Playas and Pimps,
Coming at you live from Marneuli, it's the Jefferson Show! So while we were given cross-cultural training on keeping our conversation topics and behaviors culturally sensitive, I never imagined that some HCNs (Host Country Nationals) would do a few other faux pas' as far as I'm concerned. So this week at school, one lady flat out sad that Protestantism is a product of Satan. Hello, my name is Jefferson and I'm a Satanist. I send my best wishes to the underworld. Then, another teacher, as I was grading papers picks them up and starts shuffling through them looking for her son's grade. She didn't really ask if it was okay, but maybe she thought I just don't have the language skills. Unfortunately, she was disappointed that I had not yet graded it yet.
Most of the teachers at my school really like me, and I love them. They are kind, but you have to take the good with the bad. There was another teacher who was talking to another teacher shot off that the previous volunteer was better. Some view me as a nice smiling, happy person, while the teachers who don't like me see me as this cruel being out to spite their children's futures. I'm sorry if your son/daughter cheated on the exam, never came to class, and didn't do any of the homework, don't expect to get a 10 (the highest grade). Kids who get 8's, 9's, and 10's get medals, a somewhat Cold War method of recognition, also used in the US. These medals are very valuable. But needless to say, I keep it real. Luckily, my director's got my back. Sorry for that little, pardon my french "bitch fest," but it should give you and idea of the past several weeks for me.
I'm freaking excited that one of my best friends of all time and her amazing parents are coming in March, I'm going to a conference next week, and then after 2 weeks, I have a solid week of vacation, which will probably involve some form of a secondary project. I seriously cannot believe how long we've been in Georgia, and also how much longer we still have to go, and all of the adventures which still have yet to take place.
I may have mentioned this, but my amazing tutor gave me a series of volumes of poetry by Sergei Esenin, one of her favorite poets. I am going to try and translate one a day. This is the one I did last night from 1910:
"Here already is evening. The dew
is shining upon a nettle.
I stand by the road,
Which was leaning against the willow.
From the moon is a great light
Straight onto our our rooftop.
Somewhere a song of the nightingales
From far away I hear.
Well and warm,
Like in the winter by the wood-burning stove.
And the birch trees stand,
Like large candles.
And further down the river,
In view on the forest's edge,
A sleepy watchman knocks
With a dead thud."
What's interesting to me after doing research, and it reminds me a lot of Sylvia Plath, on some level. There's an element of the simple life with a presence of deadened calm, and the simple life was what Esenin became famous for. I think that I find a lot of calm in Russian, because it's not as foreign to me. It's all about where you can find sanctuary here in the good ol' GE, both physically and mentally.
I can say that I'm slightly positive above equilibrium, and I look forward to maintaining this for a few weeks. Also something that is crazy to me is the mental drive here. For example, when you go on vacation somewhere for 2 weeks, there is this crazy drive to see all the sights and soak everything up, live every moment like it's your last, and so on, and metaphorically this is like your sprint in running.
Then, I've done the study abroad thing, where the drive is a little bit less, but still there is a constant drive, knowing that someday you may never be back. This would kind of be like your 5k. Finish strong!
AND thennn, you've got Peace Corps. 2 years out of the country, out of your environment, away from your family and friends, and you are forced to learn the customs and language, and inevitably integrate those into your core. Do you get tired and quit? Or do you keep going? Where is the point along the way where you break and turn back? How many people pass out along the way? This is your marathon. Goal: to survive.
This experience is going to create, and has already, such an appreciation for a native environment and the US. To para-quote Lauren, "When I get back, I'm gonna be THAT girl. The obnoxious one who always is saying how lucky you are..."
So I'm spread out there, like unsalted butter over my community's hot frying pan. Will I enrich its flavor? Or will I burn, leaving a bad taste in your mouth as I smoke away?