…how much I’m looking forward to being back in Georgia.
My flight leaves from JFK on Saturday and arrives in Istanbul at about 6 am on Sunday. The flight to Tbilisi doesn’t leave for another seven hours, so I plan to take the tram downtown and see some of the sights. I’ll arrive in Tbilisi late that afternoon, spend the night at a hostel…
…and then take off the next morning for Kars, Turkey. I plan to meet up with a friend there and go tour the ruins of Ani, ancient capital of Armenia. I have no idea yet how I’m going to get there, but there should be some buses in Tbilisi or Akhaltsikhe, and from Kars you can charter a taxi.
So after all that, I’ll head out to Baghdati to meet my new host family! For the fall semester, I’ve been assigned to the school in the village of Rokhi:
It’s about an hour south of Kutaisi, right up against the Lesser Caucasus mountains, and it looks like an awesome place! A couple of other TLGers have been there before me, and they tell me it’s really great. It’s definitely going to be a change of pace, going from city to village, but it’s one I’m looking forward to. There are only 300 students in the school (grades 1-12), so maybe I’ll learn all my students’ names this time.
The family I’ve been assigned to sounds a bit older, with a thirty year old son who works at the school. It sounds a bit rustic, with Turkish toilets and no internet at home, but I’m looking forward to that, especially the no internet part. Don’t worry, I plan to get out and blog regularly–I’m sure there are local internet cafes, plus Kutaisi isn’t that far and I know where to get internet there.
Getting out to church is going to be a bit tricky: I’ll probably go into Kutaisi on Saturday, take the noon train into Tbilisi (5 GEL) and spend the night at a hostel (15 GEL), or take the sleeper train (10 GEL) and show up in the morning. Getting back shouldn’t be too difficult: the Baghdati marshrutka leaves from Didube at 16:00 (or so I hear), and from there it’s only about 6 or 7 kilometers.
I have no idea how long I’ll be in Georgia this time: my contract runs until the end of December but I may extend again, depending on what other options open up. I’ve really fallen in love with Georgia since coming there, and may just choose to stay on another year. The Caucasus is a really amazing place, full of hidden treasures and remote places.
Which reminds me: I’m bringing a tent and sleeping bag this time, to do some backpacking in Borjomi and Tusheti. Packing them was tough: the airline restriction is 20 kg total of weight (44.1 lbs), and after a whole lot of work, I finally got it down to 42.5 lbs. The disassembled backpack frame is going to have to go as a separate piece of luggage, since it was too big to fit in any bag, but it shouldn’t be too hard to reassemble it out in Georgia.
That’s about it. I’ll leave you with this awesome Georgian song I found on youtube. The dance troop is Erisioni, and they put on an amazing show that’s kind of like Riverdance, except for Georgia. Let me tell you: when it comes to dance (folk or ballroom), I don’t think anyone in the world is as amazing as the Georgians.