So many little things happen in a day, it is hard to remember (though I make mental notes all the time) when it comes time to post. So, here is a post of some of' the more mundane but exciting things that have been happening in the last week, and unmentioned things that have been happening since I arrived in Georgia.
First of all, the new foods. When I was little, I used to ask for pasta without the green stuff (parsley) or the red stuff (tomato sauce). I am still not a fan of the red stuff, but as I grew older and wiser, I was convinced that I can't say "I don't like something" until I have tried it. THEN I can complain about it as much as I like, or at least that was what I took from the lesson. Anyway, it has been put into practice here in Georgia, in a big way. Not the complaining part... First, I told you about trying persimmon, and finding out it was persimmon, I have to say, I am not very impressed with this fruit, but it is tasty and filling, so it gets a 3 out of 5. The next food I ate, with NO IDEA of what it was, was a chestnut. I was at a friends house and her mother brought out all sorts of food, including this hot round thing. You had to pop it open with pressure and then scoop out the yellow inside. Well, I had no idea what it was until a couple days later when Margo put some in front of me. Lela said it was a chestnut, and let me tell you, I have not yet had some roasted on an open fire, but boiled is fine by me. Somewhere in the middle of all that, I had my first Sharon Fruit. This is a fruit that I had NEVER heard of before, and it kinda has the texture of a tomato (NOT a plus). It is also very sweet, to the point that I have yet to eat a full one, I have to stop at half, or more often, a quarter. But my host family loves them, so I have a quarter every other day or so, and in small doses, they are really not so bad. In fact, it was pretty good. Just the one piece. Is good. The last new fruit was introduced this week. My host father brought it in on the way home from Tbilisi. It looked like a lumpy yellow apple, except it was bigger and VERY lumpy. They laughed at my confusion and cut me a piece. The whole family has learned that when it comes to food, I am not very good at hiding my reaction, so everyone was on hand to watch my face screw up as I ate the most SOUR FRUIT EVER! Quince is very VERY sour. The whole family laughed as I got the sugar and poured it on the fruit to give it a try that way. Well, it was better, but I thought I would be staying FAR away from the quince. The next day, at lunch, I was handed a cup full of fruit, and I thought, “Hey, my first homemade Kompot!” and it turns out I was right! They call it “kampot'i” but it is the same thing. And there was quince in in, which I eyed warily and saved for last. Let me tell you the difference being boiled in sugar water makes! I LOVE this stuff!
The real reason my family has started watching my reactions to food (beside that fact that they are over feeding me and wanting me to like what I am eating) is because of my reaction to this yogurt stuff (I don't remember the name in Georgian) that was, well. Lela came in with a jar and ladled some of it on to my cup and told me it was homemade yogurt. Well, I like yogurt, so I took a big spoonful. BIG mistake, because once again, it was SOUR! So very sour. Lela laughed so hard at my face! She THEN brought out the sugar and told me that people sometimes mix sugar in because it is really sour. I thanked her for tell me this AFTER I had some, and heaped sugar into my cup. This made things much better, MUCH better.
Sugar is something else that is funny. I don't put sugar in my tea (I can't help remembering a certain thanksgiving and a brother who thought he had sugar, not salt) and I really don't like sweetened tea. Well, my family does not understand this AT ALL! They have one or two BIG spoonfuls per cup. But they don't understand why I want quince with sugar. Then there is instant coffee, a thing that I am pretty positive NEVER existed in our house. Coffee here is ONLY instant, and since I am not a coffee drinker, I am not sure if the making of it is the same, though I think it is different. My assumption is that, in America, and instant coffee drinker would pour the packet into a cup and pour hot water in, and then add whatever cream or sugar is desired. Here, a small red pot with a handle is taken out. It looks like a pot for a child's playhouse kitchen or something. They pour in two scoops of coffee and two heaping scoops of sugar. Then they add water and put the whole thing on the stove, mixing the concoction until deemed ready. I have no idea when ready is, but then, they pour it into these mini mugs, they are shot glass sized. And THIS is what you drink coffee out of. I have not seen ANYONE drink coffee out of a mug, a normal, what we in the states call a coffee mug. Those we have, but they are for tea. So, this post ended up being about food, and no wonder. I am hungry (probably for the first time since getting to Poti). I have stayed at the school after my lessons are done and I am going to have my first meeting with 8th and 9th graders interested in an English Club. I have prepared a couple activities including MadLibs, but based on the way some of my classes have gone, I think I might just end up talking to them for 45 minutes. And again for those of you who think “oh, this is the perfect job for Pauli, she LOVES to talk” (which is perfectly true, in many ways) the truth is I like to COMMUNICATE, and that is VERY hard here. Even when I find a Georgian English speaker, I have to monitor everything I do, speak clearly and slowly, and stick to words that they will know, not use slang, and most of all, not use Yiddish. It confuses them as much as learning Megrulian confuses me.
I have been sitting in the computer room, writing this, and one of the singing teachers from the supra last week came over and we have made an official deal: I will teach her some English, and she will teach me Megrulian songs. Now I guess I really should learn some Megrulian.