Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cakes Weren't Meant for Eating

Tuesday February 25th


I’m at my school, about to start another day of co-teaching. I’m feeling down. I haven’t adjusted to the language barrier, and I miss all the friends I made in orientation. As I go from class to class, the inefficiencies of the Georgian education system add to my gloom. These kids read and recite English all day, but can’t actually communicate in English at all. They know more than I ever will about the past simple perfect whatever tense, but can’t even ask me how old I am without a co-teacher translating. It is legitimately baffling that any system of teaching a language could be so terrible that years of study could yield absolutely zero ability to produce or express ideas in said language. A co notices my mood and comments. I guess I’m not a good actor. But I do love hanging out with my students, and today after school I’ll get to join in on a traditional dance class with the high schoolers. Surely I’ll find some energy to feed on there.


My co is reminded that the teachers have a funeral to attend after school today. Will I join them? I’ll have to skip dance class. The one thing I was looking forward too. But how can I say no? I’m a teacher in this community, and I have social obligations to fulfil accordingly. Why can’t I enjoy the independence of adult life without the responsibilities? Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?


The funeral is boring. We comfort the mourners for about five minutes, then go wait in the yard with all the other guests. My female co isn’t around and my male co is socializing with the other men, so I kind of just stand around with the women, not knowing what the conversation is about except when I look up to see that they are all smiling and staring at me as they talk. They seem to adore me. Or at least the pretty, polite little slice of me they interact with.

After what seems like forever, we load into a marshutka (bus) and drive to the nearest “big” town for a supra (feast). I realize that maybe this funeral thing is good for me right now…it gives me all afternoon to quietly wallow in my misery. Sometimes I just need to wallow before I can get back at it.


  1. Perhaps "boring" isn't the best word choice?

    1. Because it is too indelicate for a funeral or because it falls short of describing the situation?

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