Thursday, September 2, 2010

Across the Pond

It's been a long trip when you start to lose track of time, days, and meals at the same time.

I'm not even sure what sort of clock my body is on right now. I flew into Tbilisi last night on a plane full of chaos and good ol' fashioned Georgian hospitality, ready to lie down and drift into unconsciousness for eight days or so. Bleary-eyed and ragged, I stumbled off the plane, meeting a fellow TLG teacher in the process. We approached Customs as slowly as possible, unwilling to match our meager five-words-between-us Georgian vocabulary with what we were sure would be formidable Georgian security. Our fears were totally unfounded, and soon we claimed our bags and pushed through the crowd to find the TLG volunteers waiting for us.

Unfortunately, the other two planes arriving in that night were delayed, and on one, 18 volunteers lost their luggage. Altogether, we got in at the hotel at 5 in the morning, searched for our rooms, and collapsed into our beds -- three across in my room.

I don't remember much about the next three hours, but what sleep I got was somehow both deep and unsatisfying. My mind refused to turn off, spinning with Georgian and planes and buses.

Today was full of more travel -- thankfully, the last of that for about a week -- since we attended a conference with the Minister of Education at the Ministry of Sciences and Education. The media was in full blitz; the Minister gave a short talk in impressive English and we were free to enjoy the wines and juices of Georgia. It was all delicious, and some of us made conversation with the man serving the drinks. His English was limited but he was excited to talk to us and teach us the names of juices and wines in Georgian.

After we mingled for an hour or so -- some volunteers needed to get medical testing done while others were doing some emergency shopping to subsidize their lost wardrobes -- we returned to our hotel, packed up our things, and hit the road to Kutaisi. As we drove out of Tbilisi, I realized that I've never been so sad to leave a city in which I had only spent a few hours. The bus ride to Kutaisi is not bad at all, and since we'll all be in this general area, trips to the capital will most likely be plentiful.

The problem with all this travel is that my brain is just too fried to soak it all in. A good night's sleep tonight should put me back in full rhythm, though, which is good since tomorrow is the beginning of our official orientation! Oh, and if you're ever in Georgia and you go to a restaurant with a big group, be prepared for a LOT of delicious food. There's just too much to talk about here and it's just a little too late, but I will be doing a series on "How to Eat in Georgia" starting sometime next week.

That's all for now. I'm going to turn my brain off for a while, maybe grab some late dinner, and discuss the pros and cons of buying a guitar in Kutaisi with another teacher. Until next time!


  1. I can't wait to start reading your posts on "How to Eat in Georgia" !!! Get some much needed rest and have safe travels; this is going to be quite an adventure for you. ;)

  2. Great post, traveler! The Minister of Education, wow, most impressive. Really hope your sleep gets caught up soon and you can begin to fully enjoy and absorb. Here we are watching Earl fizzle and prepping to head to OBX in the morning. The cat is completely out of whack. I think he knows you are halfway around the world and is having trouble dealing with it. We miss you but we're really excited for you! Love, Dad