This post has been incubating for some time now–maybe in a more literal sense than expected!
So the past week has been entirely consumed with orientation and classwork. Nino and Tatia are the program coordinators and have been doing an excellent job while Nona, Nana, and Natia are my various teachers. Every morning we have Georgian lessons for three hours where I learn to say things like, “გამარჯობა! კატა არის სკამზე.” (Hello! The cat is on the chair.) and other useful phrases. I rather enjoy Georgian; it’s coming along quite well!
We also have far less interesting orientation classes like “methodology” and “intercultural training” which are somewhat useful, but not terribly entertaining. The food is great, the people in my program are generally excellent and I’m really enjoying my time in Georgia–except for one minor hiccup….
This week, I got to spend a full three days sleeping in my bed! “Wow!” you might say, “That sounds wonderful!” Well that’s where you’d be wrong. I had a fever of 104 f two days ago (was it two days? Hard to keep track) and a pretty nasty sore throat that persists even now (Don’t freak out, mom and dad, I am doing just fine!). Nino has repeatedly told me she was very impressed with how stoic I was despite such a high fever and how happy I still seemed in general. The silver lining of all this was that I was able to practice Russian with the doctor and finally put those “Tell me what hurts” vocabulary exercises to use! I could tell her “I have a high temperature” and “my throat hurts” and I understood when she told me, “Breathe deeply.” As I lay there, possibly dying, I took comfort in knowing that my Russian skills were still up to snuff.
So I’ve been “drinking” horrible medicines all week and missing out on trips into Kutaisi, but I think I’ve finally got this sucker beat (Fingers Crossed)!!
Other exciting news: Yesterday morning, on my way to breakfast, Max, another volunteer, asked if I wanted to accompany him to the barbershop to get a shave. We walked down a few blocks and found the barber, a hairy Georgian man with his shirt hanging open, chatting outside with his buddies. Through a mixture of “hello” and hand gestures we arranged to get shaved. We took turns watching “The Adventures of Sinbad” dubbed into Georgian while the other got shaved with a straight razor (photos to follow), which, by the way, was crazy! He also gave my beard a trip, so my face is all round and non-scraggly. It’s a very strange thing.
Soon we’re all going our separate ways, out to tiny mountain villages and coastal hamlets. I will be heading in to Tbilisi where I’ll move in with my host family on Monday. We’ve got something like three weeks before school starts, so hopefully I’ll get some non-sick relaxation in before things really get cooking!