It would be fair to say, that life could not be sweeter than it is right now. Not, that life has been void of challenges or tricky situations, but I seem to be in a position where I am better able to deal with these right now. There is a certain maturity that comes with being friends with and working or associating with Georgian people. That relationships have a more fluid feel about them, and are far less complex than relationships with Brits or even Americans. There is an unwritten understanding that you will go through good and bad patches and that it is all a part of that relationship, as opposed to the British way of all or nothing, and once you fall out, its pure hatred from then on. I guess it comes from Georgia being a relatively small country, around 3.4 million people unofficially and 4 million people officially compared to 9 million people living just in London. Everybody knows everybody, many people have relatives, or know someone who knows someone, who has a neighbour. This makes it almost impossible to avoid people if you fall out with them, and rumours can easily spread around the country, so remaining friends is pretty essential for a quiet life.
The past two weeks, I really feel that my relationships have reached a new level of understanding and there is starting to be a sense of future now, of making plans and looking ahead, especially now I am firm in my desire to remain in Georgia forever (or at least that it how I feel for now!). Others have realised that I am serious when I say this, and it is especially true of my relationships with others at school, and with the children. This has really made life easier, and I finally feel that I am a part of something, of a community, and am now a functioning part of that machine.
I have an amazing balance right now, and it was a surprise to realise yesterday that I am no longer home sick or pining for anything from my pre Georgian life, or from Britain, and I actually feel pretty complete and settled for probably the first time in my life. I am really busy, but equally feel very relaxed about what I am doing and feel that I have sufficient time to rest and relax too. It’s the perfect balance right now, and I hope it continues to be this way.
I have school Monday to Friday, I am doing my travel work, writing my travel book, and now also have four new and amazing adult students who all wish to learn conversational English. I love teaching them, and I almost feel bad for gaining more from the relationships with them than I am giving, as I am also learning more about Georgia from them, about Georgian culture, language, and life. It hardly seems fair really, but I have no complaints in the slightest.
Its really strange to keep a blog, and I sometimes find myself questioning whether I should even keep a blog? But, I love to read things retrospectively and to see how things have changed or how I have adapted to my new life. I am surprised by the number of hits I have received so far, especially when I just write a load of dribble really. But it feels a little like writing a diary, but forgetting that anyone can read it! And it is also strange to still sensor what you write, and to be so open about emotions and things, but I also hope that my readers will understand and appreciate my experiences here a little more too, as it is difficult to put these across most of the time.
I know that the Minister reads my blog, as do a lot of my students and friends and family, but today I discovered that the Ministry also has its own blog, and I have now linked my blog to theirs! Its always a little daunting to bare ones soul so publicly, but likewise I have nothing to hide, and if my experiences help just one person, then it is all worth it.
I haven’t really spoken much about school for a while, which is surprising given that the kids play an integral part in my daily life. I am so in love with my school now that I even surprise myself at times. I am still greeted with hugs and nods as I enter the building every day, and I am still in receipt of flowers, cards, and a lot of homework to mark on a daily basis! I remember my business studies teacher Mrs Reynolds at school, telling me that the best way to get your own back on a teacher you hate, is to give them a load of homework to mark, because its an easy way to ruin their weekend! So, I guess this means my students REALLY, REALLY hate me☺. I always remember her wise words, and how cool she was as a teacher, and its funny to find myself saying the same thing to my kids now!! She was and still remains a firm rock in my life, and its great to keep in touch with her, even now. I still find myself contacting her for advice on issues, and feel privileged to have had her as a teacher. I don’t know whether she reads my blog or not, but I want to give her a special mention here, for being one of the most influential and inspirational people in my early and later life. She always seemed to believe in me, even when no other teacher did, and I think that belief I carried with me through school and even now into adulthood. I just hope I can do even half of the job that she did for her kids at school. Thankyou Mrs Reynolds, from the bottom of my heart xxx
Today, I had two amazing experiences in class with my film project groups. There is one boy, who never speaks or interacts with anyone. He comes from a large family, and I was told that he cannot read English. Yet, he has always seemed to pay attention to my lessons, and I always hoped that if I didn’t pressure him, that he would one day join in. That is exactly what he did today, just when I was not expecting it! He read the most difficult bit of the text we were working on, and even though he could barely read in English, he was not afraid of making a mistake, and the other kids in class did not laugh at him, but actually helped him! It was a massive breakthrough for me, and made ever single ounce of effort I have put in since January, so totally worth while.
Secondly, a boy who was quiet and always bullied in the corridor when I came in January, was today one of the coolest kids in class, surrounded by buddies, and making little jokes. He no longer sits on his own, and is smiling and much more confident, in his whole posture, body language, and efforts at school. Today was certainly the day of uexpectedness, and of children who were previously struggling and too shy to contribute in class, actually being some of the noisiest participators today. It really did make everything so worth while, and was really energising.
I really, really hope that I can spend at least one more year at the school, and to undertake another project with the children and my co-teachers. It will be amazing to see how the students develop as young people and into adults and future safe keepers of Georgia.