Happy Birthday, Dear Tina

Today is my host mother’s birthday!  Happy Birthday, Tina!

Just before midnight last night, Ilya and I decided to serenade Tina.  I bought a bass guitar a few weeks back and Ilya bought an acoustic guitar.  Every other day or so we will have a “duet” starring “Rali Doggy and Saxaphone” [sic].  We’ll make up some song or I’ll try to figure out a bassline to a Georgian song he knows.  We’ve learned part of Come Together and Love Me Do by the Beatles, too!  Last night we decided to give Happy Birthday a shot.

For about seven minutes we rehearsed our lovely song and I trained Luka how to use my camera to take a video.  We called Tina in and she sat down next to the computer as Ilya and I played and sang Happy Birthday for her.  Tata and Luka joined in for the Encore and Tina seemed very happy!

As we continued playing, Tina asked us, “Do you want cake?”  Naturally, we did!  We laid the guitars to rest and headed to the kitchen.  Some delicious cake awaited us all but Luka was shooed off to bed–poor fellow!

With Luka out of the way, we popped open some very fruity liquor and began toasting to Tina.  As it turns out, Tina’s mother makes the liquor herself in the village–even though she doesn’t drink–and it was quite tasty!

Ilya, Tina, and Tata enjoy a mild Birthday celebration

Ilya told me, in broken English, “My muhzer is fifty wan.”  “No, Ilya, fifty two!” protested Tina.  This sparked a debate at the table over how old Tina really was.  I watched as Tina did the calculations in her head and with a bemused smile admitted, “Fifty wan!”

We sat around for a bit, drinking coffee, toasting Tina, and eating cake (From Bela’s bakery, no less!  [Apparently it’s a big deal?  I got laughed at when I asked, “Who’s Bela?”]).  Conversation turned to school and English, as it usually does.  Tina already knew that Inga’s twelfth graders were a bunch of lazy students (or, in Inga’s words, “Bad pupils!!”).  I agreed with Tina that they were “lazy but smart.”

At that point, the evening became let’s-criticize-poor-Luka conversation hour.  Tata kicked things off by accusing Luka of being “lazy but not smart.”  Ilya added, “Chicken”–a word I had learned from him and Luka the previous afternoon.  Tina puffed up her cheeks and held her imaginary belly and laughed, “Fat, too!”  Poor Luka!  Didn’t get any cake AND we sat around making fun of him!  If only he knew….

"To Lazy, Fat, Chicken Luka!"
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6 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dear Tina

  1. Rali. You should censor this post in a few years when Luka is going to speak good English and will read your Blog. Don’t forget!
    Best from Batumi.

  2. Hey I just stumbled upon your blog from Rhonda’s. I’ll be leaving in a week for Georgia. Thinking of starting a blog too, but all of the other one’s are so good I don’t know if I should lol. Anyway, have you heard of Byki.com? There’s free language learning software you can download and there’ s a Georgian one. I’ve been teaching myself Georgian for about 2 months now, and I have learned over 50 phrases and words so far. After mastering the free basics, you can buy the deluxe software to download for only 30 bucks and it’s well worth it. There are flash cards, self tests, pronunciation aids, etc. Your host mothers could download the English starter one for free too. Just thought I’d pass that along. Keep up the awesome posts!

    PS: Are you married? Just kidding. I was thinking about how I should answer this question when I get there. I’m not married, and never want to get married. I don’t know if it would be excessive or rude or just odd to explain this. Maybe I should just say “Ara” and “I’m not looking either.” What do you think?

    1. Hi Meg!

      Glad you’re enjoying this blog. I’ll have to look into this byki business and see if it’s for me! I have regular lessons with one of my English teachers, but still, any extra practice is time and money well spent!

      PS- I’m not, but I’m considering it because that would take a lot of pressure off my back to get married and a Georgian marriage is not legally binding in the United States! I smell a solution!

  3. ooh, I love your blog! 🙂

    I discovered it today and I’m reading it all day long 🙂

    p.s oh my, I didn’t expect to read about Bella’s cake here 😀 her name is spread in all over Tbilisi. mysterious Bella 😀 I haven’t seen her, but her cakes are delicious, mm..

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