I’m sitting here on St. John, one of the US Virgin Islands, sharing my table with a wood carving of an iguana and my sleepy-eyed brother. It’s a bit overcast and breezy–too breezy for a jump in the pool, methinks. I’ve been reading the topically-appropriate The Columbian Exchange by…A. Crosby (No relation to Bing). The sign on the gate to our driveway warns that we should lock it at night to prevent wild donkeys from getting in. Welcome to paradise.
I thought I’d take this relaxed contemplative atmosphere as an excuse to do some retrospection. I’ve been writing this blog for four months now, going on five. Over the course of some sixty-three entries, I’ve recounted dozens of mistakes (willful and otherwise), omissions (willful and otherwise), and lies (willful). Some of my stories also deserve updates, as new information has come to light or further adventures have been had. Consider this my late Christmas gift to a late-coming reader. It’s a fleshing-out piece that doubles as a reverse Table of Contents! (An index?) Hope you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane as much as I think I will! (I haven’t started yet–it might be insufferable!)
The Legitimacy of this program is no longer under scrutiny. All the disorder and confusion can, I think, be attributed to growing pains and baptism by fire (I’m offering you two metaphorical expressions, choose your favorite!). What’s more (more interesting, that is), President Saakashvili gave us all Christmas gifts consisting of wine, champagne, chocolates (consumed in bed while grading tests!), a card, and a tote bag featuring his mansion! If, at the end of the day, this turns to be a kidnapping scheme, it is the most elaborate one I’ve ever heard of! Also the coolest.
I got pretty sick in Kutaisi. My handlers took good care of me though, and continue to do so! Nino and Tatia continue to be factors in my Georgian life, though one has left TLG. Nino always asks me how I’m feeling, tells my I’m looking Georgian, and brags about my grace under fire during my sickness in Kutaisi. I found out why she always takes so much interest in my health to this day. She forgot about me in Kutaisi. She brought me my medicine for the first time at 1 am after completely forgetting about me. Worried that I had already died, she rushed in to see me shivering my bundled-up ass off in bed while Ian sat idly by listening to his iPod and reading, shirtless. She assumed he was being inattentive (not the case). Ever since she has had a crushing sense of guilt about forgetting my medicine and that’s what spurred her constant concern to this day. It’s OK, Nino, I forgive you!
Two notes on this one: This entry features the Raughley Goes to Georgia debut of Pauli–introduced from the first as “Pauli”–and Roli-Poli, though our name had not yet been so refined. Secondly, some factual amendments: The birthday girls were Pik Quinn and Cristen! The “prostitutes and big-time pimps” did not include Naturi, the friendly drunkard drinking with us. I was uninvolved with prostitution and pimpery, at this time.
The marriage proposals have become far more infrequent. I’m still single, ladies!
Major Error: I live in the room of Ana, yes, but she is neither all grown up, nor the woman I saw on Skype. I believe that woman was her mother, Maia. Ana is six years old and has just started her first year of proper schooling this fall in Germany. Her dad, Giorgi, is Ilia’s older brother and Tina’s eldest son. (Check that use of older/eldest! And who says I’m not learning anything in Georgia? [What? No one?]) (Also, I taught Ilia how to say “I am an artist” in English, not Georgian. He already knows it in Georgian.)
I never did drive any racecars. Not sure if I’m sad or relieved.
Turns out I never need to get dressed up to go to my internship. It’s a pretty casual affair!
I have not yet had a chance to go to Gergeti. Also, Teo is the English teacher who later began giving me Georgian lessons.
I mistakenly referred to Tall Paul as “American Paul” in this post. My sincerest apologies, Tall Paul!
I’ve heard another side of the bath house story. Marissa, Cristen, and Stephanie did indeed think I was offering some sort of communal bath experience as a pick-up line. While nakedly discussing it a bit later, the girls apparently decided that “This sort of naked hot-tubbing wouldn’t have been so bad to do with the guys.” Then in came the scrubber lady and gave them a pornographic experience. Whoops! Also, Lauren never accepted my link to her blog, so I reinclude it here with a supplication to view our failed attempt at making Khatchapuri–the Cheese Volcano: http://www.saltandroast.blogspot.com . Also, the Bootstrap Band +1 makes its debut!
Sadly, Katie and Christine will not be returning to Georgia in January. Also, sadly, I did not continue to play tug the rope and my physique undoubtedly suffered for it.
That palace is Dadiani Palace, home of the wealthy Dadiani descendants of Imeretian kings (Megrelian kings?) and that photo of Tall Paul wearing the lamp as a hat in CityBar (The CityBar of Zugdidi social circles’ fame!) inspired my constant estimation of him as a Pharaoh. Also, he looks like Scar from The Lion King.
Baia Zugdidi was playing against Zestaphoni, a town outside Kutaisi. My host family’s villages are near Zestaphoni.
Sadly, I have not joined their band as of yet. I may well be joining a different girl band in next semester, though! Woo!
The Crazies did indeed grow on me! Also, I cannot say enough times how wrong my initial perceptions of my co-teachers were. I claimed Inga taught only to the smart kids, but I have since realized that she does reach out to the slower in the bunch. Manana’s ninth graders are doubtlessly among the smartest kids in the school. I really like all my students these days.
McDonald’s has gotten rid of the McTurco and has adopted the Something Else. An extensive search of the Russian, Turkish, and Israeli McDonald’s websites revealed nothing useful (Or comprehensible in the Hebrew Version of the McDonald’s Menu). I will find a photo, provided the seasonal item is still around when I return in January.
Still in effect, sorry folks!
The other day while walking past Parliament I saw a 011 Firetruck putting up Christmas lights on the newly erect trees in front of the governmental building. I wonder if Ladu and Sergo were working that tree?
Nothing new about this one! I’ve seen those kittens a few more times though. They hang with chickens.
Sadly, “Sir Raughley” never caught on and the students prefer to call me just Raughley. Some of the more clever ones will be shouting “Mas!” with the pack, and then switch to “Teach!” or “Raughley” because it’s bound to catch my attention more surely. Additionally, neither Inga nor I teach “The Amorous” any longer, alas.
Nothing new here. Move along.
It doesn’t rain much anymore. Winter has started.
Luka and I have never again gone running, either singly, or together.
Since this adventure, however, Marissa and I have agreed to get “Georgian Married”–a big step for such a fake-commitment phobe like myself! Also, on the return trip to Tbilisi, I recognized and photographed the railroad crossing where I’d been ditched!
A confession: I had a lot of trepidation about Yev at first. He was some Third Grouper who had invited himself along on our trip. I thought he might be terrible. But you know what? Yev’s a good guy. Apparently he is coming to Tbilisi next semester! It’s gonna be ca-razy!
Nothing new on this one! Ian has continued being a badass.
Nino pinched me the next time I saw her, demanding how on earth I let the girls go on such a terrible bridge. And yes, she did scold Ian for his acrobatics on the bridge.
Also, when drunk Z was driving us back to town he took a slight detour to joyride through a stream. He was drunk and he loved it!
I don’t mean to imply that Svans are cowardly, no, far from it. The villagers would retreat to the towers because the warriors would be out fighting. It’s like in Age of Empires or something when you make all your workers go in the buildings and shoot arrows. Only this time it’s rocks and poop!
Side note, it’s a coincidence that Zurabi and Murabi have similar names. If I’ve gotten one wrong (which I doubt), it was completely unintentional. I didn’t just make them up.
Also, Murabi told us that he was sad and regretful that they’d cut off Rocky’s ears. He admitted it was cruel and, I’d wager, wouldn’t do it again.
I’ve been writing this post for a few days now, and it’s getting tiring! Though I could push through to the finish, I think I’ll publish Errata in two parts. This being the first. Enjoy it, folks! Let this be an excuse to catch up on older posts, read them for the first time, or just take a few more days off from reading over the holidays. Happy New Year, everyone!