Dear loved ones,
I wanted to let you know that due to the lack of followers and comments, I have installed a tracking software, so I know who is reading this. Surprisingly, I even have a regular reader from the UK! That's right, in an act you may have thought was keeping tabs on me has now been reversed. So I can tell you the beauty behind the device: it is called Google analytics, in case you too would like to keep tabs on who tracks their IP address across the cyber hearth of your blog.
Random rambling aside, I went to Paula's birthday on an overnight trip on Friday. She has a beautiful home filled with all sorts of plants. She slaved over the stove/counter top all day preparing tortillas to fry, salsa to dip, and 3 pizzas! SM and I will be preparing American foods for our respective host families as soon as this Wednesday!
Paula's is probably one of the farthest places I could have decided to go, four hours one way. I love you Paula! Because I sure as hell would have done it for only a few people in this world. Paula, I'll have you know is a talented flautist. She played a tear-jerking piece that night after a massive cake.
Speaking of cakes, as I love desserts so much. There is generally one or a small number of people in each community who are the "cake makers," and my host mother is one of them! :D Speaking of host mothers, her name is Riongeta. I asked her where it came from, and she said that she has no idea, that her mother just saw it in one of her dreams. I wonder what names for my children I can dream up...
I love any kind of rain, and it has been raining a lot here recently. Yesterday we went to where my host grandmother lives in Orjonakidze, I think I spelled that correctly? It is the most beautiful area! Another plus is that there is a school there, and so I'm going to look into helping the director apply for a volunteer, if that's possible. In order for a school to get a volunteer they must go through a very long and competitive process.
I also found out a few of the different varieties of grapes. My favorite so far is the Odessa grape variety, which tastes a lot like a concord grape. With the red grapes I was told not to eat the skins, as it is not good for your stomach? And then also my host father said not to eat grapes in the morning or in the evening for the same reason.
Today was the first day of school! One of the teachers was a DJ who sang a couple of songs. My director told me that she wanted me to say a few words in English, and then one of my counterparts could translate. I didn't think I had achieved celebrity status until my director told me she might cry while giving my introduction, but not to be worried. Before the director's speech there was a ceremony of singing and dancing. Then I said my piece, receiving a round of applause, and then the resource center director spoke and afterwards came up to introduce himself. He was the only speaker who spoke in Russian, which I understand, and when he came up he asked, "Who will be my translator?" before I was able to start speaking.
In terms of Russian, I have continued to speak in Georgian with only bits and pieces of Russian. My host mother thinks it's very good and when I met her family on Sunday, she told them I knew better Georgian than Russian so they wouldn't try to speak to me in Russian. LOL Today she said talking in Russian is "ar sheidzleba" (not allowed). Then some other Georgian phrases I want to implement into my vocab include "deda" (mother) but when used as an expression it's long like deeeeeeeeeeedaaaa! and then also "vai me!" You can even put them together as one long exasperation: Vaiiiiii meeee! Deeeeeeeeeeedaaaa! It can make you sound Georgian for like 2 seconds, or maybe just strange.
I think if you asked my PST host mother I'm not a picky eater. But to my current host mother, I am primarily due to the whole stomach issue incident a week ago.
Not a whole lot gets accomplished on the first several days of school, however, I have to give my director props! She had done all of the teachers schedules before school even started. Here's how it works: There are all of the classrooms and each is labeled with a number and letter: example 9a. Each number represents the grade and the letter is the class. The teachers travel to each classroom whenever there time with ,for example, 9a is. There are 2 sessions, from 9 am to 2 and from 1:30 to 7 pm. Classes are held Monday through Saturday, however one major difference is that students may only have each class 2 or 3 times a week. Each class is 45 minutes in length.
The director requires that each teacher submit to her their syllabus for each grade and subject before school starts. She is once again, so organized! Maybe on US standards it's what's expected, but generally for Georgian schools as a teacher on the first day, you don't have any idea of when the classes you will teach will be, nor what classroom they might be in. So thus far, I'm thoroughly impressed.
So now I'm chilling. Mary had let me borrow 3 seasons of the office, and they are haunting me as I have yet to watch them! Before the end of September it is guaranteed they will be back in Mary's care! (along with the Cook's illustrated magazines) Speaking of Cook's Illustrated, it's a great magazine! You should check it out for some really great tips and scientific explanations of how things are made!
On that note, I'm off to watch some of the Office!
Missing all 15 or so of you!