Well ladies and gents, it has definitely been an epic fail for blog postings as far as November is concerned at this point in time. I apologize about the let down. We had a conference all week last week, and then the first trimester is wrapping up, so I have been grading tests and papers non-stop. As far as my job looks so far, it doesn't seem as though I'll be changing my counterpart. I put a lot of stress on her, so she said she wants to drop some of the classes that she doesn't teach with me. My guess is that she has been focusing all of her energy on our classes and feels lost or drained in the other classes. I wonder how those are going. But, as much as I've been advised to change from her, I'm going to try another trimester and see if I can get some more work done. Once she gets used to planning, I need to get her up-to-par on grading, because it's killing me. I budget around 10-15 hours a week just in grading, and I only teach 15 hours. Then I have 3 hours for planning as well. I hope the students are getting a lot out of it too.
So we had our conference in Bazaleti, which is a popular tourist location in the summer time, but was cold and windy this whole past week. Our room was facing on the lake, so we got all of the winds, which made it sound like our room was haunted. It was moaning the whole time, and not in a good way. Then by the time we left, there was even some snow/ice on some of the mountain tops. It's official! Winter is upon us.
So this past week, we did 2 days of intensive language and 2 days of safety and security. The language sessions for me were 1/2 in Georgian and 1/2 in Russian. The Russian teacher was so much better than our Russian teacher for PST, but draining due to all of the grammar review. Teo, our language and cross culture coordinator, newly returned from maternity leave, was also absent this past week due to what I heard was a death in the family. She organized a lot of the event, and is a pro at her craft. I have only talked to her over the phone so at this point in time, she is a phantasm. The security and such was fun, and then on Friday I led, among some other volunteers, a concurrent session on making American cuisine in Georgia. I felt that it was good, but could have been better, but I'll take the better elements of it with me and consider the bad worth a grain of salt or maybe powdered sugar would be better since its smaller.
On Friday night, we had a Thanksgiving dinner. Many volunteers made dishes or helped with the preparation. I made a last minute savory-spicy pumpkin soup, which was pretty good! It was great to preserve another American tradition.
I stayed overnight in Tbilisi last night and went for some McDonald's today and now I'm back with the host family. So as I was coming home, I smelled this awful chemical smell in the stairwell. I figured my host mom was just doing a deep clean. Apparently, the day before yesterday, there was a legit out of control fire in the apartment right underneath ours, hence the small. To quote my host mom, "I lost my mind." I am so glad I didn't lose all of my things in the fire. That would probably have prompted an ET... I can't imagine trying to replace all of clothes. I would have been left with only a week's worth of clothes. If it happens, I would have considered it was meant to be. They don't know what caused the fire. My host mom thinks it was an unattended cigarette. Due to the chemical smell, I feel like it might have been some form of a chemical/electrical fire, but I'm no firefighter.
So I'm in my room, wrapped up tightly in my sleeping bag. My host family finally gave in to the cold and busted out the heater. It's in the living room, so it doesn't exactly heat my room, but I will try and stay warm.
Tomorrow is Giorgoba, or the holiday for St. George. My host mom's sister-in-law asked me if I was familiar with the holiday, and I said yes. She didn't believe me. Apparently, I'm not only a satanist, but a liar too. I'm most of the time willing to admit when I don't know something, but when someone tells me I don't know, it immediately shuts me down socially and I become hostile and/or uninteresting. So at that point in time, I decided to unpack my things.
So to give you more information on Giorgoba. It's a very important holiday, especially in Georgia. St. George is the patron saint of Georgia, hence the name of the country in English. Giorgi/George is an extremely popular name. So on this holiday, there is a massive religious ceremony, for those that are religious, and supra to follow. You also celebrate anyone named Giorgi. So my host dad's name is Giorgi and so is my new friend. I feel so much more of a connection with my new friend, so I think I will celebrate with him. My family is going to the village tomorrow, featuring the woman who called me a liar. They also kill a sheep and boil it, and this is a tradition. They only boil it. So when I told my friend, he said jokingly it's very bad, but later not to worry, they will not let me go hungry. He is a great guy.
A really good outcome of the week's events was being able to meet the new US Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass. He is really down to earth, loves PCV's and wants to come visit each of us in our sites in the coming 2 years.
Also, we did further divy'ing up of committees. As you may have read, I was in PST elected to the TEFL position on the VAC (Volunteer Advisory Council) but also was selected as an alternate representative for the WID/GAD committee (Women and Gender in Development). I really wanted to be on a committee that has a direct impact on the community and am very excited!
So, our school has only one more week, and then a week off, which I have some plans, but they just need to get finalized by Peace Corps!