A Placeholder and A Dumping Ground

I’ve got a rather exciting story to tell, but the world is not ready for it just yet.  Give it a day or two to stew and then prepare to be amazed!  In the meantime, I have some leftover ideas and photos that are certainly worth sharing.  Consider these anecdotes as part of my “rainy day blog bank.”

I mentioned before the Georgian love for gray and black striped shirts.  It’s frightening, really.  Even on days when I look particularly Georgian (for example today when 1. a woman stopped me on the street to ask me directions in Georgian and 2. I was introduced to a member of the third group of volunteers who responded to my “Hello” with, “Oh!  You speak English!”  “Yes, rather fluently, thanks!”) I find that I generally am sporting far too much color for a true Georgian.  In an effort to blend in better, I sought out and purchased my very own black and gray long-sleeved T-shirt.  Dearest Max did likewise.

Despite appearances, this perfect choreography and coordination (right down to the positions of our fingers on our right hands and our matching shorts) was unplanned. However, upon reviewing this photo, Max and I have decided to start a Boy Band.

In Zugdidi we scoured the Bazaari (market) looking for the best in grayscale style.  When I saw a shirt I liked I pointed at it and asked how much it cost.  The woman told me a price and instructed me to try it on.  I began to slip it over my head and she stopped me.  “No you fool!” she seemed to want to say, “You cannot wear it over your shirt.  You must take off your shirt in this crowded marketplace full of children, grandmothers, and your friends of three weeks!”  My apologies to Pik Quinn Lew, Marissa Needles, and Rhonda Gibson for my sudden and unannounced shirtlessness.

So with new shirts in hand–or rather, with old shirts in hand and new shirts on torsos, Max and I became the official patronis of the group, always ready for danger! (Patronis are a lady’s man-friends.  Think of a patroni as your guy friend who steps in and says, “She’s with me, bub,” when you get unwanted attention from strange men in bars or on the streets)

Look at those faces. Do we look like the kind of guys you want to mess with?

When I returned to Tbilisi, the weather had changed.  I was very grateful to have my patroni shirt in the chilly mountain air of the highway-side rest stop.  I really enjoy the fall (autumn for my British audience).  I am greatly looking forward to winter, as well, but for now I can gladly appreciate the warm days and the cool nights of September.  It’s a nice change from the occasionally blistering heat of August.

Like a scene from that famous children's book, "ღამი მშვიდობისა, მთვარე!"

Walking home from school the other day, I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  I don’t know how else to preface the following photo except to say, it was kittens!

I shall call you Giorgi and Nino!

Today I went to a school that was not my own.  It’s the nicest school in Tbilisi, and quite probably in the entire country.  Ask your host families if they are familiar with Public School #53 in Tbilisi.  I’m curious as to how they respond.  I will write more about it and what I was doing there in the near future, once the story has matured (hint: it involves my new career as a supermodel.)

When I arrived, children were playing Red Rover in the yard.  In this game, the children form two opposing lines and hold hands.  In English you say, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Julie right over!” and Julie runs full bore towards the opposite side and tries to break through two kids’ held hands.  If successful, she steals one of them back to her line.  If she fails to run through (and winds up getting clotheslined) then she joins their line.  The game ends when one line is consumed by the other.

The team on the left had a sure-fire strategy at first. If they stand very close to the wall then any kid who tries to break through the line will run face first into the wall. Who's laughing now?

First of all, in Georgian the game is much more epic.  It plays the same way, but it’s called “Whose Soul Do You Want?”  Line one shouts, “Whose soul do you want?” and line two responds by saying, “We want Irakli’s soul!”  Irakli then charges and either breaks through, saving his soul, or suffers a soul-crushing blow to the chest/neck/face and becomes part of line two.

If you look carefully you can see that I have captured the EXACT moment at which a little girl's soul is leaving her body.

Now to kill off a final few photos before leaving you to anticipate my exciting story for next time!

This photo is for Linda, who got scolded for trying to snap a photo in the bookstore. I got one, though! Twilight, or Bindi, as the Georgians call it, has tragically made its way to the Caucasus.
As I drove across the country I noticed the power lines strung out across mountain tops, over rivers, and above valleys. I thought to myself, "Who are the men who put up telephone poles and power lines? Someone surely had to climb that mountain to erect that pole and hang a wire from it!" These are those men.
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3 thoughts on “A Placeholder and A Dumping Ground

  1. We should open some kind of club. The other day I was walking through the park over here when this one guy asked me if I had money in Georgian. And those new police guards in my school didn’t want to let me get in before some teacher helped me out. Nice read btw. 🙂

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