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.*

09 May 2007

Toga! Toga! Toga!

I recently went to a toga party in Kutaisi to celebrate some volunteers' birthdays. It was a good time. But, preparations for the party were quite an experience.

First, I tried to explain the concept of a toga to my host family. This did not happen really.

This conversation took place in Georgian. I have recounted it to the best of my abilities, so you can gauge my lack of Georgian fluency by the strange circumlocutions I'm forced to make.

Tim: Do you know what the ancient Romans were wearing?
Host mother: No
Tim: Well, it looks like a dress.
Host mother: You want to wear a dress?
Tim: No. Actually, yes. But it isn't a true dress. (The ironic fact that "true" in Georgian can also be translated as "straight" did not escape me.) I want to wear what the Romans were wearing to a party this weekend. A birthday party.
Host mother: You want to wear a dress to a birthday party?
Tim: No. It's not a dress. It's a toga. Do you know the word toga?
Host mother: No. We don't have that word in Georgian.
Tim: Hmm. What were the Romans wearing?
Host mother: I don't know. Dresses?
Tim: No, they aren't dresses. Men also were wearing them.
Host mother: Tim, men do not wear dresses.
Tim: Yes. But I am going to a toga party this weekend. I take the sheets from my bed.
Host mother: Where will you be staying?
Tim: At my friend's apartment.
Host mother: Why do you need sheets? Is there enough room?
Tim: Yes, there is enough room. The sheets is for me. I am wearing it.
Host mother: I don't understand.
Tim: I can't say what I want to say in Georgian. I am going to a birthday party, I will be back on Sunday.

I did not take my sheets because I did not want my family to think I was strange. Instead, I decided to buy fabric and create my toga from that. At the fabric store with my friend Amy (again in Georgian)...

Amy: I want fabric. I am making a dress.
Shopkeeper: Ok. Which fabric do you want?
Amy: The bright purple one.
Shopkeeper: Ok. How much do you want?
Amy: I don't know. 1.5 meters?
Shopkeeper: Ok. You're a very good girl.
Tim: I also want fabric. The black one. But it's not for a dress.
Shopkeeper: Oh, what's it for?
Tim: I'm going to a party and I want that I look like an ancient Roman.
Shopkeeper: I don't understand.
Tim: I am making my own clothes for the party.
Shopkeeper: Good for you! (She also gives me the death look, since obviously no real man knows how to make clothes.) What color do you want?
Tim: Black.
Shopkeeper: For the shirt or for the pants?
Tim: I am not making a shirt and pants. I am making a toga. It is what the ancient Romans were wearing.
Shopkeeper: Did they not wear shirt and pants?
Tim: No. It is different. It looks like a dress.
Shopkeeper: You are making a dress?
Tim: No, I am making Roman clothes.
Shopkeeper: I don't understand.
Tim: Ok, I am making a dress. I want 1.5 meters of black fabric...

And so it goes...

In other news, summer has arrived in Georgia. It's hot. Send me emails.