Thursday, September 27, 2012

100th Blog Post: Mary Ellen and the Mysteries of My Life

This is my 100th blog post.

Hurrah! Confetti! Cakes! Those little party favor horns that were so amusing as children!

This blog has seen me through living in Lima, my senior year at GWU and now here, small town Sakartvelo (Georgia). Have I grown as a person? Undoubtedly, as the carbs of Georgia are quickly adding pounds. Have I learned many lessons? Yes, such as the vital importance of Google Translate.

I want to use this post to talk about the big questions, important topics that are affecting me right now. (Is that the right affect/effect? I'll be honest, I still get confused.)

First - Clifnotes of my life:
- I went grape harvesting last weekend, got really sick, had lots of frustrating cultural differences/mistranslations, but I made it through with laughter, wine, ranting e-mails and a sympathetic donkey.
- I like teaching! I like the kids. I like when I tell my 1st graders to "shake it out!" and we wiggle around the classroom.
- Georgian is still hard. I can usually learn 3 out of 4 syllables in a word and end up sounding like someone with an intense speech impediment.
- I am heading to the mountains on Saturday! "I want to see mountains, Gandalf!"
- Voting happens here on Monday and it is a BIG DEAL. Democratic elections aren't too common in Georgia. Read more about it here if you are so inclined. News junkie as I am, I find it all super interesting.

But enough about health and politics and life-changing events. On to the truly important questions; those small mysteries that you can never solve due to language barriers or pure awkwardness, that plague you every day, such as....

1. Who is this man in my house?

There is a man who comes to our house every single night. Sometimes he eats here. More often he just sits and watches TV or reads the paper. I rarely hear him talk. If I was ever introduced to him, I don't remember it. I have never seen anyone interact with him or speak to him directly. That's weird. Think about that. I toyed with the idea that he is a ghost and only I can see him, however, the fact that he takes up one of the few precious chairs in the living room and no one has tried to take it back makes me think that he is indeed flesh and blood and existing in our space. Sometimes I greet him. Sometimes I don't. It doesn't seem to matter. Currently my parents are gone and I am here with my host siblings. He came walking in the door as we were working on homework (I helping my sister) and muttered something to us. No one responded. He sat down with a newspaper. He just changed the TV channel with a remote. I don't think a ghost would use a remote.

UPDATE: literally two minutes after posting this my host sister and this man exchanged fully five sentences! About the news, it appeared, and the exchanged ended in anger with my sister impatiently turning back to her school books. THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING! Ghost Man has an opinion on the news!

2. Is this woman my grandmother? Where does she live?

I could have sworn this friendly old woman was introduced to me as my grandmother on my first day here. However, now I am unsure, as apparently another old woman is my grandmother and lives in our house. Is the first old lady also my grandmother? Does she live next door, as I suspect, and that is why she pops in so much? Does she live in an unknown room in my house? Is she related to us at all? Is she actually as hardcore as I think she is, an idea created by the fact that she spends a lot of time holding a knife? Either way, she is pretty cool, so I hope she is my host grandma as well.

3. What is the point of the flimsy curtains?

We have these transparent curtains in my house that cover every window and doorway. They are very careful to close the one on the front door, which is understandable as we keep the door itself open and the curtain seems to dissuade the curious chickens. However, other curtains don't make as much sense. I am constantly told to keep the see-through curtain over the doorway to my bedroom closed. There are no chickens in the hallway, and bugs will still come through my open window. Why must the curtain be closed? Will it magically stop the diseases I am told will come from doing things like not wearing socks and eating Russian chocolate? Is it some sort of dreamcatcher?

 It certainly doesn't stop curious host siblings and neighbors from entering my room and staring at me for long periods of time, actions that either amuse or annoy me, depending on the day (and more often than not, make me feel bad for being so boring to watch. I should take up juggling.). Curtains over doors that are always kept closed, or windows that have the shutters always shut don't make sense either. They are nice looking, but really, the hassle they create for me, as I attempt to not shut them in the door, far outweighs any aesthetic properties.

 As you can see, I am grappling with some pretty intense issues and there are more mysteries I will have to share at a later date. Please, if you have any insight, do share in the comments!


  1. Hey there lady, which school are you at in Sagarejo. I was there in Jan 2011-Sept 2011 at school number four. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G town!!!!!

    1. Hello! I am in school number 2! Sagarejo has been lovely so far, though I feel like I've only seen the area directly around me. Any pointers for things to do or see?