Monday, October 10, 2011

Exploration of Poti

So this is my third day in Poti and there is a LOT to talk about, but where to begin... I guess, I should start by explaining that Lela's husband, Lela, Qristina (the real transliteration from Georgian), and I piled in the car in Tbilisi. Sarcosi was in Tbilisi the day we left and the traffic and driving was something to behold. But we made it out without so much as a honk of the horn. We got in to Poti about one or two in the morning, and there were Lela's parents with freshly made khachapuri. The family had called ahead when they found out I liked the cheese and khachapuri. In fact, I have not yet had a meal with them that khachapuri was not on the table. We even went out to eat last night, and they ordered khachauri. It might be important to add that though I still love this stuff and I need to find some sort of way to exorcize or else there will be a lot more to me when I get home. Anyway, after I had some tea and khachapuri and bread and cheese, that were not baked together, and fruit of many kinds I managed to get to my room. That is where I discovered that I was luckier in host family than I thought. My room is at the end of the house, and I will save a post about the house for a later more settled time. It has two windows that look right out onto the street and in the morning a parade of cows, chickens and ducks go by.

Also, in Georgia, cats are dogs. That is to say, while we have cats all over the place, they have dogs. And dogs run in packs. It is VERY logical for me to be scared of dogs here. Apparently, earlier TLG volunteers who have less self-preservation instincts than I do went up to these stray dogs and pet them and were overly affectionate, while the dogs were not having it. In fact the dogs bit them and they got to spend weeks getting rabies shots, etc. See, I have been right all along. Dogs=Bad... (friends who have dogs/are getting dogs, I think I am going to be worse when I get home... sorry).
Saturday, I went out with Qristina. We went to the school I will be teaching at, which was also her school, so she had a lot of fun showing me around. I met one of her old teachers who said all the teachers at the school are very good and I will love working with them. I am very excited about that. Then we walked over to the park next to a beautiful cathedral. I know where I will go for a nice quiet read... Just beyond the park is what I call the “lion bridge”. I even learned how to say it in Georgian (though it took me a lot of laughter from Qristina and most of the day to remember how to say it) “lomi Khidi”. I even remembered that it is a bridge over the Rioni river. We wondered through town on some errands and then we came to an apartment complex. Qristina suddenly starts shouting up and a head pokes out. It is a friend of hers who invites us up. She is our age and is married and has a four month old baby. A very very cute baby named Tom. Her husband is a singer of national music, which I interpreted as folk music. He showed me some clips of his group and it was amazing! Just listening on the computer, the sound filled the room. He said next time I come over, he'll get the group over and they'll give me a live performance. I will definitely go back over, if not for the singing or the food (yes, they fed me within an inch of my life also) then just to see the baby when he is awake. Anyway, we went home where I was unable to eat more. It turns out that this worried my host grandmother. As part of the contract, host families are only required to give the volunteers two meals a day. Yesterday I went out with a TLG friend from my group and ate more, so I again, happened to only have two meals with my family. She went to Lela to make sure to tell me that I am one of the family and that if I need more food from them, I should take it/ask for it. I have been officially adopted, though I am still not allowed to even stack the dishes to make is easier to transport to the sink. Since I will be here a year, I think this will let up soon. I think.
Anyway, yesterday I went out to meet Donna, who is one of the other volunteers from my group. We decided to meet at the lion bridge since we both thought we knew how to get to it from our respective homes. I got there... eventually. I was planning on taking the route that Qristina had gone the day before, but I think I walked about five blocks too far. I never found the school, but I knew where I was trying to go (generally) and I made it. I found a whole new part of the park, but there is a great thing in the middle that looks like ruins (Lela told me it is the remains of a bar...).
From the park, I found the lion bridge no problem. I called Donna to tell her I made it. She told me to walk in the direction of the green building, so I kept walking down the street until I came to a huge green apartment building. I looked around. Donna had told me that she was walking up to the building when we hung up, but I didn't see her. Just as I was going to call her, she called me to tell me that she thinks we had different green buildings in mind. She was standing back at the lion bridge. When I went back, she showed me the green building she was looking at. It was made of green glass and was definitely a very green building on the street to the right of the bridge. Anyway, we went to her house and I met her host sister and her son. Her daughter was out. Again, her host sister was three years older than me. Anyway, Donna lives near the Sea, so we went for a walk along the coast. I love Poti.
When the sun started setting I remembered that I have never actually walked back to the house. When I went out with Qristina, we took a taxi home. Well, I found the right street this time and walked to the school where I completely forgot the way home. So, I called Qristina who told me she would be right there. I tried to tell her I wanted to walk home, just tell me which way I should start walking, but she insisted on coming to get me. Well, about two seconds after hanging up the phone, I remembered which way to go, but of course, she was on her way, and I didn't want to be not there when she got to the school so I waited. Today, I am going to go to the park and walk back on my own. I think I have it down. By the end of my first week of work, I will have it down no problem.
On to work, which I SERIOUSLY want to do. My regional representitive of TLG says she is arranging meetings with the principal and co-teachers and I can't go in until she arranges that. It is kinda killing me, now that I am here, I want to get started and figure out what my routine is/will be, so that I can start thinking about how to break that routine up.
As is, I can tell you that I wake up to dogs who seem to hate the sun. The second it appears, the barking begins (that is a bit of exaggeration). This morning, My family's dog and another dog went at it. I have no idea what was happening, but boy could they howl.
I want to go out, so I will post more later. Let me know if there is anything in particular you want to know about.
PS, my host grandfather invited me out to milk the cow last night. It will be some time before you all get the pictures you are waiting for. It will take me a while to work up to that.
for now, here are some pictures from last night's dinner.
Lela and her husband Goneri
Qristina and me
I havn't taken pictures of anyone else yet...

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