I am officially in Georgia and it has been an incredible journey thus far! I say journey because it really feels like I have been through it all. I guess I will start with my flight...
In Newark Int'l Airport I was able to connect with Raphaela, another volunteer, with the same crazy flight schedule as me. It was great having someone to travel with, especially since we had an eleven hour layover in Munich! Even though we both barely got any sleep on our flight to Germany we both hit the ground running to see as much of the city as we could in the little time we had.
One of the highlights of Munich is the famous beer hall named the Hofbrahaus. I informed her that due to my Celiac disease I could not drink beer, and she then told me that she is allergic to alcohol. Oh what a pair we were! Our waiter was insistent that we order beer, and after we ordered our water and sprite he rolled his eyes at us! Oh well, I guess you can't win them all.
After just barely making it back to our second flight hah we were able to meet up with about 12 other volunteers. It was exciting to finally meet the people I would be spending the next week with. We didn't make it into Tbilisi till after 3:30am. At this point I had been up for over 24 hours, and I was exhausted! However, through this tiredness I still managed to get the email and phone number of the Georgian boy sitting near me on my flight!
Anyways, after meeting up with everyone at the airport it wasn't till after 5:30am that we finally arrived at the hotel, and this is when we were informed that we not only had to meet with the Minister of Education and Science that day, but we had to wake up by 10am if we wanted breakfast and be checked out of the hotel by noon. Needless to say we were not pleased, but I think the excitement of finally being here pushed us through.
After my 3 hour power nap I was able to meet the other volunteers that had checked in the day before, so we are a total of 50. Meeting the minister was really exciting especially since there were so many press, and we all got to taste our first glass of Georgian wine! After that it was back to the hotel, then a lovely dinner on the outskirts of town, followed by a 5 hour bus ride to Kutisi where we would be learning Georgian and teaching methodologies for the next week (and where I am now). When we finally did reach our final destination I can not tell you how amazing it was to lay my head down on a pillow!
I've only gone through my first day of classes, but I already can tell I will be learning a lot. One thing I must comment on before heading off to dinner is that I LOVE all the volunteers here. There is about 50 of us, and not one of us is alike. We all come from such different backgrounds and cultures. There are volunteers from the States, Canada, Australia, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, and Romania. Everyone has such interesting stories to share about their world traveling, and speaking with them makes me realize more and more why I decided to do this, and truly confirms that this will be a great experience!