Very little English is spoken in my apartment. The apartment itself is a rather spacious Soviet-era apartment with, I’d say, five rooms? I mainly stick to my room, the kitchen, and the bathrooms. Not that I can’t go in the other rooms, I just don’t. Most of my socializing with my host family takes place in the kitchen over epic two hour meals of eggs, bread, cheese, sausages (read: boiled hot dogs), and did I mention cheese?
When Manana or Tata is home we speak mostly Russian. When just Tina and I are eating together (read: when Tina is watching me eat) we speak a pidgin of English, Russian, and Georgian in order to improve our understanding of each other’s native tongues. I have the most fun speaking with Ilya. Neither of us can effectively speak any mutually comprehensible languages. His English is bad and my Georgian is worse.
Ilya and I trade my meager phrasebook back and forth trying to make ourselves understood. We get along really well and he tells me things like, “Call and they told me yet but if we do not have anything to be out of reach,” in a text message, referring to his promise to look into acquiring a second-hand bass guitar for me. In turn, I tell him things like, “I like mountain.” As he painted the kitchen orange, I joked with him “You are an artist!” and told him how to say it in Georgian. Five minutes later, from another room, I could here him singing to himself “I am an Artist, la la!” We are quite the pair!
Manana really wants to learn English. Her skills are not very good yet, but I am coaching her. A typical exchange of vocab words goes like this: “Qkhveli, syr, inglisuri?” “Cheese. Qkhveli, kartuli?” By using Russian as a middle-language, I can learn that “Cheese” in Georgian is “Qkhveli” and she can learn “Cheese”. It’s a pretty good system! Then we try to put our new words into sentences: “Qkhveli gamrielia!” (Cheese is tasty!).
Two nights ago, in an effort to demonstrate her mastery over the word “apple,” Manana told me, “I love you, apple!” Much to Tina’s amusement. We all laughed and Manana got defensive, “Why are you laughing? Don’t laugh at me!” When Tina explained what Manana had said, Manana couldn’t help but laugh along with us.
When I am not in the kitchen, I hang out in my room. This room of mine used to belong to a little girl, Ana, and it shows. Ana is now all grown up and living in Germany. She is the one I was pressured to compliment over skype. Her room is still decorated with Disney Stickers and doll babies. Check it out!
The walls are covered with crayon, courtesy of Ana and Luka (The guilty parties left their names all over the place in English AND Georgian!). While Ilya pretends to be one, those two are true artists. I’ve got a balcony all to myself which overlooks a playground. It’s very nice to awaken to children’s laughter and yesterday I witnessed a toddler’s first time going down a slide, with his mother’s help, of course. It was pretty effin’ adorable! He got so excited that he could hardly wait for his mother to lift him to the top of the slide again and started trying to climb the slide himself.
Now, I believe I owe the blog at least one photo of my time at the barbershop and so, without further ado!
(I am using my own laptop for the first time in a cafe with WiFi to write a blogpost, hence the overload of photos!)
Lastly, a night shot of Gelati monastery in Kutaisi. Enjoy and farewell!