Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hairy, Sweaty Georgians = Yummy Wine

I am officially out of the honeymoon phase and into the real Georgia! I have been placed in Samtredia, Georgia in the Imertia region about a 30 minute drive from Kutisi and an hour and a half from Batumi. I would describe it as a small town. There are shops, a park, 13 schools, railroad station, and lots of crazy Georgian drivers. I am definitely not in the middle of nowhere. Its half way between a big city and village aka perfect for me. 

I left the training building around 10am on Friday morning with 4 other volunteers. Everyone else was taking the bus to Tblisi since they are all being placed around there. As we drove my stomach was turning in knots, and I couldn't not wait to meet my family. We finally arrived in Samtredia, and after a few moments the driver of the van came back with 5 women. I wasn't sure which one was my mother! Finally, I was introduced to the director of my school, two english teachers, some family friends, and finally my mother, Layla. Then my two siblings came to greet me with big hugs and kisses. Nino, my sister, is 16 and Irakli (or Ika) is 12. They are adorable!! Nino speaks really good english, and is always eager to speak to me, and Eka is just adorable and speaks to me in little broken english words. 

One thing I find crazy is that my family has two homes! They have a house a little outside the city center and then an apartment very close to everything. We basically go back and forth each day. The parents gave up their bedroom for me in their big home, and I feel so bad! And the Grandma, Lilly, slept on the couch! They even had someone hook up a TV system so that way I can watch some TV in english. My parents are really sweet. At first I wasn't sure if they didn't like me, but I think they are starting to warm up to me. I think they are disappointed I don't speak Georgian or Russian. I guess with different cultures its hard to tell. 

I'm sad I'm not near the friends I made at orientation, but I'm sooo happy to have Michelle, Melissa, and our new friend Emily. Its so great to have them all close by, and especially Michelle who speaks great Russian and can communicate to my family. I think they will all make my transition here ALOT easier and more fun!!

Tonight I experienced the Georgian tradition of wine making. It was so incredible to see the pressed grapes turn into yummy wine. They said they take the grapes that are left over and make Georgian vodka...cha cha!

I'm really lucky that my family is happy to have me and I got my one wish..indoor plumbing! I think this is going to be a great year!

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