.
She poured a little bit of water in the tub, a little less than a quarter of the tub and there was no water that afternoon. We didn't have enough water! But we survived.
Yesterday, she didn't use the bath tub, but a small plastic one. I'm not sure why.
This morning, at 5:00 I went to the toilet. Found it nice and clean. I flushed using a bucket. Then I thought to be extra cute, let me use the brush, even though I didn't really need to. It was filled with poo! All around it! I only saw this when I'd dunked it in the toilet and the water turned brown. So of course I had to flush this Georgian poo with a few more buckets of water. Now that small plastic tub is less than half full.
Just a second, I'm going to puke...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Weekend in Tbilisi

Li, the cute Chinese guy, who's nickname is Nothing and I had been talking over the phone. Niceness:).
I kind of hinted that I'd like to see him ALONE on Friday, when I arrive in Tbilisi. He said he'd love to come but he's not familiar with the city as he'd only been in Georgia for 2weeks. Fair enough! He said he would have to take his friends along. No sweat, his friends are my friends too. I met them all in Batumi.
When I told my assistant that I'd like to visit Tbilisi for the weekend, she told me that there's always a car that goest to Tbilisi frm the office every morning at 10 and she would ask the boss if I could catch a lift. I told Li that I might be in the city around 1pm if I catch a lift with the cops, but I'd confirm with him when I leave Akhaltsikhe. My town.

Friday, 15 July
Lia, my assistant, told me that the car was full and I wouldn't be able to get a lift. I called and updated Li. I then told him, that meant I'd have to work the whole day, finish at 4 and leave then, and would arrive at 7.
After the 3rd class, Lia said I could leave, she'd do the last class. She didn't have to tell me twice! I was so out of there!
As I arrived at the rank, Li called! He was in Tbilisi! And to rub it in, he went by himself! So this would have been perfect, only, I was in Akhalstikhe and would only arrive in Tbs in 3hrs. When I told him this, he sounded disappointed, which meant he misunderstood me when I told him I would no longer get the lift and was going to leave much later than planned. Whew!
I asked him to hang around, and I'd catch up with him in 3.
In the marshrutka (taxi) I met Anna, a German lady that's holidaying in Georgia. We sat next to each other and spoke English.
3hrs later, we arrived in TBS! I called Li, no answer. Called Beqa, his friend and he gave the phone to Li. Bad sign! This meant Li went back home.
He said 'I'm in Rustavi!'. I asked if lhe was going to go back to Tbs, he said, 'no, I'm in Rustavi! I stay here!'. Beqa couldn't come meet me either because his family had come to visit, I was screwed! I called Nick, his phone was on voicemail.
Anna took me to my home stay, (guest house/hostel). Very kind of her! She showed me how to take the metro, which I'd never done before. Very fascinating, I must say!
We went for dinner, at an underground restaurant near the station. It was very hot in TBS that night. I bought 1.5Litres of Pepsi. We don't have these in SA! Only 1.25 of coca cola products and 2Litres. Anyway, it was gross! But I still drink it. Harriet arrived later, we walked Anna to the train and I met a black man, I think his name's Ben. He plays football for a Georgian team. We exchanged numbers, of course. On our way back to the homestay, we met 2more, I didn't give them my number, they played for the same football team, and seemed rather 'happy'.
Our homestay was packed! And very very hot. I chatted a bit to a Korean Doctor who's here on holiday, there were lots of people from Poland, more than 5, some from Iran, and the rest from all over the world.
I got a nice, comfy, double bed and the top bunk, near the window. It rained! Harriet and I went to the shop. She needed some snacks. we chatted to a Scott frm Denmark. He told me there are black prostitutes in Tbs. Interesting insight!
Around midnight, I got a text frm Nick, he wanted to know where I was. I told him, Tbs of course! He asked how come I didn't call him. because your phone was off, duh! 'Oh, I was drinking wine!'.
"Where are you right now, Brook?" At the homestay, home here! "Now?". Yep! "Ok, I'm on my way". Sure, I'll text you the address!
30mins later, he was outside. This was around 1. Outside the wrong address cos I managed to mix my homestay's address with that of the one I would've stayed in before. I walked outside and I didn't see his car. This is me standing outside a Russian church before 1am, talking on the cellphone. This kind of thing wouldn't roll in SA!
I gave him the right address, and there he was with his friend. I was co-erced into waking Harriet up who wasn't about to go out at that hour.

Nick drove me around Tbilisi for about an hour and bought me ice cream. I insisted on doing Mc Donald's drive through, cos why not! That was fun! It was so back home!
His dad called and ordered him to go home, he took me home, and uhm, and left :) :) :).
He told me he'd see me on Sunday, when he would introduce me to his family, take me on the promised motor bike ride and give Harriet and I a lift back to Akhaltsikhe. Deal!
We left the house early, had Mc Donald's for breakfast, walked Rustaveli Avenue. The main rd of Tbilisi, then I went for a 'shower' by the sulphur baths. I couldn't afford the baths though, R160 was a bit steep. I asked for a massage. They quoted me R40 (L10) for a 20min session.
This middle aged woman, in black full panties and a red playtex bra, took me to a 'shower' room with about 3 naked, elderly Georgian women, who could've easily been in their 70's. Did I mention they were naked?
I was myself at this point. I was orderd to stand under the shower for 10mins. Then this lady scrubbed me with a rough glove, then, under the shower again. Man, I was dirty!
Then, she scrubbed me with the ball thingy that you use in a shower to really clean yourself, back to the shower. Then massage time. This could've been longer and harder but oh well! For Ten lari, you can't complain.
When I was done, I had to pay L23 (R92). Even though I was quoted L10 (R40). She blocked the door when she saw the expression on my face after the told me the new amount. Relax lady, I won't run away with your money! I'm new here, I wouldn't take that risk!
We met up with one of our group mates that we hadn't seen since training. We had lunch. I had a wrap. They had pizza.
We walked and walked, bookshop, walked walked, train, bazaar. Harried went to the homestay to chill and read a book. We bazaar'ed for hrs, I saw some nice stuff, nothing in my size. Not even shoes! Back to the city centre to meet up with Jane. A former english teacher that I'd been talking to since I came here. Sweet lady! She showed me around her hood. The rich part of Tbls. We went to Goodwill, I bought some toiletries and tons of Cake. It was delicious!
We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner! Beqa left around 8, he bazaar'ed with me since 2/3. Li wouldn't come because he had dance lessons. Oh well, too bad.
We sat and talked and ate and and and until 11. By the time we left, the restaurant was closing and the ice cream shop next door, where Jane wanted to take me thereafter had closed. Maybe next time. She took me to a cab and pd for me. How Georgian of her!
I got harassed by a drunk man on my way to the train around 11:30pm. I survived! Got home at 00:00. Midnight here doesn't seem like midnight back home though. I never would've been walking out at that hour in SA, maybe driving, but still!
Nick had called around 2 and said he was working on his car and would call when he's done. That never happened.

I called Nick, no answer, texted him, nothing. I thought the best thing to do would be to leave. Harriet took a train to the city centre, I waited for one to the rank, when Maline called and said to hang out at hers. I obliged! I sat and talked to her while she was cleaning their new apartment. She and her room mates moved that weekend.

I left around 4, took a 5 o 'clock marshrutka back to Akhaltsikhe. I felt so miserable on my way back, just wanted to cry cry cry! I listened to music on my ipod, covered myself in my damp washing rag that I use as a handkerchief cos its so hot and cried.
I arrived at 8. I went to Clintyna's flat. Clint made Burrito's. Yum! I was hungry, broke and miserable. We ate and talked. Clint cooked some more, until he ran out of gas. Gas gas, cooking gas! Not petrol lol.
They walked me home around 10. I was half asleep and bummed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Party! Park! Polishes!

Wednesday, 13th July
After work, Clint came over. He, Harriet and I went to the pizzeria for uhm, pizza? We ordered a huge margherita pizza cos Harriet is vegeterian. She found beef in her slice. Only in GE! It was still nice though. Pity Harriet couldn't enjoy it with us.
We spent about 2hrs there and Martyna arrived in town with her friends. She was in Tbilisi with her parents who came to visit. She came back to town with her 3 Polish guy friends and a french girlfriend. Nice bunch!
We met up with them at Martyna's. Giorgi and the wife were there as well as the 2 peace Cops. Good times were had by all! Giorgi brought his cousin who was uhm, rather romantic. Apparently he loves Africa, it's his dream land, blah. He was rather touchy, so I distanced myself from him.
My 2 'friends called me! First Li, the cute Chinese. We talked for 16 Minutes. Yup! I checked!). Then Nick. We talked for a bit, he said to call him when I'm in Tbilisi, he wants to take me on a bike ride. Deal!
Harriet and I were dropped off after 1am at mine. I got up and went to work, Harriet works every other day, so she was off.
Lights were on and off in class.
It was so funny when the lights were off, one of my students did and evil laugh and said 'GAMARJOBA!'.
That's hello in Georgian. It was so interesting cos I never ever imagined that in Georgian. LOL.
After work, we were supposed to go for a picnic in uraveli (again:( ) with Giorgi and the Polish. Apparently, he cancelled because he was busy, we skipped that and went to martyna's favourite restaurant at 7.
Harriet couldn't join us, she wanted to spend some time with her host family. The restaurant was hot, as in heat hot? yeah! We ate and talked and laughed and Giorgi randomly showed up with his friends. Including the creepy cousin. They sat 2tables away frm us.
Mckinze came by for like 5mins and had to leave (the peace cop).
We listened to waka waka (of course! The Georgian national anthem) and half a song of Maybe - Enrique Iglesias. Sad cos I love that song. They did repeat the half over and over though.
Giorgi drove us to Martyna's in his Defender, OhMiGosh, I loooove that car! And I plan to drive it one of these days. Gio said I can:).
We went to the park, we stared at as usual. Or so I thought. I was surprised that that was new to Martyna, it happens to me all the time! Frm the house, in the streets, shops, at work, everywhere! That's why I said I'm not going to not do what I want just because people are staring, sorry! They'll just have to get used to me and I'll have to get over it! Either either!
Blazej, one of the PolishES played music on his iPhone. I had brought my Shox speaker so we pumped it up and did our thang, sang along, the works. It was good times indeed. Of course, my host dad was patrolling the park that night, so he found a banch, near us and sat there with a friend staring at us the whole night. THE WHOLE NIGHT! My host dad's brother and his friend found us, they met my friends and stood next to us for about an hour. It was awkward. Then they said they're leaving cos it's late, in english as if to tell me it's time to go home. I just said, c ya!
More music! Then it was my turn to dj frm my iPod, so I did, of course! Queen, Elvis, James Blunt! They walked me home just after one am, we played and sang along to Stay the Night by James Blunt and 3 Wise men outside my block. I bade them bye, and called it a day.
Of course, the key was in the lock at mine and I couldn't open with mine. I had to ring the bell. You've got to love my host family!


Monday, July 11
Work, home! I taught my 'host mom' and her Cousin English. She sat there, dazing in nothingness, obviously bored to death, yawning and yawning until she gave in, and said let's go to the park. I refused cos I was tired and was already in my night dress. Plus I can't stand her and wasn't about to go for a walk with her and have her show me off as a prized possession to the locals when she can't even feed me.
I went to bed.
Tuesday, 12 July
At breakfast, my host mom and her cousin who sat right across frm me at the table, both stared at me as if I've 5 eyes or something. Whenever I looked at the cousin, she'd look the other way, and immediately, stare right back at me, the 'host mom' isn't shy, she keeps staring, whether I can see her or not. I mean, this is the same woman that let's herself into my room and stares at me for ten minutes flat without uttering a word!

After work, Manuk called me, he gave me my pc back FIXED! SUCCESS! We hung out at the restaurant for drinks with him and his Russian friend that didn't speak English that seemed kind of interested in uhm, me. Unfortunately I wasn't so. Harriet joined us later. We bought Fans! Yep, the ones you see in old fashioned movies. I don't know if I mentioned that this country is still stuck in the 17th century.
After we parted with manuk and his friend, I called Nick, my host dad's brother's friend. Got that? He picked us up at the park and took us for s drive somewhere. It was beautiful, the river and mountains. We stopped for 5seconds for him to try and push me off the edge of the hill and to take a pic or 6. Then back to town.
We dropped Harriet home. Back to the park, then to Nick's apartment. Apparently it's been locked for 3yrs while he stays in the capital and sometimes in the village. He said I could move there if I wish. He'll just get it cleaned. I'm seriously considering it! It's massive! It'd be a pit tricky cos he likes me like that so yeah.
Oh and I found a condom in his pocket! Not sure if he always has one, in case he gets lucky or he brought one along because he knew he was going to see me. That will remain life mysteries, I guess. I tore it open and threw it away, cos that's what girls do, no?
We went back to the park and I was taken home around 11.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Is that hair in my cake or is it happy to see me?

Sunday 10th
I found out there's only one marshrutka back to Akhaltsikhe and it's at ten. Or eleven. Michelle's mom got up early to make me what I told them was my favourite Georgian dish and we left before she finished. Sorry:( and Thank you!
Her host dad walked us to the rank. I got myself soething to eat, Khachapuri (cheese bread) everything costs double in Kobuleti and Batumi what it does in my town. I also bought caramel cake. Fun times! Not - as I found a long lock of blonde hair in it later, and it hardly tastes like it looked. The cake, not the hair!
It was nice at Michelle's. That's when I knew for sure that my family is weird and abnormal and there are much micer families out there.
Motion sickness! As usual!
I slept most of the ride home. When I arrived, I bought a belated birthday gift for our baby boy, he's 5. I got him a nice police set, badge, gun, hand cuffs, the works. He threatened to shoot me with it the entire evening.
I spent a minute or 2 on the net and went to sleep.

Romantic weekend in Batumi

Saturday, July 9
We took a marshrutka to batumi, L2 (R8). 30 mins. Mich, her 12yr old host brother, Shota and myself. We met up with Caleb, one of our group members who doesn't stay far frm Batumi. We walked the city. Man oh man, I'm in love with Batumi! It reminds me so much of Durban! It looks like no other city here! Pictures! Pictures! Pictures!
People asked for my picture, they asked to take pics with me, they took my pics without my consent, I took their pics in return, just for kicks!
We went to Goodwill. Just cos! It's smaller than I expected. I took pics and was reprimanded by the cute security guard.
More walking, window shopping, literally! Cos most of the stores were still closed after 10am. We saw some cute guys! Lots! Our group arrived around 12/1. As we met up with them, our friends from the night before arrived. We waited for them and told our group we'd catch up with them at the restaurant. I saw Josh, he was so drunk, at like midday, the detox must have the opposite effect on him.
The 2 guys from Kobuleti said they couldn't join us, they had work to do. We expected the 3 nice ones. All 5 of them showed up. No problem for me, awkward for Mich cos she was practically engaged at this stage! You see if a guy so much as shows interest in you, you're his! You're married, and probably pregnant!
It was good to see Li :) he's cute, I like his long hair! I'm a sucker for guys with funky hair! Or just guys in general, really!
We met up with the gang at the restaurant. Ours was a huge s table. Probably 3 tables put together, for my group, Josh's group and our new Georgian friends. We ate some nice food. I had sea food, and fried rice. It was delish. Our Georgian friends paid! We initially had planned on paying for their meal. But oh well!
Because our group arrived hours after us in Batumi, they spent the whole daying playing catch up with us. We had to split. Our GE friends wanted to go to the beach, for a swim. Varzha wanted to buy Mich a swimming costume so she could swim, I reckon he wanted to see her naked. Pic, pics, pics! The boys changed into black shorts. I don't know if this was a coIncidence and swam! I took my leggings off, and went in the water. Can't swim:(
More pics and the 3 guys had to leave. Varza, Giorgi, Shota (the 12yr old) and I met up with the group, briefly. The museum was closed, we missed it by like 5mins. We went to the botanical gardens. Nice! Huge! Up and down hilly walking. Pics, awkwardness as Varzha spent the whole time asking me about Mich and I spent the whole time trying to get him to ask her! He practically told me he loves her and wants to marry her!

On our way out, we pumped into Iranians that were holidaying in GE, they gave us huge slices of watermelon! Oh Georgia! There were 5 of us and they had enough for all of us? Pictures! Marshrutka back to Batumi. We met up with the group again, had dinner. I had to try archaruli from Batumi, I believe they make the best in the country. I did! And I enjoyed it and will eat it again, next time I'm there cos 'I will be back!'
We hung out a bit.
Varzha said it was time to go and disappeared with the lil boy for ten mins. It felt like an hour and a half. He left his 4ne behind. Classic!
We later found out he went to buy Mich a present and all the stores were closed. It was 10pm on a Saturday night. I wonder why the stores were closed!
We bade out friends good bye. And walked towards the fountains. Man, those were awesome! They are activated by the music that plays across the fountains, the louder and faster the music, the higher the water splashes out of the fountains. Utter Awesomeness! Pics! And amazement! Oh and more pictures of me with random people. At least they asked!
Then we went to see the statue of Ali and Nino. That's a to be seen in Batumi as well. It's 2statues that rotate toward each other, kiss and rotate away from each other, only to get back at each other omg! Loved it!
All this time, at the statues, Varzha had his hand on the small of Michelle's back. No comment.
We took a cab home. An hour or so later! The guys asked us to go home with them, we politely refused. Bedtime!

Kobuleti! No, it's not Laser Tag!

We dropped some people off in Kutaisi, and off to Kobuleti we went (this is where Michelle stays, just before batumi). I saw the Sea! Exhale! Say shoop! Say shoopy, shay shoo-hoop! Shoopy doo! Hoo, hoo hooo!
5hrs later, we were in Kobuleti. Mich and her host sis' came for me. I still felt motion sick, it lasts longer than normal here. It starts off way before the motion itself and lasts way pass. Don't ask!
5mins walk to Mich's house, met the mother and Father. Lovely couple. Warm! Nice big house! With the biggest balcony ever! It's the size of 2 rooms! Michelle and her host mom speak French to one another, sick! Love it! Who would've thought they'd polish up on their French in GE?
She cooked for us! We had pizza (home made! I had a thousand slices), chicken! Omg, meat? Yesssss, chicken! {First of all, omg food! Cos I never get food at my house, and if by some miracle I do, it's bread and cheese or bread and something rotten or undercooked}. Small fried quarter chickens, potato chips, and stuff, too many to list here and dessert. It looked like strawberry flavoured maize meal porridge. I just tasted it and was good. I'm not huge on umdoko/isdudu.
Mich and I went for a walk to the beach. Yep, she lives that close to the beach! The beach here has rocks instead of sand, so it's kind of uncomfortable to walk along it. But it had to be done! How else would I get to the water? Huh? I did and Mich 2k some pics of me doing it! So yep! I can prove it!
While walking to see the rest of the beach front we say 2guys, one of them was Asian, Mich is Asian. She went all cute on me and was like, 'an Asian! An Asian!'. I said let's stalk them! We turned around and power walked behind them trying to catch up. we finally did! 'Hello! Do you speak English?'. "Uhm, my English is very poor!". It was in that instant that I fell inlove!
His name's Li, he was with his 4 friends who popped out of nowhere as we were small talking with them. They invited us to their flat close by. We agreed. We played Laser shoot. No, not laser tag! First of all I don't know what later tag is and I didn't know what lazer shoot was until that day! But apparently, it's not the same thing! We used huge machine guys to lazer shoot animals on the projector screen, it was fun! The room was super hot, I got sweaty and gross but it was tons of fun. 5 guys, 2girls, in a small dark room, shooting at animals. Perfect!
Li and Beqa are dancers, we begged them to dance for us. They did! Cute! I took videos. If I can, I'll upload them later.
More chatting, some of them spoke English, some didn't. One looked 12, he's 20, one looked 25, he's 18, you catch my drift. Li's 28, which suits me just fine, thanks!
We hung out with them until around 12am, it was meant to be for an hour. It lasted longer.
3 of the boys took a marshrutka to Batumi, 2stayed at the flat. They asked us to go back with them, we politely declined. We liked the ones that had left more and they speak English. Plus it was midnight!
We chatted at bit! It was so nice! Mich got a text frm Varzha, one of the guys who stay in Kobuleti. He was declaring his affection for her. Saying how he wouldn't sleep that night, but would dream of her blah.


Friday, July 8
My group will be in July this weekend.
I'm going to join them! If by some chance, I don't, then I'll go to Clint's in Akhalkalaki. I told Tyna that as well.
Somehow, she understood that we're all going to Clint's. As in Harriet, Tyna and I. Clint started getting the spare room ready, he went shopping for blankets and things for us. My mind was set on Batumi, if you know me, you'll know how much I love the sea. I was so looking forward to it. I was nervous about accommodation, it's summer time and Batumi is a tourist town. What if I don't find accommodation?
Josh is renting a 2bedroom apartment, he had told be before that I should come visit for like a week. I can't because unlike him, I'm working. He's on summer holidays. We settled on a weekend. He said he wanted to be by himself his first week in Batumi and detox, his family makes him drink all the time. Fair enough. This was the 2nd weekend. When I talked to Amy, one of our group members, I found out that she'll be staying at Josh's for the weekend. When I talked to Josh about going to Batumi for the weekend and accommodation, he offered to ask his friends for contact details of homestays in the vicinity. I got the hint, the offer to stay at his no longer stood.
I asked if he could meet me at the Rank on my arrival as I didn't know the area and my friends would only arrive the next day, Saturday, he said he didn't know if he'd be around, they were planning on going to Turkey. Fair enough.
I confirmed with the girls here that I'm def going to Batumi on Fri. Harriet couldn't come along because she had classes until late Friday and it's a long drive. Leaving Saturday morning would've been a waste. According to her.
I told my fam and my student's I'll be going to Batumi for the weekend. They told the rest of the country, even people who don't know me.

I had 3 lessons that Friday, after the second one, well, we only do the test Fridays, I took my assistant with me to confirm marshrutka times. It was 11:25. They told me the last marshrutka'd leave in 5 mins. We ran to the shop, bought something to eat, toilet, filled my water bottle up, the marshrutka was hooting for me outside the station. They'd asked me to pay my L20 (R80) beforehand to secure my seat. I ran out and off to Batumi I went!
It was hot, dirty, it smelled and there wasn't enough room for my legs. I sat next to a girl who had tons of luggage, which reduced the space even more, she was sweet and spoke English. That helped.
I had my Lobiani (bean bread/pie) as I was starving cos I didn't get breakfast at the house. You know how they do, no food for Brook! Or Brut as their son calls me.
We stopped just before Kutaisi for a chama station! (Toilet break). 2turkish toilets, stank like hell! They don't flush, gross gross gross!
We had to pay 20 Tetri (80 cent) to use them. I got stared at and someone took a picture of me outside the toilets, all in a day's work!
I called Michelle to tell her I was halfway yo Batumi. She told me she asked her family if I could stay over for the weekend and they agreed! Success!

Uraveli Part 2

The picnic was nice. It was 2guys from the office, one of their wives, 2 more chicks and the chick frm the bank. The bank's in the same block as us, we actually share office space. People who need help from our office, have to stand by the bank. Go figure!
We ate, and drank, and toasted. They toasted to to my birthdaying peeps back home. How sweet!
I had barbecued pork and fish, my 2 favourite meats. I was too stuffed to eat anything else. You must realise because I don't get fed, my stomach has somewhat shrunk and when I do eat, I get full forever.

I wish I could've brought Martyna with me! More so because I told her about the gig and she got ready, then the colleagues made excuses when I asked if she could join us. Which sucks because she includes me in her things. We left around 9/10. My assistant needed to relieve her baby-sitter. I was dropped off at Martyna's. Apparently, Giorgi was there, 'looking' for me. Cut to, home, sleep.

Wednesday, 6th July
Work, Martyna told me Giorgi wanted to take us out for a picnic. After confirming that he was going to drive us in his big car (Pimped out Landrover Defender), I agreed!
We all clubbed up L10 each (R40). They bought food and drinks, I.e. Pork, fruit, vege, bread, pineapple juice for me. I hate it! Egg plant for Harriet, she hates it! Borjomi mineral water for me, I hate it! Clearly, we all need to get involved when shopping for our next thing-a-magic! Or better yet, bring our own stuff!
The picnic was at Uraveli, where I was the previous day, different spot, Giorgi, his wife, Martyna and Harriet and I were there. It was ok. We didn't stay too long. Frm there, I may have hung out at Tyna's and she may have walked me home in the middle of the night.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Food please! gees!

Tuesday, 5 July
No breakfast for me at the house, I'm not sure why. I bought something frm the store on my way. 2 'fat cakes'. One with vienna (hot dog) and one with potatoes inside.
It's Pru, Mbasa and Bongi's birthday. That's my sis, nephew/brother and my friend frm SA.
I called them on my way to work and couldn't get hold of Pru.
Lunchtime, 3 students showed up for class, the schedule has been changed and they're not familiar with their new one, that's why. We postponed that class for later.
That left me with a long s lunch break. My assistant, Tiko, took me home. My host sister looked like she just saw a ghost when I walked in. Of course, she had the key on the lock, so I couldn't use mine, I had to ring the bell. All in a day's work!
I took a nap, in an hour's time, Tiko called from outside. I was so hungry! I could smell food in the house, but nobody offered it to me as they usually call me to the dining table for meals. Instead when I was on my way out, Shorena, my host sis, introduced me to her family. Then bade me farewell on my empty stomach. I did one more class and was done for the day. On my way home, I bought some junk food. The way home passes by Lia's work. She asked what I had bought and subsequently grabbed my plastic and emptied it to see. She was so concerned that I'd bought food. And so much food lol, pms! She asked why, I told her I was hungry, and I didn't get any food at home. She felt really bad. She may have called shorena while I was walking home. The key was in the lock, I had to ring the bell again.
I got home, locked myself up in my room, stuffed myself silly with junk and updated my blog.
Shorena came by about an hour later Broooooooooookkkkk! I hate how she says my name! No answer! She knocked or banged the door and tried to let herself in, but I'd locked frm inside. She knocked and knocked on the glass of the door. It was really loud. She went vaime deda (aka omg). Brooooooooookkkkk! No answer. I took a snapshot of her.
30minutes later my colleagues and students picked me up! We went to Uraveli for a picnic. I didn't think about this when I stuffed my face up with junk!
More on that on the next entry, I've to get ready for work

Gaumarjos! (Cheers)

Friday, 1st July
I finished work early, got a lift home, it was soooo hot! I took a nap. Clint called me after he got up, he had also taken a 'nap'. I got on the phone with Michelle, tried to walk to Tyna's apartment. Got lost cos I wasn't paying attention to the road. I eventually made it because you can't exactly get lost here, the town's very small. Tyna was still asleep, we didn't want to disturb her, so we stood outside and whispered. (She came home from work and took a nap herself because we all had a late night the night before). Eventually, she came out and was like, why are you guys whispering? In her Polish accent:).
Cut to when Harriet came over to join us, we bought some drinks and hung out at the apartment. Played some of my music frm the iPod with the Shox speaker and danced the night away, Akhaltsikhe style!
Harriet's family sent a car to take her home, I caught a lift with them at 10 and called it a day.

Saturday, 2 July
My host sister is weird and makes me feel uncomfortable whenever she's at the house. She's always at the house. I left for the office to do some work, walked in the scorching heat all to find out they leave the office at 1 on Saturdays, I got there at 2.
Harriet called and said to meet up at the park at 2:30. I'd to walk some more and head for the park this time where I met up with Clintyna. (Got it? Clint and Martyna!)
Harriet's family took us to Saphara the next day. This is a church and monastery on a mountain about 20 km frm Akhaltsikhe. They picked us up in a police van, 3kids, the driver and Harriet were already in the car when they picked Clint, Tyna and I up. It was a 4X4. Overload! All in a day's work here!
We saw Giorgi's car outside. But never saw them in, and it's such a small place. Oh well. The place is ok, it's another church and another monastery in Georgia. I must say I'm kinda fascinated by the monks. They look rather cool in those outfits!
We drank some really nice cold water that I think comes frm a well somewhere. We hiked up a small hill to get to a small building on the top. It has an unusually small door, and murals around the walls. They look ancient to. We left. It started raining. The route to this place is an experience on it's own. The road is bad, gravel with rocks and we almost rolled over with our car on our way there. It was kind of scary. I cringed just thinking about driving back home. We made it safely.
Clintyna and I were dropped off at mine for lunch. Iajob (my host bro) was home. We ate and he opened this cupboard I didn't know extisted and whooped out 4 bottles of different types of alc, Beer, wine, cognac and vodka. Gaumarjos! (Cheers). We ate and drank and talked and and and. Until Harriet came back to join us.
We walked to the flat and hung out till it was time to go home. The next day, Harriet's family wanted to take us to an Observatory.
Sunday, 3 July
Apparently Harriet's family changed their mind about taking us to the observatory, they took her to the village to meet the grandparents. The plan was to go to my host family's village thereafter and since that was cancelled, Clintyna came over, Iakob drove us to the village. Him and Clint went hunting, with big guns and a dog, apparently there was some horse - riding in the field.
Tyna and I ate with Lia, my official host mother whom I adore! She speaks English as well - self taught! She made Khachapuri for us (chese bread). I like how she makes it, so good times! We went for a walk to a, wait for it! Church! The walk lasted for 2minutes and a black bmw stopped for us, openned the doors and signalled for us to get in. We obliged. He drove us to the church and dropped us there. Shorena, my host sister was with us. We took some pics, and walked back. On our way back, we saw this familiar looking boy on a toy scooter. It was Harriet's host brother! It so happened that they had come to the same village we did!
We went to say hi and ended up staying for 2hrs. Nice people who don't speak any English. They spoke some Russian, so does Tyna, so she did what she does best,and translated for us until I almost fell asleep frm sitting on the cheer and maintaining a permanent smile while nobody really talked to me.
I asked to leave because Lia must be wondering where we were. Lia had been cooking the entire time. We got back to more food! And alcohol, host Daddy was home frm work as well.
Gaumarjos! He asked me to bring me a tiger when I come back frm holiday in SA. He said money's not an issue, he'll pay for it! LoL, I guess I'll just grab him one frm my backyard then and since they're so nice to me, he doesn't even have to pay for it.
Gotcha, my 20 year old host brother and his friends joined us for one or 2 toasts aka glasses of wine, and this boy, Nika, asked to dance with me. He made me do Georgian dance, which of course I've never danced before. It was interesting to say the least.
I later disappeared with the boys, they asked me to go on a walk with them in the car. So walk, we did! To the city, parked the car and walked some more, on foot this time in the park. It was packed! Everyone was snacking on sunflower seeds. Hate em! Nika bought me water and coke zero, sweet! We exchanged numbers, he lives in Tbilisi and said to hit me up whenever I'm in the city, he'll take me for a ride on his motor bike. I look forward to that! He speaks some English, in case you're wondering how I knew he said what he said.
Nika begged for a kiss! From me! And since I don't kiss and tell...
We drove back to the village, as soon as we entered the city, I got an opportunity to drive a left handed car, the bmw!
We all went to our respective homes.

Monday, July 04, 2011

New friends and a Supra

I walked to work! 30 mins! What's shocking is the fact that they let me! Because they're convinced that we foreigners cannot do anything for ourselves. I've been walking to and from work since the beginning of last week! Success! It's very hot though.

Martyna and I have been hanging out everyday, since we met last Monday. She stays in an apartment by herself. It's a cool hangout. She's welcome at my place and my family loves here, so we're sorted.
I met up with Meghan, an american TLG teacher who was based in this area for 8 or ten mnths. She left last week though. Her contract has come to an end. She did make time for me just before she did, which was nice of her. It was Meghan, Teona (Martyna's Georgian friend who speaks English), and I. Harriet couldn't join us, she went for a walk with her family. We went to the pizzeria and had 2 pizza's. One meat and one chicken. Delicious! We were the only customers there for the almost 4hrs we were there. Tyna and I walked Teona home, found out she stays in the same building as Harriet, I called Harriet to come out and meet her, done! Tyna walked me home, we hung out at the street corner at like 11 pm. We finally parted. I slept around midnight.
Thursday, 30 June.
Month end! First thing in the morning, I logged on to my internet banking to try and do what grown ups do mnth end. Pay my bills! I blocked my login details:(
I won't bore you with the details but that set the tone for the day. I walked to work, spent a lot of time on email with people in South Africa trying to sort my banking issues out, to no avail! Everyone I talked to that day was having a day from hell!
At 5, I finished work, Tyna was waiting for me outside with Teona and Manuk, the guy that's going to get my pc fixed. I gave it to him and the girls and I walked home. I vented all the way to the flat, f this, f that, whew! Works everytime!

Teona went back to the office, Tyna and I went to her place, Clint arrived an hour later or so, we bough beers and the night officially began. 2Litres of beer, I'd never seen any such a thing before! Teona and Giorgi came by. Giorgi drove us to his in-law's house in the village for a supra (feast with alcohol and lots of toasts). We met the in laws. One of the guys was super hot! Here's the thing about Georgians. Especially the men: they almost always look ten yrs older than they are!
This guy's so my type. They called him the black son, cos he's much darker. I was like, I can roll with that, black guy, and black girl, done!

We ate, and toasted away. They tried to force me to drink as they always do, all over the world. I politely declined.
I found out that the cute guy is 17. SEVENTEEN! I thought he was in his late twenties atleast! Oh well, there goes that idea!
I did take a picture with him though.

We left the house, because I was sleepy and Teona needed to go home. We dropped her off and Giorgi drunken drove us around town, pumped some music up and I was alive again:).
He took us to the castle again, this time it was 11pm and closed. We hung around for 3seconds took one or 6 pics and off we went. Parked the car outside Tyna's and walked to the store. The stores here sell groceries, snacks, bakery stuff and alcohol! All of them! We stocked up on alc and walked back to the flat where we listened to Clint's nice music and just chilled.
Around 2am, Giorgi took me home, I slept at 3am.


Monday, 27 June
Back to work! I handed out the test, blah blah blah. I had my 3hr lunch break, got a call, super excited, as he always is! 'Hey Brook! I'm in Akhaltsikhe! Were are you?' He was at the rank, and I was at the store near the rank. He came to the store, with a blonde chick. Martyna. She's Polish and works here in Akhaltsikhe and SPEAKS ENGLISH! Bonus points! I told her she's my new best friend, she agreed. Now we're best friends cos we can actually communicate with one another and understand each other. Which is vital! She's been here for 3 months and will stay here until the end of the year.

My assistant, Lia, invited Clint and martyna to the office for coffee, I had Khachapuri (chese bread for lunch. I actually ordered lobiani, the bean bread. But oh well! It's Georgia, you take what you can get!). My other assistant, Tiko took us to Harriet's work, upon my request. We interrupted her class, we knew the students would love it! Talked to them for half a minute and drove off! Clint left. He had class in an hour. Martyna and I went out for drinks, I did have 2more hrs to kill after all. We went to the Lover's restaurant, hung out upstairs and had apple juice and water:). 5.50 Lari (R22). When you order fruit juice at some restaurant, you get a litre of what looks like liqui fruit and a glass. That's what we had.
Tyna walked me back to the office and was waiting for me at reception at 5 when I finished work. We called Harriet, she joined us for dinner 30minutes later at a restaurant down the road frm the police station (my office). We had khinkali (the meat dumplings), and we had cheese dumplings, forgot what they're called, kebab, very salty mushrooms and not to be left out, the salad!
The place was nice, not too fancy, just basic, with a Turkish (squat) toilet and 2friendly waiters who have become friend of Tyna's. Some guys in table one, bought us a nip of cognac. We didn't know whether accepting it would mean we were not their girlfriends and had to start making wedding arrangements and we didn't want to be impolite. Things are very different here! They left while we were brainstorming whether to accept it or not. The girls had a tot each and the rest was left behind. By the way a doggy bag is a frowned upon concept here! When you order you get tons of food and may not leave with your left overs, I think they throw them away.
We walked to Rabat, the old castle and church and museum. It was a steep-ish hike. I had the wrong shoes, as I had just came back frm work but I manned up and did it!
I got home around ten/eleven pm.

Weekend in Kutaisi

By the end of the first week, I was so ready to get the heck out of my town, I asked my students to come in early for me to finish on time and catch a marshrutka (taxi/mini bus) out of town. They did! My assistant released me just before 1pm as the taxi was due to leave at 1. It left at 1:30. GMT (Georgian Maybe Time, maybe it will leave on time, maybe it won't!).

Here's the thing, whenever I leave the house, it's as if I'm making celebrity appearances. People stare and gawk all the time! By this time, I hadn't been anywhere or walked anywhere by myself. I always had a friend or somebody with me.
My assistant and I arrived at the rank, which is across the road from my work, she introduced me to everybody. Lot's of 'gamarjobats' (hello). They showed us to my marshrutka, filthy as hell! I found a seat and occupied it. An older woman, came and squeezed right next to me, even though there were tons of other vacant seats. She talked to her friends about me and they all started playing with my hair. I took my phone out and completely ignored them. We left for Kutaisi.
I suffer from motion (car) sickness but I never throw up, thankfully! Here, the thought of being on the road makes me sick! Literally! 3hrs later, I arrived in Kutaisi, called Josh, who met up with me at Mc Donald's. I had coke Zero! It was more expensive than in South Africa and tasted weird. I couldn't finish the can, I threw it away.
We took a 30 Lari (R1.20) city bus and got off at the centre of town. That's when the walking began! We went to our home stay (kinda like a guest house) which was up a steep hill. It was scorching hot! I left my stuff there and we walked the city. Josh took me to some cool places! We had a great time!
I'd only ever talked to him on Facebook and over the phone but that was enough for us, we don't have the luxury of time to get to know people really slowly here before you do anything with them. That's not a below the belt statement, GET YOUR MIND OUT THE GUTTER!

I loved everything I saw, Josh's a great 'tour guide' and a cool guy all in all. Very easy going. We saw an old soviet era theatre, 'creepy!', his school, some of his students, and just about everything in the city centre, it's a small town, so. They've a nice park with cool lighting at night.
Around 9pm. We went to a cool, artistic, french style, restaurant with live music for dinner. I had pork, he had pizza. I enjoyed my meal. It was 10 Lari (R40). My friends contacted me. They were finally in town!
We met up with them at another restaurant/bar which we will call the Fish bar. Really nice as well! There were 4 guys and myself. 2 of them frm Kutaisi, 2 frm just outside town, and myself. Drinking!
Crazy, funny, awkward conversation, 'hello! There's a girl here!'
Harriet left Akhaltsikhe (my town) at 6 and should have arrived at 10 or so. He marshrutka broke down. Then she was stuck in traffic! Endless problems. I felt badly for her. The placed closed at 12 midnight. Our curfew at the homestay was 1am. We walked home, up the steep hill, out of breath, and whew! We arrived! Harriet called not too long thereafter, Josh and I took a cab {5Lari (R20)} to Mc donald's where she was waiting for us.
Back to the house, she and I shared a room. Or atleast were supposed to, until we didn't and I ended up, due to unforeseen circumstances, sleeping in the guy's room and Matt ended up sleeping in the room that was meant to be mine. I loved the guy's room bed more, for the record.

The next day, saturday, 25th June.
More walking! We went to some restaurant for breakfast. I had a pork kebab, some had khachapuri, the cheese bread, and some salads. Salad here comprises peeled cucumber and tomato, chopped in huge pieces with lots of salt!
Just after branch, Michelle and Caleb arrived (from batumi) we met them and walked around the city, we went to the mall! My first mall experience in Georgia! There aren't that many here! Mall was ok, the guys seemed bored by the idea of going to the mall, you know how they can be! Then we went to a bazaar, it's a market with just about anything you can think of. From fruit, vege, meat, like the whole cow, or whatever you may want really, laptops, the works!
Then we went to a church up the hill, not to far from where we were staying. Fergus, our resident Brit, who is based in kutaisi, gave us a lift from his host brother's car. There were 7 or 8 of us in the car, which I nothing really cos I believe when Taylor, one of our group members went to a wedding, there were like 12 or 16 of them in a private car. Go figure!

The church was nice, it's a 4th century church that's being renovated whose name has slipped my mind.
From there, we walked back to the home stay while some drove to Gelati, another church, monastery, probably even castle combination. I believe it's beautiful.
Clint arrived frm Akhalkalaki.
We went to the theme park, hung out a bit, had some snacks. I drank about. Litre of water. I must have drank 10 litres of water or more during my stay there, it was sooo hot. We rode a Gondola or whatever, to the centre of town. Dunno what that thing's called but it's in my FaceBook pics. Let me know what it is! 50Tetri (R2). I was hoping it would be scary and exciting. It was okay, 6 or so people in, flying over the river, under lock and key. Very safe.

Dinner at 'the Wood bar'!

We had khinkali (the meat dumplings), hot chips (french fries), pork (or something) kebab, 'salad' lots of food! Most of it went to waste. We then met up with the rest of the gang. Those that had gone to Gelati. While at this restaurant, I went to the ladies. On my way back, one of the restaurant staff, was waiting for me at the counter, with his camera aimed straight at the bathroom door. As soon as I walked out, he took a shot of me! How rude! Couldn't he ask?
We went to a free street concert. Rock concert! Fun times! Michelle and I were such groupies! We went to the front and met the performers, they gave me their myspace page (as you do to a groupie, I guess). We took tons of pics.

Later on, we walked to some restaurant where we hung out and drank until I was half asleep.
Matt, Harriet and I walked home. Nigel came in just after us. It was 1am. I believe Michelle and Caleb arrived about 30mins thereafter. Josh left us in the afternoon to freshen up and eat. He wasn't feeling too good. That was the last we saw him.
Sunday, 26th
Josh felt worse than the previous day. He couldn't join us. I missed him! We took the bus to Mc donald's, had breakfast there. Harriet and I had to leave because the last marshrutka to our town leaves at 1:40. Yup, taxis have time tables here! Kind of organised for GE. My seat was much more comfy than the one to Kutaisi! I slept most of the trip. I always have to close my eyes to reduce motion sickness.
I got so sun burnt! Nothing to blog about! We arrived 4 hrs later! My assistant met us at the rank and got us a lift to our respective homes.

Hello My Teacher!

We teach Georgian police officers English. Initially, I was told I'd have a class every other day for an hour and a half, 11:00 - 12:30. I wasn't to happy with that as it meant so much free time.
I caught a lift with my host brother to the police station an hour earlier in order to prep a bit.
I saw the boss whom I'd been introduced to before, he doesn't speak English, but is a very nice guy. I was introduced to my assistant and interpreter who hardly speaks english. The boss, she and I had a small meeting. The boss soon picked up that she won't be very useful, he wrote me on google translate and asked if I wanted her replaced. I said I'd like to give her a chance first then decide. Long story short, she's been replaced as from beginning of this work. She's still my friend though cos she's genuinely nice.
I had 2 classes on Monday. They went very well. My students are all cool and eager to learn, which is always a plus. We have a curriculum and books and notes and stuff to equip and guide us as teachers. I use all of those.
Most of the week, I finished at 7:30, my last class was at 6pm and I'd have a break of 3 or 4hourse during the day. So not cool. The 6pm group has since requested to be moved to my long break gaps and I was glad to agree. I now don't work later than 5pm.
Contrary to what I'd been told, I've 4 groups of about 23/25 students each, 2 - 3 classes per day, every single day. I'm happy about that because my time is occupied. I've got one class on Friday at 3:30. Which sucks because I can't go anywhere until then. I talked to my students last week and they came in at 11 for their test which is all we do on thursday and Friday. I then had the rest of the day and the weekend for myself.
This Friday, today, obviously, I had no classes at all. I actually had to beg for my one group to come and write their test today, in order for them not to be left behind next week when the other groups start the next module. My request was accepted and we wrote a test this morning at 11. I was free as a dove by 12:30 again.
The first module and test went very well, the marks were very good, B's and A's. See, here's the thing, my students are friends and therefore, they help each other during tests. That's normal here. And you dare not come between friends!