Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A bad case of the "Can't-Hardly-Waits"

That is, my Facebook feed which is more often than not dominated by fellow TLG-ers has developed two distinct trends:

-"TLG, where the hell is my plane ticket?"


-"Less than two weeks until I go home/my Europe trip/the crushing loneliness of village life finally passes!"

Okay, so it's not all that lonely, as most volunteers will tell you. But as wonderful as this experience has been, it's hard not to feel, as my friend Bran put it, "like you're on the last leg of a marathon." A marathon where you get wine instead of water and butter instead of protein supplements.

Everyone's getting pretty sad around here. They were aware when I came in that I was only signed on for a semester, but Georgians get pretty attached to people in a short amount of time. As one fellow volunteer was told by her host family, "four months is enough time to love somebody."

I'm getting that vibe around here. I keep insisting that I'll recommend Anaklia to get another volunteer right away, but Lela just laughs and says, "We don't want another volunteer. We want YOU." While reviewing the conditional, Lela asks the students to talk about their wishes and dreams. One eighth grade girl says, "My wish is that Adam will stay." I wipe a tear from eye, pause, and respond "Instead of 'will,' be sure to use 'would' in this context."

It's also a bit hard to be generous and get the message across. Obviously, generosity is best done selflessly, so I don't get hung up on miscommunication, but let me give you an example. I'm often allowed to bring home the internet card from the school and surf the web to my heart's content. Lasha, our school's bookkeeper, is really the only other person who uses it regularly, so I don't feel too bad about taking it home. Anyway, it's 45 lari a month to maintain service, and it ran out yesterday. I was in Batumi until Sunday night, but came home to find the internet card waiting for me -- soon learning that Lela had "accidentally" forgotten to give it to Lasha, who was now angry with her. So yesterday, I got Lela to tell Lasha and Khveecha, my school principal, that I would pay for the next month as a gift to them. Something got lost in translation, and Lela said very sternly, "They said yes as long as they can use it sometimes." I felt horrible. My whole intention was to help out with the cost of the card they bought at Lela's and my request last month, not hold it hostage for the next two weeks. It took a few minutes to get the message across but I think it was communicated at last.

Sometimes I feel wildly out of touch. I wish it were easier to talk to friends -- the time difference just makes things that more difficult. But in about 12 days, I'll be at home or on my way, just in time to miss all of my William and Mary friends as they head home for break. Oh well. At least I'll have Skype!


  1. Hey Adam,

    Once you are back do you plan to write a summarized post about your experience and adventures? If yes, would you mind if I ask some questions?

  2. Yeah, definitely. I've got a couple of things on reserve for when I'm back home. Feel free to post any questions or shoot me an email and I'll address them in one of my posts when I get back home.

  3. Sure, here is the list:

    1. Ups and downs: what do you think is your greatest accomplishments and disappointments during your tenure?

    2. Knowing what you know right now, what would be doing differently to archive what you wanted to archive (if you had such a goal)?

    3. Based on your knowledge what would you recommend and advice to your colleagues a) who are already there and b)will be coming in the country in future?

    4. (if this is the case) What you have learned or become aware you never thought before your arrival?

    5. What will you miss the most?

    6. Be honest - do you think the country and its people have a chance? Why? What do you think they need to first?

    Thanks in advance!