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.*

21 October 2007

Tupac came to the Wedding...

I normally don't attend weddings, mainly because I'm never invited to them. I think I've been to three weddings in my life. And one of them was last month in Sveneti, the village where I had my pre-service training. As you can surmise, I'm not exactly qualified to compare Georgian and American weddings, but since I can, I will compare them. So there's the church ceremony, which I didn't really follow very much. This, I think, is pretty similar to what happens in America.

The party, though, was a bit different. The wedding feast was "small," with only 400 people attending. This meant that about 20% of the village was crowded into one person's front yard under a completely unnecessary tent. There was a live band (accordian, keyboard, and something else) as well as a DJ. The Tamada (toastmaster) wore a pink shirt and a pink tie. Hopefully men wearing pink will be out-of-style again when I return to America. Anyway, at a regular supra the Tamada presides over the table and offers various toasts, which are then expounded upon and then the beverage is consumed. This, as you might guess, is more difficult when professing your love of the bride and groom to 400 people. But never fear, the problem can be solved with microphones! Lots of microphones. When the Tamada made a toast, he stood up, stumbled towards the bank of seven microphones, and delivered the toast. To my silly American mind, it appeared that he was giving a press conference.

Pink-shirted man at microphones: "May you create a delicious family! Your marriage is among the best examples of the triumph of love in Georgian society. (Three more minutes on the same theme...) Cheers to a potent man and his wife!"

Between toasts, the band played. It was really pleasant. I was unaware that an accordian and an electronic keyboard could jive so well. Luckily, this misconception was quickly and profoundly corrected. After the toasts were finished, the DJ took over and dancing ensued. This is where my night turned bizarre. For reasons unknown, 15 year old Georgian girls find me to be a desirable dance partner. This alone isn't too bad; I can fake my way through a Georgian traditional dance while only looking mildly retarded. This is what I expected to take place when a giggling teenager led me to the dance floor. And oh how I would have preferred it! Instead, Tupac (he of never-ending Georgian popularity) graced the painfully loud (of course) speakers. And what do you with a 15 year old girl when Tupac comes on? Yes, that's right. You slow dance with her. I guess this wasn't the worst thing that could have happened. We could've been grinding or perhaps she could've expected me to sing along with her (she, of course, knew all the words) while doing so. Those might have been marginally worse. But slow dancing to Tupac isn't exactly something I was ready for. It was awkward. We danced 6th grade style, with as much distance between us as possible while still touching, which only made it worse. She kept looking at me and "singing" along. I tried to make it seem like this was completely normal, like I slow danced to Tupac with a 15 year old girl all the time. I lip-synched and, when I realized that Ashlee Simpson was better at that than I was, decided to just smile at her instead, while looking behind her to see the entire wedding watching us. I hadn't felt that awkward in quite some time. But, looking back, I'm glad I did it. If you can slow dance to Tupac, you can do anything.

In other news, I am still extraordinarily busy. The end.


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01 October 2007

Peace Corps and Technology...Two Peas in a Podcast!

Let's play that word association game. Georgia? Peaches. Teacher? Student. Peace Corps? Podcast. Good, I'm glad we came up with the same responses. Since it is so obvious that, when in the Peace Corps, I would undertake a podcast project, I bet you all have anticipated this post for some time. But anyway, here is the address: http://www.sakartvelopodcast.org/

Fellow Volunteers and I have been working feverishly to try and accomplish the infamous "third goal" of Peace Corps - increasing Americans' knowledge of other cultures. This podcast, along with my blog (plug, plug), is my way of attempting this. On the podcast, you can hear PCVs discussing thier work, free time, and things that are even less interesting. Additionally, the podcast is the definitive source on Georgian culture, foodways, gender roles, and more. The website also includes instructions on how to download and listen to the podcast in case you are like me (and my parents...) and have never done this sort of advanced-techno-mumbo-jumbo before. Additionally, the podcast is availible for download on iTunes.

Happy listening.


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