Today (Thursday) was one of those days, like most things in Georgia, its a life of contrasts. From new architecture to old decrepid looking buildings, buildings that look scruffy on the outside, but are palacial inside, mundane experiences and crazy experiences. Pretty much how everyday in Georgia feels, no two days are the same, and this is particularly the case when you add Georgian spontaneity to the mix.
So, I was all ready to go to school, but for some reason the driver never came, and when he did arrive it was a bit late to be going to school. I called to let them know, and it was all ok. So, I had a day at home instead, fell asleep about 11am and woke up at 3pm…oops!! As I have learnt with Georgian families, its normal to go to bed after midnight, around 3 or 4am, so you kind of get used to late nights and impromptu naps. Again….Georgian spontaneity!! Guests often pop by after 10pm, and by the time you chat and drink coffee, its early in the morning.
Sometime during my rather long ‘nap’, something crazy happened to my computer, not really a surprise as I have been expecting it since December. The cable melted! So, I ended up visiting the mac store in Tbilisi in the evening, and was horrified to discover that a new cable would cost me 260GEL (the exchange rate today is 2.64 GEL to the GBP today, just to give you an idea!). When I asked in the same shop in January, they told me 130GEL, but apparently they no longer sell that one, and they only have this one now. That basically amounts to over half of my monthly salary! So, I couldn’t buy one, which really makes school difficult. Luckily, I have some internet access still, asNona has kindly let me use her office computer, but the keyboard is in Russian, so its quite tricky forming words andsentences as I don’t recognise the keys and am not a touch typer.
Luckily, my grandmother in the UK put some money into my Georgian account about 3 weeks ago, to help me with the deposit for a flat. But, this money hasbeen sat with Liberty Bank for the past three weeks, and when I called, they told me I have to go to Didube to a branch there and sign a form to give permission for them to change this from GBP into GEL. Which is pretty ridiculous given that my granny had to pay an extortionate fee for someone in an office to press a button to transfer this electronically already. No one called to tell me about this form, andfirst of all they said it must have gone into the wrong account, which I knew it hadn’t and asked them to check their files. Its just a good job that I don’tlive in the village anymore, because the branch is somewhere I have never been to, I have no idea how to get there, and my Georgian is pretty rubbish, so translating and explaining is a little tricky. But my hope is that I can use this money to fund a new charger for the laptop……??? Anyway, it was all pretty unsucesful, but I did manage to treat myself to a McFlurry in McDonalds on my way home!
We had visitors when I arrived home, and they stayed until pretty late. I love talking with Georgians and finding out more about their beliefs and ideas. These two were especially lovely, and I was really curious to hear that it was their dream to have their parents and in-laws live with them. This is a typical Georgian attitude, and is so different from the UK,where we generally hate mother inlaws, and can’t even stand them at Christmas! But its also a really nice thing, and certainly great for sharing child care duties. It was a lovely evening, and it was nice to drink black tea with home grown honey, and I also discovered that Populi (rather like the chain of shops called Spa in the UK) make a cake, which costs about 5GEL, but is fairly decent by Georgian standards. I say by Georgian standards because no where makes cakes as nice as Latvia! After living in the village, food really plays a big role in my life, and GEorgian food can seem a little bland after my western upbringing. I constantly crave nutrients and flavours, and get really excited when fruit and veg come into season.
On the subject of food, I finally found one Georgian food that actually tastes really nice, but I think is sadly seasonal. It is called ‘tkbili plavi gograshi’. I think it is basically pumpkin, and inside the pumpkin is rice, apricots, oranges, and walnuts. Its really tasty.
Today was also a really exciting day for me, because I took my first 4 bookings for my tours around Georgia, and have also seen the first clips from Nikoloz’s new film, which is currently under production. Looks great so far.