Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Georgian-Israeli ‘Welcoming Committee’

Well, here we go again! Georgia take two. I got back from Israel a few days ago after experiencing a truly amazing month in the Holy Land. My friends and I opted to CouchSurf the entire time so we were constantly meeting new people and just learning so much. If I even started to write down anecdotes and memories from my month long trip, I’d probably never stop writing.

This blog is dedicated to life in Georgia however, so I’ll hold-back on everything I want to say about my trip and only focus on my favorite Georgia-related anecdote.

So picture the scene- the girls and I have just landed at Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. We’re ready to start our new adventure and excitedly hurry outside with our huge backpacks to hail a cab.

Force of habit kicked in though, so instead of speaking to the cab hailer in Hebrew (yes that’s right, there’s a man whose job it is to hail a cab for you) we spoke to him in Georgian! An employee at the airport overhead our Georgian and excitedly came over to tell us that he was Georgian too. Then this employee called over another fellow Georgian employee- who not only turned out to be Georgian, he turned out to be from Kulashi. Kulashi as in that small village town right by Samtredia!

But just wait, when he found out I was from Samtredia he asked me what family I was living with. I told him I live with Vakho Dundua and his jaw almost dropped. He knew Vakho. As in my host dad.

Can we just reflect upon this? I fly to a country and the first man I talk to knows my host family. Okay cool. What a completely normal everyday occurrence.

And of course, only to add to our bewilderment, our cab driver that night turned out to be a Georgian from Kutaisi. The cabbie and I had a conversation in Georgian, Russian, Hebrew and English. Yes that’s right- polyglot cab rides all the way.

The funny thing is, when I told Vakho the whole story yesterday he didn’t even get surprised. He said something in Russian like, “Oh right, that’s Koba”. As if he expected us to bump into each other.

The smallness of this world never ceases to amaze me (and it makes for noteworthy blog entries).

1 comment:

  1. Well Israel and Georgia were always very close. What do you expect from the county with one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world? During the Soviet occupation many Jews were moving to Georgia from other Soviet countries... because it was warm and people were cool with them being Jews.