Hey, just a quick post to let you guys know how I’m doing.
I made it out to the village yesterday, met my new host family and got more or less settled. Due to some mixups, I ended up in Sairme (WAY up in the mountains) before making it down to Baghdati, but everything worked out well and I got to see some beautiful Georgian scenery at the same time.
My new host family is great! It’s a 35 year old guy and his mom, living on a farm in a village with all their uncles and cousins and stuff pretty close by. The guy, Dato, is way cool–he does IT at the school, farms his mom’s place, and otherwise just hangs out in the village. We played nardi last night–I actually beat him on the first go, then he slaughtered me twice. Then his aunt played him and things got really entertaining.
The house is WAY different from the apartment where I was living before. Much more spacious. It’s a couple hundred years old, though, so the wires are attached on the outsides of the walls and stuff. We’ve also got chickens all over the place. I’ll be sure to post some pictures, probably in a week or two.
I think I’ve hit it off pretty well with the family. They’re impressed that I already know a bit of Kartuli, especially the aunt. Things got a little tense when I turned down the wine and told them I can’t drink because my religion forbids it, but I don’t think it will be too much of a problem (though this being Georgia, you never know).
The mom is an awesome cook. This morning, she made one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had in my life. The house is old but comfortable, I’ve got all the space and privacy I need, there’s a lot more nature out here in the village–I think I’m really going to like it here. What’s more, Kutaisi is only a short half-hour marshrutka ride away.
After I’m through here, I’ll walk up to my old host family’s place and drop off some gifts: specifically, some RAM for their broken down computer. Then I’ll head over to my old school, say hi to my old coteachers, run downtown to pick some stuff up, then head back out to the village. Tomorrow, I’ll meet up with a friend of mine to get some stuff for camping, then head out the next day to go backpacking in Borjomi or Tusheti. That’s the plan at least.
Oh, and about the trip to Ani: I tried to get down to Kars, but couldn’t find a bus. I ended up in Akhaltsikhe, the Georgian border town, but the only way out was to catch a taxi to the crossing ($$$), catch a taxi on the other side to the Turkish town on the other side, and from there to catch a bus down to Kars (about 140 km). I was traveling alone, didn’t know any Turkish, it was about mid-afternoon and I didn’t have a backup plan, so I ended up aborting and headed back to Tbilisi.
Oh well–it happens. I’ll try again, though, probably in a few weeks. This time, we’ll meet up in Georgia, where I actually know how to get around.
In other news, I bought three author copies each of Genesis Earth, Bringing Stella Home, and Desert Stars before I left the US. They’re signed and numbered, and if you want to buy one of them, just shoot me an email (joseph [dot] vasicek [at] gmail [dot] com). The #1 copies are already sold, but the #2 and #3 copies of each book are still available. You can buy them from me at the current Amazon paperback price, and I’ll have my parents ship them out to you.
That’s all for now. Take care, and I’ll see you guys around!