I’ve written a number of times about the joy of spontaneity in Georgia. It’s really a never-ending phenomenon, and one that I would be sad to see the end of. Far from it, in fact, I find that the spontaneous adventures continue even now, 3+ years into my stay here.
Last night’s adventure began with my spontaneously-assigned intensive English course at the Language Center. I’ve been working on it with my friend Jenni from America and it seems to be going great! As we packed up our things to leave work for the day, we were duly informed by our boss, “My son Levan is leaving tonight for America. Come, you must eat!”
So, Jenni, Peter the Australian, and I stood around awkwardly in the middle of the lobby, stuffing our faces with cakes only to be told to eat more and making juvenile jokes in fluent colloquialisms and hushed tones so as not to scandalize anyone but ourselves.
Two glasses of champagne later, we were on our way. As we were carving our names into the wet cement outside work my phone buzzed in my pocket. Pauli and his girlfriend Vivien had been kicked out of the apartment where they were staying! Какой ужос!
And so, rather than spending the cool evening leisurely strolling home, as I generally prefer, I found myself hopping on the first bus home so I could be there to host them.
The first ticket machine was broken, so I wove y way towards the front of the bus. Suddenly, my name was being called and I found myself face to face with Sopho, one of the administrators of the school I work at. She had been in a salon and was now heading basically to my house to meet her mom at work.
We rode the bus all the way downtown, talking about US History and Cold War politics until we reached the final stop. I offered to walk Sopho to where her mom was meeting her. That soon became “to the bar her parents own.”
One smiling invitation later and I found myself at my second surprise suphra of the evening. Mind you, it was Wednesday.
Speaking in a mix of Georgian and Russian (a delightful mix), Sopho’s father made toast after toast. I fell into all the standard traps and got tricked into drinking maybe a smidge more than I would’ve liked. The first question that should have warned me off was “If you lived in St. Petersburg, did you like vodka?” Yes was the wrong answer.
But we only drank wine, so that part was OK. Of course it was one of those magical self-refilling pitchers. I protested that I had to work and teach the 3rd grade in the morning, but despite my and Sopho’s protestations, I had little choice in the matter.
I eventually managed to extricate myself no worse for the wear, but a bit sleepy. I bid everyone a fond farewell and walked home (It’s about a minute’s walk from this bar to my house).
Pauli and Vivien were hot on my heels, coming from an open-air film and we sat and talked for an hour or so with my roommate Morgan. A lovely time, indeed. And then Pauli brought out his host gift for us.
Our German friends had spent a week or so in Abkhazia, seeing Sukhumi and the nearby sights and brought us back a present of green and tasty cha cha. Cha cha is a terrible thing. It tastes like gasoline and gets you very, very drunk. It’s usually 80-90% alcohol, if I recall correctly. This stuff, though, tasted like Gummy Bears, insisted Pauli. While I might describe it as being a bit more like Robitussen, it was still one of the few pleasant cha cha experiences I’ve had.
Now, to all my employers and concerned family who might be reading this, while the story makes it sound like I got smashed on a Wednesday night, that’s far from the truth! I managed with about a liter of wine and the teeniest of shots of cha cha. Other than a touch of sleepiness, I feel great today and there’s really no need to be concerned! I’m a კაი ბიჭი! Just ask Sopho’s mom and dad!