Manana once complained to me that I don’t have any pictures of her “on my internet.” “But Manana,” I protested, “I do! You were helping us make Cheeseburgers!” “Vai me! But that is a ROAR picture! I look like a monster! What will your family think? They will think you live only with monsters!”
It was a valid point, I suppose. I don’t think it’s a particularly monstrous photo. Rather, I feel that it captures a really nice moment of playfulness and joy in the kitchen. Besides, this is a monster:
Nonetheless, the evening I left for France I decided I would indulge Manana and the rest of the family. I had already packed my one bag for France and all that remained was to twiddle my thumbs until three am when I could catch a cab for the airport. I stepped into the hall with my camera suggesting that I might take a family photo so I could show off my Georgian Family to my American Family in Paris. Tina and Manana agreed, but told me to wait until Tata came down from Babyworld to take the photos. I waited for a bit back in my room when I was called once more into the hall. Though Tata hadn’t returned, Tina and Manana were ready.
Tina had put on a fancy dress and a fur coat in anticipation of her photoshoot. It was one of the most adorable things ever! She strutted her stuff in the living room, trying to look her best for my family.
When Manana’s turn came she posed in our chair, arms folded.
Then came the time for a group photo including Luka. After several attempts, I finally managed to get Luka to smile for the photo. His default face is a rather dumbstruck-looking face of disinterest. He does know the American (and English?) phrase “Say Cheese!” And so, I asked him, “Luka, what do we say when we take a photo? As he answered (complete with “finger quotes” [What a good little American I’m raising here!]), I snapped the photo.
Next, Manana told me to hand Luka the camera so that she could wrap me up in a huge embracing hug, which resulted in a very sweet photo that I’m sure my mom will like!
Luka, being his usual, silly self, wanted a photo with me. When I went to stand next to him he flashed some sort of gang sign and said, “Yo!” Naturally, I had to put the entire proceeding on hold to go grab some stuff from my room first. I reemerged with my windbreaker and leather cap and placed my Peruvian fedora/sometimes umbrella on Luka’s head. Now we were ready to rock!
My family was so freaking adorable during the entire photoshoot, constantly changing poses and even outfits in an effort to look their best for my family. Manana especially always wanted to see the photos I’d taken immediately. She would alternately scoff and demand a reshoot or approve of her image with a nod and a grunt. She requested that I delete several photos, which I largely refrained from (Though I’ll spare her the “humiliation” of putting her “monstrous” photos “on my internet” [If this were a face to face conversation, lots and lots of “finger quotes” would have just been used.].).
Finally Tata descended upon us. I heard her entrance from my room and gathered up my camera once more. By the time I got into the hall she was already sitting down on the couch with Manana to watch some GeoStar. I approached, camera in hand, and explained what I wanted. Tata nodded and said, “Luka, modi,” drawing the boy towards her. Luka obliged and plopped down on the couch between the two women and flashed his famous Luka smile.
Manana then insisted that Luka swap places with me so that I could be in the photo with her and Tata. Tata didn’t seem to mind, so I handed my camera to Luka (Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if I would regularly trust him with handling my belongings…. Note to self, be more leery in the future.) and sat down on the couch. Tina had already changed into her fluffy pink robe and was watching from the sidelines as Luka snapped a few photos of the family.
Satisfied with the results (though less satisfied with the results of that night’s episode of GeoStar [or some other variety show]), my host mom’s dismissed me to my room and instructed me to awake one of them when I left so she could lock the door. Tragically, Ilia was away (again) rehearsing for his play in Gori. He’s a major force in the family (A force for good, no doubt), and was mostly absent for the month of November as his play came together. He had told me that opening night was November 20th and that his play would run for five days. About a week before my departure he revealed that his play was actually opening on the 25th (the day I left for France!!) and ran until the 28th (the night before I returned from France!!). As it turned out his play would be showing every weekend in December, so my fears were misplaced (aren’t they always?) and I managed to catch it a few nights ago. Ilia’s home more often now, thankfully, but it does mean that I did not have any photos of him to share with my family, alas.
Now, as the title implies, this is a post for mutual introductions! As such, I will include as my final note this family photo from Thanksgiving night in our hotel lobby. Yeah, it’s a little out-of-sequence in narrative terms, but it seems appropriate.
Now, to complete the family, here’s a shot of my Dad and his fiancée Dana!
And let’s not forget my Stanford Family!
And no family photo album would be complete without a photo of my Korean baby!!