Friday, September 10, 2010

A New Leaf – Turned Over

The great trip home has been accomplished. I am now sitting in my bedroom in the morning’s twilight hours waiting to greet the sun with my new roomie. He’s a really great guy. I’ll call him Wings to protect his identity. He’s really tiny, with dark leathery skin. He’s a little hairy, but quiet for most of the day. He’s been keeping me up that past couple nights with his little sounds he makes. He’s a homebody like myself, so we should get along well together.

The flight home was pretty rough. I can’t say I’ve ever been that irritable. I had a wonderful brunch at Cracker Barrel with some close friends. My friend bestowed a “silly band” upon me. Apparently, it’s a craze I missed while being in Georgia. Anyways, we were talking over brunch about screaming children on flights. I was surprised I couldn’t say I had really experienced the woes of screaming children during a flying experience… until now. It all started in London – Heathrow. I didn’t have the opportunity to get out of Terminal 1 for my six and a half hour layover there, so I had to occupy myself. I was fascinated by all the authentic English accents around me. Then, I transitioned to people watching with everyone who walked by. There were a couple of people who sat near me that were also clearly alone. I wanted to go up to them and ask them if they wanted to exchange some currency and go to a café. Sadly, I never quite built up the courage to do so.

Eventually, all the people watching and lack of sleep from Tampa kicked in. I close my eyes, leaning on my carry-on with my backpack tucked between my ankles and fall asleep. Screaming twins 1 and 2 start the ambience. I open my eyes and a pair of parents across the way are attempting to gain control over the two. Fortunately, they didn’t stay there too long. With my eyes alternating alert, they close again. A mom with two kids, one older, one younger, sit right behind me. The younger child begins to scream as though he’s being tortured. He keeps  screaming and screaming. Not wanting him to get the best of me, I try to keep sleeping. Then before I know it, he comes to the other side and stands right in front of me and screams harder than he had screamed thus far. I’m really irritated, so I get up to relocate and notice the mom is trying to sleep and is ignoring her children. The lack of attention is what prompted this whole fiasco. As a single parent, I think I just wouldn’t fly internationally unless I had a full supply of 5-hour energy, redbull, and caffeine pills.

Once my flight’s gate information pops up on the display, I trundle across the terminal to greet a full room of Georgians and a few Azeris and Internationals. It turns out to get to Tbilisi from London, we were connecting in Baku. Baku is totally on the way, so I don’t mind at all… It’s not like it would put us an additional 2 hours out of the way. So they start to board and I feel like I’m already back in Georgia. There was no line. Then, on flights you are supposed to put your carry-on in the overhead bin and your personal item under the seat. Everyone proceeds to squeeze and cram their over-sized carry-on’s of various shapes into the bins. As the flight is in progress – seat belts come off and we are birja-ing in the aisles. Screaming baby behind me starts. The mom was trying to force the toddler to stop by holding her hand over the kid’s mouth, which only encouraged him. In the moments of calm with the child, he would scream a poorly constructed ABC song… AAA-BBEEEEEE- CEEEEE- DEEEEE- UHH-LAAA – LAAA- LAAA- EXXX- Y- ZEEE- ABC’s!!!! again, and again, annnd you get the point. There were several Georgians who pretended not to understand English with the flight attendants, and then made fun of her in Georgian. Bad parenting, poor sleep quality, and just plain rudeness. Welcome back to Georgia!!

In all honesty, I was happy to get back. I’d also like to add a disclaimer that this experience doesn’t represent all of Georgia, just a few bad experiences that have turned into some pet peeves of mine and not limited to just Georgia.

So I get in a taxi to go to my friends’ house for the night. I negotiated 20 lari for the fare. During the drive, the driver asks me if I’m a spy. No, I’m a teacher… then he begins to talk about how hard the economy is in Georgia, as though I didn’t know having been there a year. Then he talks about how expensive gas is, and how high it must’ve gone since I left Georgia… Ok, buddy I see where this is going. I have him drop me off a little early so as not to get charged more. At the point he dropped me off, he got angry at the 20 lari, I gave him 5 more, and lugged my 90 pounds of luggage the rest of the way, up the hill to my friends’ house. Georgians are talking about how funny I look as I walk by but don’t offer to help.

I spent a really good time at my friends’ house. I got to meet to pretty cool PCVs from Azerbaijan to boot. It’s always good to exchange experiences. We went to a Georgian polyphonic singing practice, where I learned 2 Georgian polyphonic songs. I’m a Bani singer (or bass). It’s the easiest part as well. I love singing and loved these two songs. One was in Megrelian (a much smaller regional language in Georgia) and the other was in Georgian. Then, I get across town very easily thanks to the help of several Georgians to the marshrutka station. On the marsh back to site, I start to lose feeling in the roof of my mouth. Then my face starts to go numb, followed by my arms. This continues until I get off near my apartment. I thank the driver in Georgian, and realized I was slurring and my hearing had been affected. It turns out I had a heat stroke. SO, then I go up and rest the remainder of the day, drinking lots of water per Dr. Marina. I’m fine now, so don’t worry, it must’ve been all the strenuousness of the trip.

It turns out my landlord bought and installed a new couch/bed in my room, washed my linens, and organized everything. She is such a sweet lady! I got to hang out with my site mate that night. And since coming back, I’ve watched (in this order) Prince of Egypt, Hercules, Beauty and the Beast, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I love watching feel good Disney and fantasy movies! I’m feeling ready to knock out these last 10 months and school starts soon. I have a lot of good projects planned. You are all welcome to come stay with me here at my site. It’s not the best conditions, but good company is guaranteed. 

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely loved reading this update Jeff. Thanks for making me laugh :-) Sorry you had to experience the torturous children. It's the best birth control for me and Brandon ;-) I'm excited about following your updates now. Best of luck with everything!