Tim in Georgia

This is a blog to chronicle my experiences in the Republic of Georgia as a Peace Corps TEFL volunteer. *The views expressed herein are mine and are not necessarily those of the Peace Corps or the US Government.*

25 June 2006


My town and its environs:

Second of all, a sign that American culture is invading my beatiful, unadulterated Sakartvelo. Why they even make a shirt like this in such a small size I have no idea.

A very nice tualeti. My one at home is pretty much dirt/concrete with a dark (but, thankfully, deep) hole in the ground.

Me at the edge of my town. The scenery is awesome everywhere.

The local church:

Look forward to a more verbose and entertaining entry next weekend, as that's the next time I'll be near a computer.


23 June 2006

Georgia on My Mind and Body


Not just an Oscar-winning film, Philadelphia is also home to real-life events. Like PC Staging, for example. I got in on Monday afternoon, 12 June (I think) and got picked up from the airport by Katie. (And…my grammar leaves much to be desired. But don’t worry; the Georgians will think it’s perfect. Mainly because I will tell them that it is.) The wads of cash mentioned earlier fruition-ed just as I hoped they would. The money went a long way towards not only the copious amounts of food and drink that I consumed while in Philly, but also for the (mostly) obscene prices I paid for the privilege to do so. But the Mexican place was good, and apparently Mexican food is not popular in Georgia. I, at least, have not encountered it in the first week or so that I have spent in-country. You like that PC slang I’m throwing out there? Yah, I thought you would. It’s groovy. At least I’m not throwing the 400ish acronyms I should have learned at you.

Speaking of groovy, I have noticed a complete lack of hippies in the Georgia group. No dreadlocks, nobody that overtly reeked of pot, and nobody from San Francisco. We do, however, possess half the population of North Dakota, as one of the married couples has come from there. And, 2 (that I know of) of the 55 even voted for Bush. But they are both from the South, so we know that their vote was just a result of the having too many gay marriages in that part of the country.


Vienna was awesome, thanks for asking. Maybe some of you did actually ask, but I’m typing this from various locations along the ol’ dusty trail and haven’t accessed my email in quite some time, so I’m sorry if you, in a Dan Quayle-esque moment, expected an expeditious reply. Oh, and sleeping is for losers. No day hotel equaled an extra 55 euro plus seeing more of the city, and I don’t regret not sleeping (or being forced to bathe in the airport bathroom…which did not have a shower, as you might have guessed). If I can figure out how to do it on the computers in Gori, Vienna will soon be added to my Cities collection on Webshots. The link is on the side. Oh and by the way…has anyone else ever been to St Stephens in central Vienna? What’s up with the tile mosaics on the roof? Muy feo, verdad? But the rest of the city was gorgeous, especially the old Hapsburg Palace and the Belvidere (art museum and gardens). And the market with a German name was cool too. Somethingstacht. Post a comment if you know the correct name. Maybe you’ll win a PanAm Award.

I even use super-cool Peace Corps humor now too. While definitely an improvement over my drier-than-the-Sahara fare, you probably still don’t think this is actually funny. But it is.

Tabakhmela / T'bilisi

We got into T’bilisi at 4am. I had last been asleep at 6:30am two days prior. It was awesome. After collecting a cool new stamp on my brand spanking new Peace Corps passport, we boarded a bus bound for Tabakhmela, a village about 10 miles from T’bilisi as the crow flies, but about an hour away. Make that about an hour up, as in straight up the hill. Awesome views of the city, though. After moving into my room with Patrick and Seth (maybe I’ll post some pictures of the room. But then again, maybe not.) I toured the compound (it was walled) and then finally caught up on a few hours of sleep.

Oh – before I forget, I have a cell phone now. Texting is ridiculously cheap, but I likely can’t call you due to that being not-so-cheap. You’re welcome to call me, though. That’s free. I guess email me for the number. I would just start sending some out, but I lost my hand-made, last-minute phonebook. Bodishi and lo siento.

About ten of us stayed up until 130am in Tabakhmela to watch USA vs. Italy. Was there outrage in the USA (if such a thing can exist regarding soccer at home) about the inequality of the red cards? Ridiculous. Ok, done with that. And I’m not sure what has happened in the World Cup since that game ended. Someone let me know, please. I can’t read the newspapers (yet).


So I’m in Sveneti now. It’s 2km outside of Gori, which is a large town (one of the five largest towns/cities in Georgia, actually). It’s in the center of the country, pretty much. My host family is awesome. There is the mom, the dad, the grandma, the son, two daughters, two cows (oops, was that a comma and not a slash? My bad. Maybe.), a dog, and a roost of birds of an unknown type.

Also of note: I saw a woman walking her pig as other people would their dog. The existence of a leash is still unconfirmed. And, shepherds wear suits (complete with jackets) while shepherding. Just thought you might like to know. Furthermore, ketchup here is nuclear-glow orange. So if I come back with the cancer, that might be why.

Living without air conditioning here in Sveneti (and in Tabakhmela too, for that matter) is actually really cool. Wow, sorry about that one. But really, doors and windows are always open, there is a breeze, and it’s generally very comfortable despite the temperature outside, which has approached 90 (F).

I (finally) finished going through my PC health manual. AND, we had an hour-long session today exclusively about diarrhea. Did you know that diarrhea comes in different forms, ranging from casual to chronic? And, a feeling of general apprehension is a sign of rabies. Not to make you paranoid or anything. The health manual is a good 150+ pages and a very entertaining read. So far though, all is going well mind and body wise, despite the diarrhea presentation (complete with testimonials) that I sat through a few hours ago.

Madloba for reading the whole thing. Droebit.

The pictures I am trying to upload dont seem to be working. Check your email or maybe my webshots, maybe that will work better.


12 June 2006

I'm Leavin...on a Jet Plane

My plane leaves for staging in ten hours. I will likely sleep for very little of this time as I finish tying up loose ends here at home. But...I am done packing! I succeeded in only requiring one bag and a backpack (in addition to my laptop, which I am carrying on because I don't trust the luggage handlers). Also, those vaccuum bags for shrinking down clothes are amazing. Here's a picture, with half of my 17 foot long dog sitting next to my luggage.

After a fiasco involving the owners being in Moscow the night that I previously wanted to go to T'bilisi (the Georgian restaurant mentioned in my previous post), the indulgence was postponed until tonight's dinner. My family joined me in this culinary excursion, which was generally agreed to be successful. We had some khachapuri as an appetizer and then I had chalakhash, which is something very much like a pork shish-kabob.

Quick update: I no longer have a cell phone, so don't call it. If you want to reach me in Philadelphia, call Katie, I'm staying at her place on Monday night. Good times ahead (and behind, too).

Well, I guess it's time for the adventure to begin. Goodbye from Illinois.


07 June 2006

Less than a Week

So I leave for staging in 6 days. I have not begun to pack. But, I am mentally prepared to go, so I got that going for me. And, I don't need to purchase many more things before leaving. Also, I have these cool vaccuum bags to condense my clothes. Therefore, I have a new goal: to check only one bag, and then carry-on a backpack or something. This sounds like a realistic goal, but we'll see.

I'm going to a Georgian restaurant with Corinne tomorrow. T'bilisi, on the near north side, is listed in Roger Rosen's book as one of the top Georgian restaurants in the country. It might not have much competition, but I'm still really looking forward to it.

Apparently I cannot defer my student loans until November, even though I am no longer a student. This is slightly distressing, since I will be leaving the country next week and presumably won't be able to deal with it from there. But, I heard that we do something to this end at staging, and I have all the necessary forms, so hopefully things will fall into place. They usually seem to - but they wait until the absolute last possible moment before doing so. Oh well, them's the breaks.

I didn't notice this before, but apparently I get wads of cash as a per diem while I'm in Philly and then again in T'bilisi. For example, I will pocket over half a benjamin for "arrival." Since Katie is picking me up and I have no intention of paying her, this will be great. I guess some of Monday night's festivities are on me then (or, more accurately, on the government's buck. Sweet, sweet government excess. But really, it's better than that bridge to the uninhabited island in Alaska. At least an actual PERSON is benefitting from this. Multiple people, actually. Nobody turns down a cheaper party.). Additionally, I receive some sum requiring multiple 2-digit bills each day for meals and incidentals. I have not eaten this well since...well...never. I may incidentally be repaying my student loans with this money, since it will likely be enough to cover a payment or two. Or maybe I'll eat a lot of food. I think that's all for now. I hope to post once more before I leave, if I can find some time.


02 June 2006


This post is mainly a test to see how easy it is for me to post images on the site. Here goes:

Ok, seems simple enough.

I don't really have any other developments to report, other than I've made three trips to the dentist since I've been home from school in an attempt to have them take the correct kind of x-ray. I think my efforts have finally met with success. So, I should (finally) be receiving my dental clearance soon. Hopefully tomorrow, since I sent it out FedEx overnight on Wednesday. A more detailed entry will likely be added at that time.