Sunday, October 4, 2009

Call me Young Wheezy!

Hello! Nothing gold ever stays...such is the frequency of me writing in my blog. I'm sure those who kept up on a regular were finding you had an increased reading load, but your break is up for at least today! Grab your ankles and sit tight on your toilet seats, it's going to be a messy ride.

Ok but not entirely. I just liked the way that was phrased. So the past two weeks have been jam-packed with all sorts of activities. I have been teaching up a storm, and it has been a challenge because of planning with my counterpart hasn't worked out as planned, but we are still positive about how this next week will be. I love my students and am slowly learning their names. I started watching Californication Season 2 with my SM. We've had lots of good times.

One night we made spaghetti, and it was really amazing considering the lack of ingredients. When we go to the bazaar and look for spices, often times we will inquire about certain spices which could be perceived as oregano or basil, but no the answer is that this mystery freeze-dried greenery would be good in tea. Unless Georgians/Azeris like oregano/basil tea, I'm thinking the bazaar doesn't have it.

Then today, I and my host mom with the shopping skills of my SM gathered and prepared a legit apple pie. For some reason unknownst to me, Georgia does not have molasses, and therefore does not have brown sugar. When I told my host mom about brown sugar she wondered if it was cocoa powder added to it, but as a substitute, I used really thick preserves added butter and sugar and then cooked it on low heat on the stove top to try and get a somewhat warm flavor. Next time I make it, I believe I will add slightly more sugar. The below picture is the fruit (pun intended) of our labor. Because this part of the world also does not have the pie pan in wide circulation, I used this pan and was short on dough and apples, but it still came out well.

Also, I'm starting to feel more comfortable with cooking because the means and availability of products and preparation methods are so vastly different. For example, most stoves are gas, some ovens are gas (no temperature regulation really) and then for those stoves that do have temperature regulation, degrees are in celsius. Then, when explaining all of this to my host mom, she doesn't know the cups/tbspns measuring, and instead knows the grams, mL, L and the like. So for solid recipes, I've had to translate ingredients and convert measurements for purchase. So far so good though, I'll of course let you know when I make a horrible mistake or miscommunicate.

Also! I got my World Wise School (WWS) Program contact information. WWS is where you can correspond with a teacher and classroom in the states to fulfill one of the mission objectives of Peace Corps: to educate and inform American people on a foreign culture, or something to that effect. And I'm pretty sure it was complete coincidence, because I had no preference and my home of record is in Tampa, but my WWS teacher is in Tallahassee!! I'm so excited to correspond with her and her class, 19 fifth graders.

Then one weekend I went to Tbilisi for one of the volunteers birthdays! It was crazy and fun. It seems that a ton of volunteers are fall babies, so many travellings ahead. My SM's birthday is on the 22nd of October, mine on the 26th and so we were planning on doing something the weekend between, and I want to for sure, but I'm not sure about the popular consensus, because Tbilisoba is that weekend between. Speaking of which, if you are in Georgia you are invited to whatever celebration will be. My SM's belief is that birthdays are just another day, but not so much for me. I think they are a huge deal, even though sometimes I'm really bad about remembering them. Also most Georgian holidays end in -oba (day of). So Tbilisoba is the Day of Tbilisi. It's a day where there is a massive festival on the street with food and concerts. I'm interested to see what it's like, but if it's not fun I almost don't want to risk having a bad time the days before my birthday. The reason why I have doubts about it, is because I've talked to a lot of Georgians, and the reviews I have gotten about it is that it's a loud, crowded, crazy boozefest. But maybe it's like how some Americans view Mardi Gras or something? I don't know. We'll see how it all pans out.

This is the birthday boy sporting his designer shirt featured from the 2009 Lauren Host Family collection:

My host family wanted to see pictures of them I had taken on my computer, but I hadn't at that point in time put them on my computer, and they were disappointed, because they want all you guys to know who they are! :) I told them that I was lazy.
This is my host dad and the two young boys are my host brothers. The other guy is a good friend and neighbor.

This is me and my host mom! :)

On the health front, my back was hurting pretty bad today when I woke up and throughout today, and then my asthma is flaring up really bad. I'm most likely going to Tbilisi on Monday or Tuesday to get an allergy/asthma diagnosis. I just want to be healthy!! I think in the States I was less conscious about my health in terms of illness perception, but here with time on my hands and developing language skills I place my mental energy on that concern. On a positive note, because of all the coughing I've been doing from the asthma, I think my abs are getting a lot stronger!

Also, I've begun learning Georgian dance! I am currently learning Acharuli (if you want to look it up on youtube, it's there) and am going to perform with my SM's host sister next spring for her graduation. I'm teaching her Ballroom dance, and she's teaching me Georgian dance! :D

Anyways I'm stoked, things are going well. I can't believe how fast time is flying by! Also, I will be writing a note on Facebook about an interesting event which occurred for our security meeting from October 1st!

Also, a shout out to my real dad, whose birthday was yesterday!

Love you all!

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