Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My First Georgian Excursion

Friday, February 28th


Classes are all short today so that the teachers can go on an excursion to an old church in Tbilisi, where the body of a Georgian saint is being kept for the weekend. As teachers trickle into the teacher’s room after their last classes, we sit down to celebrate one teacher’s birthday with cake. And homemade wine. And some Russian drink that is definitely more alcoholic than wine. And a little prompting from our directorio (principle), who notices how slowly my wine is disappearing and asks, “Don’t you drink?!”

Not anything we would expect in a school back home. But I can certainly enjoy the differences. I think I’ll enjoy the excursion, too. At the very least it gives me a free marshutka ride to start off my three-day weekend out of the village. I'll hang out with friends in Tbilisi, then head to Bakuriani for a ski trip with other friends. Monday is a holiday, so I don't have to return to Zovreti until then.


We are running on Georgian time, aka late, but finally reach the old and respected Semeba Cathedral.  The walk from our marshutka to the church is heartbreaking. Every beggar in Tbilisi seems to have found a place to camp out.

When we get there, there are already hundreds of people crowding together on the cathedral steps. I ask my co, “What are those people doing?”

“They are in a queue.”

“To see the monk’s dead body?”

“Of course.”

Of course. What else would they be waiting so long for? Silly American me.

Before long, I give up on the monk viewing and leave early so as to not be late meeting up with friends. My co and his brother walk me to the metro, scan a card, and push me through before I can ask which train I’m supposed to take. Thankfully there are only two options.


I’m at a Georgian restaurant drinking and talking with quite an interesting group. There’s the Georgian university student who I just happened to meet at the airport during my connecting flight from Istanbul to Tbilisi. He was traveling home from a semester in Estonia. There are also a couple teachers from the same batch of Teach and Learners as myself: the Irishman who spent six months in China just to learn kung fu and the Scotsman who has already taught in Japan and Thailand. Then there is a friend of the Scotsman, who he met in Serbia, and who happens to be a fellow Arkansan and a Teach and Learn veteran. Quite possibly the only other person from my little state who has even done Teach and Learn with Georgia. And here we are meeting through a mutual friend who is from a completely different part of the world.  How does that even happen? I don’t know, but I love it. I enjoy the conversation. I enjoy the company. I enjoy being part of a group of young adventurers who care about the world and its happenings and its past and its future. And its present.

I really belong here. I thrive here. Not in any place, but here.

1 comment:

  1. So happy to hear your experience is becoming positive!!! To me it's so neat to sit back and watch God show you just how big this world isn't to Him!!