Friday, September 7, 2012

First Week in Georgia

Georgian Insights from Training Week

I am currently at my host family's home, spreading American culture by introducing one of my host brothers to The Jackson 5. The kids like to observe me. I feel bad that I'm not more interesting. At least the fact I could do one pull up on their pull up bar seemed to impress the youngest boy. The fact I could only eat two khinkali (meat dumplings) did not.

Join us in our jam session as you read about my first week in Georgia! 

(And here's the post I should have put up a few days ago.)

Learning Georgian is hard. I read one article that said the U.S. State Department (What up, DC!) rates it as a category 4. Wikibooks rates it as a 2...not sure who is right (and I can't find my way back to the first article for some reason). But the point is, Georgian is hard, and languages are hurricanes and thus rated in the same manner. Hurricanes that blow through your mind, leaving it forever changed and probably muddied. In Wikibooks, category 3 is the hardest (this rating is based on "hardest languages for native English speakers to learn", fyi) and includes Chinese and Japanese. Category 2 includes Georgian and probably other languages without a gorgeous alphabet and terribly difficult and strange throat hacking noises.

Not knowing how to communicate AT ALL in a country is very frustrating and difficult. I am five years old. I've never been in this position before, since in Peru I could always speak enough Spanish to get around, if not to catch all the nuances of the situation.

As I wrote the above, it was Tuesday night.  Well, actually Wednesday morning. Georgian karaoke or maybe a band was going crazy around 1 am at the restaurant next door . Then it switched to Party Rock. I saw some young girls shuffling to the same song at the ancient fortress overlooking the city. That moment sort of defined the Georgia I have seen thus far - old meeting new.

Other random insights/thoughts:

1. Sycamore trees line nearly every street here in Tbilisi. It's gorgeous.

2. My training group includes people from all over the western world. I am kept busy spreading my gospel of Southern amazingness. Meaning, explaining why I don't have a "redneck" accent, live on a farm, and don't fit the misguided stereotype of the South.

3. I really want to watch Dr. Who on netflix.

4. The doctor I went to had an American Motown song as her ring tone. Yes, she answered her cell during our consultation. It's the norm here.

5. There are a lot of good looking Georgian men I can't smile at in case they think I am flirting. C'est la vie.

I'll try to post soon about the hilarious awkwardness that was yesterday!


  1. strange throat hacking noises?! haha
    Thanks for the update!
    And laughs.

  2. Thanks for representing the South so well. (Hey, if one of the locals thinks you're flirting, break out into terribly difficult and strange throat hacking noises. It's the international signal for, "Don't even think about it, bud.")