Monday, March 8, 2010

The lights, satisfaction, HOLLYWOOD!

Another round of Gamarjoba's (hellos) for everyone! (my treat)

How quickly the months plan themselves! So it seems like March as is good as over! New things going on with me: HOT WATER! That's right folks, it's coming and I can (in theory) shower with an overflowing abundance of hot water whenever I want!

Today was International Women's Day, so to all of your international women out there, gilocavt (Congratulations)! Now that I have hot water, I can only pray for a refrigerator. God, if you're listening knock one down and pass it around! (just make sure it ends up with me) Somewhere between the fridge and existence lies a new summer patio, tiled and ready for some intense sun tanning.

So this weekend I made tons of American/non-Georgian food with good company. Friday started off with glazed carrots and rice. The weekend's gluttony kicked off with dessert: peanut butter cookies. The binge intensified with a breakfast of sausages, fried smoked ham, pancakes with maple syrup, fruit, juice, modified latkes and applesauce. A short period of time, then a dinner of velveeta-spicy beef and baked tortilla chips with a spinach salad, carrots and ranch. For dessert, we had chocolate fondue with bananas and cookies. Cinnamon rolls for breakfast ensued today, and beanless chili and chips for dinner. If anything, I am not hungry.

As some of my close ones are arriving from America on Saturday, I need to do laundry and spruce up the ol' apartment. The mirror my Russian tutor gave me is hung in accordance with the tenets of feng shui, and all is well. I still need a table for the purposes of a chopping surface, but other than that, all is well. My wind chimes are mighty beautiful sounding, and I have not yet positioned my bed to be in a north-south position. I'm contemplating it, and will most likely do so for summer.

The only downer in this whole situation has been the time, energy and water availability factor. I was supposed to have hot water on Saturday night, but, as they are still working out all the kinks, I still have not taken a shower, making this the longest I have ever gone in my entire life without a shower. Tomorrow marks 7 days. As long as I have water tomorrow morning, I won't hit 8 days...

In addition to good food this weekend, there was good company, and while I still need to buy a few more pieces of equipment, I am more prepared to host up to 5 people. A Batumi trip seems in order for April, and before you know it, the new volunteers will be here. There's another opportunity for Americans/Brits/Aussies/Canadians and other native Eng Speakers to volunteer in Georgia for one year and teach English: Check it out if interested.

So I saw Star Trek and all I can say is wowowowowowowowow! I really enjoyed it! Then I saw Daybreakers. Daybreakers is not exactly an award winner, but as one volunteer, Punishment, mentioned it would be much better with an appearance from Clive Owen. I missed the awards show, but hope all you Americanos who watched it, enjoyed it.

Annnd, just as I thought spring was upon us, I'm back in my ski jacket around the house. Yep. A cold front swung in. My volunteer, Fiance, mentioned it was snowing in her village! Well, by the end of March this cold business will be done.

Also, I found out I will have free time in Kiev to explore during the four days of training soon, so let me know for sure if you'll be there/are there now!

PS- I found my Russian-English Dictionary. It was underneath my bed. Was I studying one night? It's old and falling apart, but is way more useful than not having one at all. My tutoring sessions last week were all without it!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You'll miss your train, and come stay with me...

I need to get better about not taking hiatuses (plural also just hiatus, but sounds strange) from my writing. So many great things have happened since we last spoke. Where shall I begin? So due to extreme winds, the wind chimes had to come down. It was bad enough I thought the scrap metal that's holding my balcony together was going to detach and fly through my window, but the wind chimes banging against my window gave an extra layer of creepiness while trying to sleep. It reminded me of being on the urban scene of something reminiscent of the chainsaw massacre. They'll go up again soon. The wind apparently is really strong during that period of time every year! A couple people in Tbilisi actually (I heard through the grapevine) were killed from fallen trees or debris flying around during the intense wind. Brother Wind is good for drying clothes, but bad for pedestrian activity.

In other news, I saw Avatar! Despite some of the bad/critical reviews, I really enjoyed it. No, I did not have the luxury of seeing it in 3D or on the big screen, but it was really good: so good, in fact, I've already watched it twice this week. Other movies on my soon-to-watch list include: Interview with a Vampire, Daybreakers, Star Trek (the new one), and Sherlock Holmes.

The ground here is starting to solidify, and running at the stadium seems as though somewhat realistic in the near future. I need to talk to my landlord about her installing hot water. It's rough living without it and only a small pot. Yes, I know I could buy another one. As my Russian tutor says, "You are the one who punishes yourself." It's all about priorities, and right now there are a ton of initiatives under way. First, our school got the grant for the computer, projector, projector screen, and internet access project I submitted in the beginning of February! It will be amazing, so I need to start the IT teacher training for that. Then, two days ago, I met with the "School-Family-Society" Association for a partnership for projects regarding professional development with teachers in Georgia! It was an extremely productive first meeting where I may (time depending) go to an International Education Conference at Batumi University in May. Also, I was selected as a Pre-Departure Orientation Teacher by FLEX/American Councils to teach students in Georgia going to the US about American culture!! I'm very excited for this as well. It will mostly be a long weekend involvement in June and July, with planning on weekends in-between and a training of trainers in late March in Ukraine. SO, if any of ya'll folks will be in Ukraine during those 4 days, let me know. They said there will be no time to conduct business or site-see, but you never know what could be!

Other projects? Well, I will be missing the Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC) meeting and the Project Design Management (PDM) conference due to the FLEX/Am. Councils training. I will make up the PDM for one day sometime in April. English club will continue as planned; I'm still writing with my 5th graders and teacher in Tallahassee; I need to work on the resource database for the WID/GAD (Women in Development/Gender and Development) committee. I definitely would say there is not ample free time, as I still have 4 language lessons/wk and 16 hours of teaching plus planning time. When am I going to study for the GMAT? I would like to set aside at least 1-2 hours/wk for that (minimum). I almost forgot! I'm also leading the team building initiative for volunteers as well, and unless I'm forgetting something, that's everything I'm doing.

As the new invitees may have heard, our first Volunteer Reporting Form (VRF) is due. It's basically a concrete summary of everything we've been doing the past 6 months. It's usually due every 3 months or so, but you aren't really supposed to do anything but adjust to your community during the first three months.

In all of this craziness, I've been able to maintain my sanity, stay positive, motivated, and I've been continuing to read for fun! Unfortunately, I started 3 books, so I need to power through some of them. Flap, one of the volunteers, started up a book club initiative. The first book they'll be reading is "3 Cups of Tea." I don't own it, but supposedly there are several copies. I don't know when we'll meet for that or how I'll be able to read it in a quick period of time, but if the desire is there, anything is possible.

One of the most positive things, is that I've never in my life been at this level of business with such a calm peace of mind. Alright cool cats, I'm off to start a productive day!