A Raughela Day

I teach privately on the side, after work, four times a week.  Yes, it’s at least as exhausting as it sounds.  One of the activities that my adult students and I enjoy the most is tongue twisters!  They taught me one in Georgian about a white moth, but I don’t have a Georgian keyboard and I’m uncertain of the word “dew” in Georgian, so I’ll spare you.

Because of the noticeable difficulty that my students have with the sound “th,” I have them repeating “Elizabeth’s birthday is the third Thursday of this month,” and “The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.”  Lessons usually begin like this:

Raughley: Okay, Nino, do a tongue twister, please.

Nino: Auf!  Thirty-three thievies or Elizabeth’s Birthday?

After some moaning and usually a “Can I read it?” she gets through it and triumphantly passes the buck to Keti.  Lately we moved on to Peter Piper, Seashells, and Betty Botta (my favorite).  But what does this have to do with tongues twisting?  Maybe it has more to do with some vocab words I taught to some coworkers today.  Let’s continue this aimless detour for a few paragraphs more….

Today, two nameless coworkers asked me for some help with some very specific vocabulary.  They were writing about things that might be rude in Georgia that aren’t elsewhere and vice versa.  Things like spitting on the side walk or blowing your nose in public.  (I’ll let the reader hazard a guess at which is rude where!)

They sat me down in what felt like a time-out chair, and asked, “Raughley, what is the name for the rude sound when you….” As she trailed off her partner jumped in, “When you eat some food and then it comes up!”  “Retch?” I asked, not sure if they were trying to tell me that retching is polite in Georgia.

They copied it down and, to clarify, I asked, “Is this the sound you make when you are sick and throwing up?”  Their horrified faces told me that no, that was not what they had meant.  As it turned out, they were looking for “Burp.”  Who knew?

So, I shared these two stories because I’m not sure if the word “Raughela” (with the central “gh” pronounced as a Georgian [a French r]) is more of a tongue twister or a retch.  Either way, that’s Raughley + Angela, and we had a wonderful Roommate Day this weekend!

I was lounging in bed, contemplating whether to watch a tv show, play a computer game, or do some editing, when Angela called me on her way home from teaching at the ungodly hour of noon on a Saturday.

“Hey!  I’m going to be across the street in ten minutes!  Let’s go to Populi!”  Populi is a really large supermarket about a block from our house.  I got dressed and headed across the way to meet her.  When we found each other, Angela had an even better idea, “Hey, do you want to get khinkali?  There’s a place I’ve never been to just down here.”  Never one to turn down beer and khinkali on a beautiful day, I agreed!

In we went to http://www.khikali.ge (yes, that is the name of the restaurant), and settled down with eyes bigger than our stomachs.  We sat for probably ninety minutes just chatting away, sharing work stories, discussing politics and religion, sipping coffee and tea, and just generally being as worldly and intellectual as fuck.  (I thought a long time about using the f-word here.  I know Angela’s family might read this entry and might judge me for it.  I know my family will read the entry and judge me for it.  But when push comes to shove, in this case, I don’t give a…care in the world!)

Sated, we moved on across the refrozen slushpuddles to the Populi.  It truly is a bounteous place.  They have condiments and cheese not to be found anywhere else and five kinds of frozen pizza!  Whenever we go there we treat ourselves to delicious things that we shouldn’t buy, but we just can’t help it!

Loaded down with groceries, Angela and I trudged home, stepping deliberately.  (I think there’s a “t” adverb that can sub in for “deliberately.”  Or at least as I use it here.  I spent a good long while thinking, and drew a blank.  It looked like this: ___.)

Upon our return, we (read: Angela) cooked some delicious chicken and eggplant dish.  We poured ourselves some beers and fancy drinks (courtesy of Populi, of course!) and turned on a terrible movie.  Suckerpunch.  It’s awful.

Not only is it a sexist bit of adolescent fantasy fiction, but it’s kind of predictable and silly.  And the worst thing of all, it has a lot of Steam Punk.  We hate steam punk.

I believe the exact quote is, "German doctors and engineers have found a way to return their soldiers to the battlefield using steam and clockworks."

We topped off the evening with one more fancy drink each, and a back-and-forth of music video exchanges.  The next day we ate cookies and frozen pizza.  It was an excellent weekend, and a most excellent day spent with an excellent roommate.

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2 thoughts on “A Raughela Day

  1. Raughley, this is an excellent blog. Years ago we hosted a Georgian visitor from Shota Rustaveli Theatre. and with true Georgian generosity, he gifted us with a traditional blue print tablecloth. Several years later, we put our kids in the car and drove to Brooklyn to see an incredible production of King Lear, and when I looked at the program, I blurted out “Hey — this was directed by our tablecloth!” Indeed, it was Robert Sturua. — Now our daughter, who has lived in Tuscany for fourteen years, has just signed the deed and received the keys to her own home, a 14th Century stone mill house near Rufina. I want so much to give her a tablecloth, but am having zero luck online. (No, I can’t hop a plane to Tbilisi.) I know, I know, you’re not writing the Shopping Channel here, but you sound so much in love with where you are and what you’re doing, you might be nuts enough to help a crazy theatre artist find the magic tablecloth. If not, thanks anyway, and keep teaching and writing.

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