The past few days have felt like a mix of sleep away camp, high school and fraternity pledging (not that I’d really know though). With all the classes and meetings and panel discussions we’ve been having, we’ve been running on a super tight schedule. Every few hours we’ll have a fifteen minute break to eat a plum (a super delicious plum), feed a stray dog or sprint to the Apothecary to get medicine for our digestion-challenged friends. Other than those brief breaks though, it’s pretty much TLG time from 9am to 10pm. It’s only after ten, when a hoard of forty of us English speakers go to the pub together does it start to feel like fraternity pledging. And with beer being just $0.65 you can literally have an amazing evening and spend less then $2.00. Oh, Georgia, how I love you.
|Melissa and Craig walking down the street in Kutaisi|
|A few of my so called TLG fraternity brothers, Bran, Katy, Steph and Me|
Asides from language class, we’ve been learning a lot about Georgian culture. Giorgi, my intercultural teacher has already told me that I smile way too much and constantly tells me to “look more Georgian”. In Georgian culture, smiling at someone is indirect communication for “I like you”, (even in the classroom setting)! I can barely go five minutes without smiling, let alone teach a class of teenagers without smiling. I’m either going to come off as a pedophile at my school or somehow get engaged with my neighbor from smiling at him three times in a row. Should be an interesting year!
|This is our toilet in the dorms! It's an eastern style squatter. (It's been an experience).|
|One of the many gangs of street dogs in Kutaisi.|
Amidst our fully-booked daily schedule, we managed to make it to the 900 year old Gelati monastery in Kutaisi. We went at night (so we couldn’t really see the place) but we sat in on a nighttime prayer session of the monks. Now, I’ve been around Europe and Jerusalem and I’ve seen my fair share of churches, but this was really one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. In this huge cathedral all the lights were out except for this one candle, and the voices of the monks just reverberated throughout the whole place. It was so moving and beautiful that I went and said Schechianu (the Jewish prayer that you say when you experience something amazing, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before). Kind of ironic, I know, but it was just that beautiful.
While at the monastery, Giorgi (the same Giorgi who told me I smile too much) gave me, Melissa and a few other people a private tour of Gelati. Asides from the fact that it was so dark I have no idea what I saw, it was very cool (and creepy) to walk on King David the Builder's tomb and be inside a thousand-year-old classroom. I can’t wait to go back in the daytime (and see the place). We’re even going to try and go see a mass! Gosh look at me, I’ve been in Georgia for ten days and I’m already excited to go to church!
|Melissa and I at the little pub!|