Sunday, October 18, 2009

Welcome to my food-centric sitcom!

As the crackling sounds of hot pans of frying oil caress my ears, I am writing to you. I am starting to entertain the idea myself of having some sort of fry in the near future. I definitely want to incorporate hush puppies and ranch into it. I just returned from a very exciting weekend in Lagodekhi! I had a great time, spent time with volunteers and enjoyed the nature in Kakheti. Lagodekhi is famous for its hiking. We went for a hike up into the mountains where there was a beautiful waterfall. The temperature was about 70 degrees, the water about 50, as we are inclined to believe some of the water was ice melt from the snow we had in the northern regions during the cold snap a while back. It was sunny and me and my SM decided to take a dip. It was freezing! But all in all a good time. It also seems I am a spaghetti sauce master when it comes to having limited ingredients because that night we made spaghetti. I directed sauce production and Heather directed the garlic bread.

Also, an amazing feature of the weekend was transportation. Ben and I got a taxi from Tbilisi to Lagodekhi for 10 lari each there, and 8 lari on the way back! That btw is what we might call a "steal" because it is the same cost to take a ride on a cramped, hot, bumpy marshrutka.

In other news, I have been pathetically slowly reading Lord of the Flies. It's truly taking eternity to read, but I want to finish it so that I may begin my next literary adventure.

Also while in Lagodekhi, the lovely Ms. Paula directed two successful yoga classes. It was good to stretch.

Tomorrow, Asmat, our education program director, is coming out to observe me and my counterpart. The class she'll be observing is one of my tenth grade classes. I love my tenth graders. They are really bright and they make me laugh. They have an energy that is somehow lost between the tenth and eleventh grades. I did a madlib with them, and while it took a while to implement, they enjoyed it. We'll be sharing the ones they wrote tomorrow first thing in class.

Also, as I may have mentioned, I have been assigning writing assignments. I found this book of activities, puzzles, and quotes for learning creativity. This has helped me be more creative in assigning essay topics. The most interesting one so far was "my ideal school" and how they would improve their school. This is helpful for them and also for me, to get a better idea of what potential secondary projects I can work on. Of course, the limitation is the range of vocabulary, but the essays were so interesting! They take a while to grade, but it's enjoyable for me. It also makes me feel like I'm more of a teacher, especially since I'm not yet planning classes on a regular. My CP missed our session on Friday, due to babysitter problems, so she brought her son, and he is so cute I wanted to steal him. My CP had bought him an English book to study and he was drawing on the pages quietly and well-behaved during class with those big beautiful green eyes of his. One thing Dr. Marina had said while we were in the allergy clinic was, "Under the assumption that children are innocent, why do they get sick?" My response was that we have to suffer somewhat on earth so that we may gain appreciation for paradise. Would you agree or disagree with the notion that, in order to bring balance and happiness to your life on earth prematurely that you must suffer more than those who don't try given the difficulty of relieving this suffering? Food for thought. Not sure if it makes sense and not sure where it came from...

So there was the potential tonight for me to hang with my SM, but I was just tired, and its so good I didn't because as I arrived home, I was informed it was my host brother's birthday! I would have never been able to live that down had I missed it.

I was riding in the taxi back to Tbilisi today, looking out the window and felt a sense of nostalgia for a culture I'm not originally apart of. When I'm usually on vacation, I make the most of every moment, and my fear is that I will lose touch of utilizing every moment. Before we know it, this point in our lives will have passed us by.

One quote I love by Mark Strand, and one that has been a mantra of sorts the past two weeks is, "Each moment is a place you've never been."

Every week here has been completely different and new. This week I'm starting Russian tutoring which will recur every Tuesday and Wednesday which complements my Monday and Friday Georgian lessons. Where is this "free" time I heard so much about? I think also perhaps my tendency to overindulge on time could be affecting this, but at the very least I can't look back and say I regret losing or wasting any moment.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

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