“Sighnaghoba” in Sighnaghi

Taken from the Ministry of Education and Science website: http://www.mes.gov.ge/content.php?id=1675&lang=eng

“27.11.2010

Around 100 English language teachers who have arrived in Georgia in the scope of the program Teach And Learn With Georgia, attended “Sighnaghoba” in Sighnaghi.

Foreign Teachers got familiarized with Georgian traditions and tasted Georgian cuisine. Deputy Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Nodar Surguladze celebrated the day along with volunteers.

Foreign teachers from different countries visited all sites of the city of love and attended the concert held in the center of the city as well. They participated in making Georgian sweets and drinks.

Volunteer teachers who have arrived from the USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and different European countries are permanently familiarized with Georgian traditions. Another group of English language teachers will be distributed in Kakheti region”.

Ok, so bare with me here as I’m new to all this blogging malarcky, so I hope I manage to post this OK.  I had an amazing weekend and it was great to catch up with everyone and to eat proper food again (I even include Mcdonalds in this statement!).  For those of you who don’t know, my stomach was starting to have major issues with Georgian food, which in my house seems to consist mainly of fried potatoes and khajapurit!! Khajapurit is basically bread (like a nan bread but not as sweet) and is filled with our homemade cheese.

My host family consists of my mum (aged 36), my dad (aged 40), little sister (aged 8 as of last week), older sister (aged 16), brother (aged 14), and grandma (of unknown age!).  They are really lovely and we are relatively well off as my mum has a really good job, but we are not rich by any means.  My dad is a sports teacher but teachers don’t get paid much here, and many have to undertake private tuition to subsidise their earnings. I’ve been in Georgia since around the 29th October 2010 but it seems like longer, and I feel as if I have lived in this family for all of my life.

I actually really missed my family over the weekend when I was away and I now can’t imagine leaving them at the end of June! Today my host mum, who is a year older than myself, asked seriously whether she could adopt me, so I feel really lucky that I have such an amazing host family.

So much to catch up on, so I think its going to take me a while to get into blogging properly, but I will start with the weekend.

The Ministry of Education and Science organised a trip for us to the “City of Love” and to a special celebration called “sighnaghoba” which marks harvest time.  It was a great opportunity to see some Georgian costumes, dance, and singing.  What strikes me most about the boys in Georgia is that they love to dance, which is a stark contrast to boys in the UK who rarely dance (unless they are drunk or under duress), and are embarrassed to admit it.  It isn’t often that you meet a guy who can actually dance well in the UK, and if they can they are often thought to be gay.

I remember in my first week with my family here, that I asked my brother if he liked dancing, and I was shocked when he said he did and that he also took classes in Akhaltiskhe, but sadly could no longer take classes because of time and money.  He was actually really upset that he could no longer dance, and I was a bit taken aback.  My brother told me that a boy could not be considered a man until he could dance properly.

Watching the dancers at Sighnaghi, I remembered what Lasha had said, and I realised how true this was for Georgian boys.  They looked so proud dancing and looked very manly as they wooed their ladies through dance.  sadly I couldn’t get near enough to take any good pictures, but I will try and upload some so you can see what I mean.

Whilst I was away for the weekend, my family attended a party with one of our many relatives.  The baby had just developed its first tooth, and in Georgia this is a reason to celebrate.  I didn’t attend the celebration sadly, because I was away, but I was fascinated all the same.  Everybody comes to the house, and the baby is literally showered with sweets, and sweets must pass through the baby’s hands.  There is also a cake which the baby gets to try.  I’ve noticed that teeth in Vale are awful and so many of my students have black teeth, no teeth, or teeth with holes, and I have been curious as to why teeth are in such a bad way here.  Teeth do not seem to be so bad in other areas of Georgia, but here in the mountains they are awful.

I know that sugar is a big part of the diet, but I wonder whether this was always the case, or whether diet and genetics, or tooth hygiene also play a role?  I know there are dentists around as our cousin is training to be one, yet my host dad currently has a really bad tooth with a massive hole, and was up for most of the night in pain.  Yet, he never goes to see a dentist, even though we have a dentist in the family.  I think we are one of the only families in Vale that don’t regularly eat sweets, but I know that I am now eating more sweet things than ever before, particularly as a substitute to my Georgian diet which is very bland and repetitive.

Well, I can’t write anymore for now as I have to prepare my school work for tomorrow and I want to make sure that my post works too, so sleep well and I will write more soon.

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About Sarah Rows Solo

British YouTuber and Founder of Environmental and STEM education charity Oceans Project, preparing for a solo row around the coast of Great Britain.
This entry was posted in Georgian Life, TLG (Teach and Learn in Georgia), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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