Thursday, September 29, 2011

Off the airplane

Well, here I am trying to write a blog. I will try to post regularly and often, but no promises. I have flown across the world and have landed in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. I have met a small portion of the people who are also volunteering as English teachers here, and at breakfast this morning and through the next week of orientation I will meet the rest. There are 103 of us, from around the English speaking world gathered at this hotel to find out what we will be doing for the next 3-9 months. 9 of us came in on the same flight from Istanbul, but I am getting ahead of myself.
Yesterday (or the day before, Time and I are not friends right now) I said goodbye to my wonderful parents who dropped me off at Logan Airport in Boston. Usually, for domestic flights, I arrive about an hour ahead of schedule, but this time, since there would be international travel involved. Good thing too, because my flight from Boston to JFK was delayed and they were not sure I would catch the connecting flight to Istanbul. Luckily, there was a flight to Lagurdia leaving in about half an hour, so if I hurry, I can catch it. I caught it, and met my first fellow English teacher on the shuttle bus from Lagurdia to JFK. I had put a “green heart” sticker on my bag so that other people would be able to recognize me. We would have gone through security together, but I had a very new check in officer, so it was a very long whole before I got through the whole process. I found Danny and we set up shop at our gate. We knew that there were other people from the program on the flight from JFK to Istanbul, so we spent a lot of our time trying to make eye contact with other potential volunteers. Finally, when I at last had given up, we met Dan who had seen my green heart sticker and came over to sit and wait with us.
The flight from New York to Istanbul was the longest of the trip. It ended up being about 10 and a half hours long. I sat on the aisle and the middle seat was empty, so later in the flight, I tried (and failed) to curl up on the two seats to sleep. The woman who was sitting at the window was from Turkey and her daughter was getting married soon. She helped me out when the cabin crew made announcements in Turkish and forgot to translate them into English. There were many movies on the plane, as well as games and music. Many movies, trivia games, and one Glee season soundtrack later, we arrived in Istanbul where 9 of us from the program gathered to make the final jump to Tbilisi.
We were the first batch of volunteers who made it to the hotel, so we settled in to dinner and I found my first favorite food: khachapuri! It looks like a pizza slice, but there is no tomato anything. It is bread and a yummy, but unknown cheese. We keep asking the wait staff what foods are, and they keep telling us the Georgian name for things. I repeat it, and forget it about a second later. There is also a whole lot of closing your eyes and guessing what it might be. It is really good either way. Over the night, the original 9 were joined by forty something people ready to teach English. We spent the day meeting each other, taking it easy, and exploring the immediate area.
Since my universal adapter is somewhere in Cambridge (grr) I bought one for my computer. I think it is because I don’t know the words for numbers and Georgians seem to instinctively know that but in every store I walk into, they write the cost on a pad of paper and show it to me, and that is what I pay. I have not yet seen any signs that have prices anywhere, but I have not wondered very far yet. Since everyone who came in last night is free tomorrow, we are going to head into town together tomorrow. The rest of the 100 something people will be in by tomorrow night, and then the real training will begin. I still don’t know where I am going, though I officially told them today that I want to be in a village. It will be completely different, but that is what I want to do (at least right now…)
Internet is in and out in this Hotel, so I don’t know how regular I will be over the next week, but after that, I move somewhere else, we’ll see how this little adventure of blogging goes…

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