Swearing in and the New Job
It’s officially August and I still can’t believe the G13 group passed the three-month mark here in Georgia! Only three weeks out from swearing in and most of us are still pretty bright eyed but the G12s have warned us that feeling only lasts so long… We shall see about my new found relationship with Oz! I’m feeling the positive mojo here so high hopes megobrebo (friends).
Here’s a quick recap of my adventures from swearing in and beyond:
Swearing in was on a Friday and I woke up at 5am to finish shoving all the extra PC booklets, pamphlets, and swag accumulated over the past 3 months in any bag or crevice that still had space. After that, we headed to Tbilisi, were sworn in in about 20 minutes, ate a delicious fruit-filled cake, and peaced out to our permanent sites. My host sister from Surami, Gvantsa, came to the swearing in, and I (slightly) balled having to say goodbye to her. Luckily, I’m planning a reunion trip to Surami when the Ukrainian comes to visit in October. Already having Gvantsa, Nodari, and Lizi withdrawals so I can’t wait!
Gvantsa, Aaron, Giga, & I at the Swearing in Ceremony
Sesili, Nona, & I
My Mom & Dad in Surami
My Grandpa & Grandma in Surami
Before we made the 5-hour trek back to Guria, my new host mom (Nona), new host sister (Sesili), director (Zviad), and I did a little sight seeing at Sameba, which is a massive, brand spanking new church in Tbilisi, and ran some errands. The rest of the return drive was filled with mtsvadi, delicious Georgian BBQ, and talks of bees… Normal car ride here in Saqartvelo.
New Host Family checking out Sameba
Sesili, Nona, & I at Sameba
Sesili, Nona, and I at Sameba
Sameba - Orthodox Church in Tbilisi
That Monday was my first day of work. Three weeks in, I’ve done a little “Hello, my name is Jessica” presentation and just started learning about all the projects Guria Youth Resource Center works on. In a nutshell, we help local civic clubs in secondary schools facilitate projects, teach disadvantaged youth English, and re-integrate probationers back into society through developing English and computer capacities. Also, another guy at the office and I started working on our website… Let’s just say by Christmas I hope we have something up and running. Any techies out there interested in donating some knowledge and skills should let your favorite PCV at Guria Youth Resource Center know!
I’m also trying to organize a back-to-school concert featuring traditional Gurian bands that might also happen to be sponsored by the Ozurgeti Beer Company. All is TBD, but my director seems on board since the event is aimed at “building awareness of GYRC’s location, projects, and programs.”
Other updates, the past two weekends I spent in Kutaisi, which is the old capital of Georgia. This past weekend, we spent Friday night singing Michael Jackson at karaoke. On Saturday, there was supposed to be a traveling beer festival, but because of the weather, the festival stayed in Gori. Not cool beer festival. It was 5pm, around the time the concerts were supposed to kick off, before anyone realized we all got stood up. Did I mention around 12 volunteers hiked to Kutaisi for the festivities? Instead, we played board games all night in another PCV’s mansion (also known as her host family’s super large and ornate second floor). Oh, another momentous occasion was when I devoured crepes and a Caesar salad at a French café in Kutaisi! I haven’t even seen salads for three months without mayonnaise, cucumbers, or tomatoes in them. Such a good weekend to be my stomach.
Final Shot of the Ferris Wheel
Panorama of Kutaisi
Kutaisi atop the Ferris Wheel
Packing in the Cable Car
Cable Car in Kutaisi
Front of the Fountain
Fountain in Kutaisi
Flowers from my host dad for all the women in the Lomadze clan
The other major high point was my second Saturday in Ozurgeti, which was actually spent in Batumi with my host family. My host mom’s brother lives there, so we drove to Batumi. There, my host family, along with another PCV in tow, scoured the bazar for a cheap and decent skirt and umbrella. Check off both of those. Then, we met up with another ten or so volunteers at this café started by another PCV to meet up and eat club sandwiches… with bacon! Oh the little things that make your day even better here in Georgia like bacon and sit down toilets. Post sandwiches, we headed to the beach and then back to Oz.
Besides photos and the normal updates, let me know what y’all want to hear more of! Host family shenanigans? Funny/awkward moments while trying to speak Georgian? What is khatchapuri? What’s the beer like in Oz? You name it, and I’ll include it in the next post…