Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Georgia Peach in the "Other" Georgia

Friends, Family, Countrymen (and women),

As many of you may know, I am moving to the country of Georgia. As in, the small one that borders Russia, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Black Sea.

Or, you know, I could just show you a map.

And yes, this is cause for cheesy jokes, as I am currently at my childhood home in the state of Georgia.

"One Georgia to another!"
"I guess Georgia is really on your mind!"
"You already speak Georgian! Hey y'all!" 

It's known as (საქართველოSakartvelo by actual Georgians.

I will be there four months, teaching English, most likely in a rural village.

Why am I doing this? Why not? Adventure in the unknown is my dream.  

And Georgia, a country that a month ago I was only vaguely aware of, is certainly unknown.
 I enjoyed teaching English in Peru and I'm excited (and nervous, let's be honest) to try my hand at it again!

And I had to leave before I turned 23 (so soon!). Because of the above quote, and because I had the irrational fear that if I didn't I would get stuck in the "normal" track - years down the road I would find myself at a job, no matter how awesome, wondering "what could have been...". 

I'm finding this post a bit hard to write. I've done nothing but read about Georgia for the past week or so (ok, and watch Dr. Who and sit by the pool and load up on travel necessities like Clifbars, but mostly read about Georgia) and I'm not even sure yet how to condense all of that recently and randomly acquired information.

From the blog posts, Facebook statuses, e-mails, books (that usually mention Georgia for only a page or two - apparently my local library is not very focused on Georgia), friends of friends and wikipedia, here is my over-stressed-brain summary of my very methodical research: 

1. Georgia is an ancient and beautiful country that has been invaded a couple hundred times. 

2. Georgian is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn.

3. The people are some of the most hospitable in the world.

4. In the villages, women can't wear shorts, don't often work outside the home, and answer to the male head of the family. (I can't wait to see how they react to my short hair...I envision many awkward conversations...or lack thereof seeing as we can't really communicate.) 

5. In some villages, they find that drunk 6th graders are the norm, as is scaling the school roof for mandatory PE activities, setting classrooms on fire, and cheating on tests. I'm not sure if this is the most awesome school system I've ever heard of, or the most awesome. I meant to say awful, of course. 

6. You will gain weight while there, based on the diet of delicious, force-fed carbs.

7. They often watch Spanish soap operas and drink something called chacha, which is pretty much moonshine. 

8. Their current president went to the George Washington University (my alma mater) for law school!

9. They have huge feasts called supras and everyone toasts each other and eats forever.

10. The mountains are breathtaking, the churches are ancient, and their famous wine flows freely. 

And that's my knowledge, along with a few phrases, half the alphabet memorized, and my sense of adventure. I did a lot of really crazy things in Peru, but moving to Georgia might be the craziest thing I've done yet. 

(On top of all that, I just ate a bunch of gummy vitamins because I thought they were gummy fruit and now my tummy feels weird. Should I really be trusted to teach children?)

I was talking to some friends and told them that I was a) afraid of the cold and b) afraid Georgians would feel awkward about my haircut. 
They responded with:

"Just try to look really cuddly"
"Just dress up like a really skinny, small man." 

I think I will indeed look cuddly, though I will stick to my gender. 

 I keep asking myself, why exactly do I feel the need to go on this adventure? And then I think of a quote I saw recently: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. 

So wish me luck, off I go to the unknown!

I leave you with a Walt Whitman poem, from "Song of the Open Road" 

Afoot and Light-Hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy Free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 
Henceforth I ask not good fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road. 

No comments:

Post a Comment