I'm sorry to keep all my readers at the edges of their seats (aka my Mom haha) but between my trip to Tblisi this weekend, and teaching my little brother, Eka, how to play the game Uno, who will now not rest unless we play 5 games a day, I've been pretty busy!
So I made it through my first week of school, and this past weekend all the Samtredia gals went to Tblisi to explore the Georgian capital! We took the train on Friday afternoon. My Georgian Dad works for the railroad as the Deputy Transit Authority Manager (he loves sharing his long title), and to my surprised he even popped on to make sure everything was ok. Once we arrived in Tblisi we settled into our homestay at DooDoo's. She was quite the character, and I wasn't sure if we should feel safe or nervous living with her.
After that, we met up with my Georgian airport boy (yes, we did keep in touch a bit) and two of his friends. They took us all around the city, and even to the highest point so we could see all the city's lights. We took pictures of the Georgian Eiffel Tower aka the TV/radio tower that overlooks the city. It even lights up and sparkles just like the real one! After seeing all the of the city it was time for some Georgian cuisine.
As they drove us to the restaurant all of us girls thought something looked familiar. We ended up going to the restaurant that was next door to the hotel that we all stayed at when we first arrived to Georgian. For me it was especially funny because literally this was the only restaurant I had already gone to, and what are the odds of them picking it?? It turned out to be quite a different experience from when I went the first time though. The menu was completely in Georgian so the boys ordered everything for us. After explaining that I couldn't eat wheat (No bread...EVER? This is a shock to most Georgians since they live on bread). I was put at ease when they ordered a few things I could eat. We took shots of red pepper vodka and enjoyed some live Georgian music.
The next day we woke up at 6:30am to catch the TLG trip to Kakheti. I ended up being the only one to get on the bus because they ran out of room. The girls all told me to go since everyone that was going were people from my orientation. It was great to get out of the city and see some more Georgian country side. We drove to a Georgian wine vineyard to vintage (make wine!!!). We were greeted by a hearty old priest that was carrying around a jug of chacha (Georgian vodka) and saying "Shots? Shots? Shots?" (Everybody!!) haha. Mind you this was at 10:30 in the morning!!! We indulged in yummy pumpkin, eggplant, bread, cheese, chicken, watermelon, and apples. Then it was off to pick grapes!! I've never seen so many tipsy people carrying around knives cutting grapes off the vine. This definitely was a lot more intense then my Uncle Stanley and Aunt Sally's wine making parties back in Philadelphia! After butchering the vines it was off to stomp some grapes!! I must say that was by far the best part. We got to put on these rubber boots and hop in the tub with the Georgian workers. I seriously had an I Love Lucy moment. Finally, when all our hard work was done, we ate again! I'm starting to love how this country enjoys to fest! We had more Georgian wine, more shots of chacha, and yummy kabob and this walnut dessert that looked a little funny haha. We all left with our bellies full and our heads a little tipsy.
When we arrived back to Tblisi I explored the city with some of my friends. It was great to finally see the capital in the day light! We made our way to the "Dry Bridge" flea market. I bought my first Georgian drinking horn! So apparently, although I haven't seen it yet, but Georgians drink wine, vodka, etc. out of an animal's horn. I can't wait to try it out! After the market I met up with the girls for some Georgian sushi! We were determined to have some before we left the city. Having meat, bread, and cheese everyday can make you miss sushi a lot more than one would think!
The weekend was a great success, and it was wonderful to see all my friends from orientation but after exploring the city I'm really glad I decided to come to Samtredia. Its so great to walk around the whole town and recognize familiar faces. Just the other day I was reading in the park, and I was greeted my brother's Godmother, my mother's sister-in-law, and a girl from one of my classes. The life of a small town girl indeed!