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09:46pm 14/12/2009
Hear ye, hear ye!

chemi axhali journali ikneba:
(My new journal will be:)

Mostly because I think it looks prettier. I may keep my LJ for life after PC. We'll see.
Until then, probably gonna be a big hiatus.

Peace out!
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06:30pm 01/12/2009
Okay, so I should probably get on that Thanksgiving post that everyone else has already done like two weeks ago. Whatever. So I've been zarmatsi (lazy). I've also been busy.

And, you know, I've actually been enjoying life. In contrast to Spain (and much of the time afterward).

Let's examine the facts:

1) I've got a frigging awesome counterpart teacher.
"I want to be one of the best English teachers in the region."-My counterpart.

You probably won't hear this out of any of the other volunteers' counterparts' mouths. I've heard success with lesson planning, but it's more like a trip to the dentist; wheras my counterpart said, "We must plan the lessons together," when we first met. Granted, they're not perfect--what can you expect from lessons based on a book that's excellent albeit beyond the students' comprehension level?

Also, last week we planned a Thanksgiving party pulled a party out of our asses in two days, complete with nuggets of info read by our 7th graders in both languages about the history of Thanksgiving (nuggets so enthralling that the teachers talked only QUIETLY throughout the whole thing), making of I-am-thankful-for hand turkeys, and feasting on pie made by yours truly as well as popcorn, nom-nom-squares (namskhwari aka cake/goodies), fresh berries, and coffee brought by the students and Magda. Everyone naturally applauded me and called me a "kargi gogo" (and it wouldn't be Georgia without an urging for me to get married. I love my director..). The whole thing turned out okay, but it was kind of a pain in the ass, and I didn't want it to be so much of a dog-and-pony-show as a time for the kids to learn the phrase "I am thankful for" and learn how to spell "pearents" right. Ah, well. What can ya do?

After the spectacle, my counterpart and I were cleaning up. I was carrying away the remains of coffee in a plastic cup, (the amount which, this time, I had managed to undermine the urgings to miertviet). I said to myself, "I don't want it anymore," to practice the newly learned Georgian word for "not anymore".
My counterpart said, "School or parties?"
I, stopped, did a double take, and we laughed. That's how cool my counterpart is.

Also, we had a slumber party at her house last week (lesson planning ran late and she didn't want me to go back in the dark and I didn't want to have her call my host mom to escort me). This culminated with us doing yoga on her bedroom floor while her 4-year old son played some racing game on the computer in Russian. Not very relaxing, but keep in mind that this was yoga in Georgia with a Georgian.

On to reason #2 I'm thankful and happy: The host family.

They're the most normal Georgians I've met in this whole country. And they've got a reputation in the village as people who get along with one another and are honest and giving and helpful. All true. These people give used clothing to the orphanage. The females still do 99.9% of the food prep, but the grandpa's been known to heat up a thing of beans when he wants to, and I swear my host bro made himself eggs the other night. And the guys DO work really hard; grandpa in the yard with the animals and crops and stuff, and the dad with his guard job. Not to mention all the guys (and my host mom, sometimes) are working on the house renovation now.

My host mom is something else. In addition to helping carry heavy things once in a blue moon, she stomped the grapes for the family because the dad was gone at work. Also, she is so patient with me, talks with me, and understands and corrects my poor grammar. She introduces me to people in the village, all of whom she's friends with/relatives with/godmother to/all of the above. She still thinks in the traditional Georgian manner that I'll catch cold if I walk around the house without wearing slippers, which I'm not sure I believe. (to quote Lauren, "I now wear socks all the time for reasons I don't understand!") But it is hella cold here. Like I said, we're doing renovations. The room with the pechi (wood stove) is being defloored and refloored. Thus, the pechi is outside. Solution? Go to the small room that's also been refloored and is half-put together and warm ourselves by the small pechi temporarily installed there.

I love my host kids/siblings, too. Last night at the family tutoring session, they successfully managed to make menus with practically every fruit in English, ask for coffee and vodka, and refuse to sell to one another, telling each other "shen khar stupid" and "shut up, ra." They crack me up.

Now it's khinkali-making night for the workers--my contribution will be some vashlis piure (apple's puree, aka applesauce). I'm gonna head to do that, but I'll catch you later.
I've got to tell you about me being a tamada (toastmaster) at a birthday supra, danceoffs with butt bombs, and also pie cooking escapades, if nothing else. I'll be back.
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09:22pm 14/11/2009
So! Thanks to me realizing that Peace Corps sends necessary information via e-mail, I shelled out the 155 lari and got myself a high speed modem. Then, after the two free trial days, as I was left in a village with no bankomati (aka ATM), I scrounged enough emergency funds together to buy myself 45 lari worth of mono cards to make my monthly payment. Naturally, the cards were in denominations of 5 (this is a village--who's gonna get a 25 lari card?) and I had to go to 2 different stores to get them (who carries 9 mono cards at a time? Not a village store.).

Anywhoo, expect more regular updates.

It's 2:00 in the morning now. I've not been sleeping regularly for about a week now--either stay up late for this supra, or because I'm too excited by the prospect of online shopping I can't go to sleep. Not that online shopping is more practical than going to the bazari at Tbilisi, because who's going to ship to Akhalsopeli? It's just that I have an aversion to haggling, and I was not about to pay 90 lari for a pair of much-coveted grey suede boots.

Basically, life is good. I seem to have stumbled upon the luck of the mystical triad-- my host family is awesome, my main counterpart is a wonderful teacher and a great friend, and I have a picturesque view of the Caucasus mountains when I step outside my room.

Firstly, my general "routine":
-wake up
-coffee with teachers
-lesson recap writing
-sereales (terrible latin american soap operas), kronika (news), Who Wants 30,000 Lari, Va Banka (Georgian Deal or No Deal), Geostar (Georgian Idol), Truth Time, etc. etc. (da ase shemdeg)
-tiptoe to the toilet

Twice a week or so is shower night, when we light the pechi in the bathroom for some hot water (if it's rained and there's water in the tub-- the system broke when we had a big storm and they haven't fixed it yet. More on that later.)

Weekends are usually spent traveling, the most recent of which was Erakleoba in Telavi and then Johnnyoba and Iliaoba in Kvareli. (the suffix -oba is used to create days of celebration. In conversation class, I made up shokolatoba--guess what that celebrates. Anyway, Erakle was superduper king man, and Ilia was a writer, a banker, a patriot, a martyr, and a saint from the nextdoor town of Kvareli. It was also Johnny's birthday.)

I'm going to label some pictures, maybe sleep, and be back for more.
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03:22am 17/06/2009
Here's my first update from my next adventure, brought to you by the free wifi in the Istanbul airport. All the US airports charge a fee, which is a bunch of baloney and why I haven't updated until now. I briefly got a slow connection at staging Monday night, but it was only for "one day" which is not 24 hours, but merely until midnight. Thus, I didn't get everything done that I would have liked to get done.

I am simultaneously excited out of my mind and nervous out of my mind, so the two clash and explode within me, resulting in a sort of low-burning flame of indifference. Thus far, the people I'm meeting are wonderful people. I am quickly realizing how incompetent I am... everyone else has so much more travel experience, knows languages, is prepared for grad school, etc. etc. But conversations are more than pleasant, and even though I'm horribly socially awkward, or at least nominally socially awkward, I'm getting along well enough.

Hearing more about Georgia at staging, especially from the returning volunteers, helps a LOT with the nervousness. I'm a bit worried about the food--namely, that I'll gain 50 pounds from all the potatoes and hachapuri! Yikes! And I'm worried about getting sick, because most people apparently do so. And "getting sick" does not include a cushy bathroom in which to throw up, but rather an outhouse. But I'll make do. After all, this is how some people live. They're not "sacrificing" anything, and they don't have the option to leave and have different conditions. Hopefully I can keep that in mind.

I've already posted my phone number on facebook. If you need it, I'll post it on a friends-only post. It doesn't cost me to receive calls or texts, and texts are rather cheap for me to send. So that seems like a great way to keep in touch, as I don't know how often I'll be able to get online. Maybe I can set up Twitter and update that via cell phone? I dunno. We'll see.

So, a little more on what I'm doing:
I'm at a layover in Istanbul right now, waiting to go to Tbilisi. We're going to be in a hotel for a couple days, and then I think we're going to go on some village visits? I'm not quite sure, but I'll figure it out more as we get there and get paper itineraries and whatnot. PST doesn't sound like it'll be as bad as I thought it would; we'll get into groups and stay in villages around the central training village. These small groups will go to language and training lessons together--I'm very excited to see who's going to be in the same group as me. (as I?)

I'll have to register my blog when we get to Georgia and talk with the people there and start to settle in. Just so you know, this is my personal opinion blog and does not necessarily reflect that of Peace Corps. But hopefully it's not to out in left field, unless it's in a good way.

Okay, I'm running low on battery power because my laptop only lives but a few minutes when on wifi. I'm going to post my phone number in friends only, then head out. Later!
music: Something Turkish on their MTV
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09:07am 16/01/2009
Soooo my car won't start. Fantastic. I had to cancel my appointment because there's no way I could make it to Davenport by 11:30 today. Since my car won't start. A nice guy in the parking lot helped me try to jump start my car, but to no avail. Apparently it has vapor lock (I did not know what that was... my knowledge to cars is fairly limited. I knew I didn't want to try to keep starting the car because I didn't want to flood the engine, which I now realize is a ludicrous thought at this temperature).

Then, I guess I'm going to class today. Phil of art, and choir, if my car will start by that time. Then I think I'm still going home, because I have stuff to get and take care of and whatnot.

Laundry sounds like a good idea. So, to that I go.
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09:33am 10/12/2008
Big, long, amazing philosophical chat last night. A couple, actually. With different people. And that is awesome. I learned I have trust issues aaaaand that I can peg people COMPLETELY wrong. And that is all I'magonna write acause I'm tired. Because I didn't sleep. And I have to basically make a movie today because I'm a procrastinator and silly. x)

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04:14pm 11/11/2008
Senior performance tonight! I'm pumped.

But... my chili plant has APHIDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or some other infestation!!! I need to kill them so they don't kill my beautiful plant! Need spray bottle plz! D :
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10:33am 29/10/2008
I submitted my short story for the class to read last night. I'm presenting on it tomorrow. I hope I can fill an hour and fifteen minutes... I'm pretty darn nervous about it.

Friday my final draft for my Spanish senior research project is due. Hm.

I bought a red chili pepper plant at the Farmer's Market Saturday for $3. And I set it on the register because I didn't think it would hurt it--the heat hasn't really been turned on. But they jacked up the heat, and my plant is shedding the majority of its leaves. I'm still worried about its well-being. : (

Last night was especially fun because it was Heidi's 21st, and we went to Salsa's. Their homemade strawberry daquiris were INCREÍBLES. Om nom nom! : ) And, naturally, the food was fabulosa, como siempre.

Hokaaay time for exercise then eating then class then work then choir then yoga then panel on free trade then pancake breakfast for dinner in costume!
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12:11am 10/10/2008
Peace Corps interview tomorrow at 2.... yep.

In other news, I've finally seen Garden State now.

In other news, I read my uberdepressing poem in choir the other day! I translated Pablo Neruda's "Walking Around" This one is more differenter than my translation, but the idea is the same. Yaaaaaay!

In other news... this news station has run out of interesting news. Oh! Except that my flute choir instructor had a WICKED awesome concert on Tuesday night, and I chatted with her, and she may help me find a new flute! I've kinda wanted one for a while, and I know she can help me get a good one at a good deal. She has connexions (19th century Brit lit is wearing off on me!).

Speaking of 19th century Brit lit, I friggin loved Jane Eyre. It was pretty much amazing.
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04:40pm 05/10/2008
Ouch, I burnt my thumb while moving a candle holder.

And last night I had to flush my eye out because I splurted something into it while trying to overcome lack of a corkscrew. At least it was raspberry-flavored, and from Wisconsin, and pretty tasty.

Wish I could'a gone to Jeff Corwin today, but I forgot to get a ticket : |
I have to work on Spanish, anyway, because I'm immensely behind. My paper is now as long as it should have been two weeks ago.

It really sucks with a finger on fire!

(and neither of these accidents is why these two things are prohibited here... hm.)

P.S. My room is like a friggin icebox. HEAT WANT! Parents brought up coat + comforter + Peace Corps paperwork, but I'd still like the heat on, at least a little ;_; It's like freezing my butt of in Spain every night last year! Except I have no Emily to cuddle with.

Mmkay, life, wtf?
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