Monday, March 5, 2012

"it's the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary"

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

This always happens when I am living/traveling abroad and it's one of the things I really love. You really appreciate so much! Especially the smallest things. In everyday life at home, I know how much I take things for granted! All the time. It reminds me how fortunate I truly am. Occasionally I stop to think about things,or remember previous times and places of living in different situations, and appreciate the moment...but i know for sure I'm not as grateful as I should be! I mean there's the material things of course like hot water, heat....but there's also so many other small things...such as the ability and ease to communicate here within the country with the language barrier. As well as to people far away. At home, you can easily call/text basically anyone you want to talk to, but here it feels so great to hear from a friends/family far away. As well as, just speaking English in general, talking normally with someone. Most people don't think about this, but in this situation it is a HUGE deal when communication can be quite challenging. It's such a great moment when me and the person I'm talking to have that moment of understanding what we are trying to say! There's a multitude of small, special, fun, amazing, perfect moments that just make me smile or just think. What I'm trying to say is that it is really the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary! It's somewhat difficult to describe! But it's great to step back and just appreciate life and notice what's going on around you.
Anyway, so my placement ended up being to stay here in Tbilisi. I live about 45ish minutes bus ride from the city center area. The city is gorgeous. After have been inside orientation for a week, and only going out at night it was so refreshing to look at everything during the day in a new light! I love seeing all the beautiful architecture on the buildings, the snow-covered mountains, countless churches,the fortress over-looking the city, the river flowing, cobble stone streets, just everything!  I'm just fascinated with the oldness feeling of it all! I think the broken down and cracked doors/gates/buildings are just beautiful and really love going off the beaten path areas into the neighborhoods and tiny alleys to explore.

I just love first getting to know a new place, wandering aimlessly for hours,discovering hidden places,stumbling upon interesting places, and experiencing different food! Such as Khinkali. This place has so much history, you can just see it and feel it wherever you go.
khinkali..aka AMAZING
So, meeting our families..the moment was intense. Our coordinators had the families on one side of the hotel lobby and us on the other, then proceeded to call our names and we met in the middle. Then we were quickly swept away from our friends and dispersed to our new locations.
Amazing group on our last day right before meeting our families
flowers from my host parents!! aww :)

FAMILY: I am living with two parents who have three young children...Hassai who's 6, Ofelia 9, and Yusef who's 11. There is also an aunt who is staying with them with a baby girl Sima. I've been having lots of fun with the kids, playing football, just hanging out, and of course fun silly times with the baby. I have also met the grandmother, and there is another aunt who comes almost daily, who by the way absolutely loves me.  The first time we met she gave three mega hugs! Talk about a warm welcome! She is always happy to see me and tells me she loves me and I am her sister haha aww!...anyway my family's village/family is in Telavi in eastern Georgia. When people live in the city they typically have a village elsewhere. They are also Azerbaijani. I'm still trying to figure everything out.  They speak both Azerbaijani, and Georgian and also know Turkish and Russian.  So sometimes I learn one word in multiple languages. Haha it's hard to keep up with! By the way this is Georgian letters what looks like, as you can see it's challenging! I am teaching them tons of English words and phrases. They are quickly filling their notebooks and its exciting that they are so curious to learn. Countless times a day all I hear is Chreeeeees/Christeee (the way they say my name is just so good) followed by "what is this Englesh?". "what is this, what is it?...." Also, they always say "bread eat??" every single time they want me to come eat. It's great...We have had many good times together! It's amazing the amount you can communicate with very few words or no words at all!
one day I helped them make the Azerbaijani version of khinkali
SCHOOL: It's about a 5 minute walk from where I live which is is quite nice! School in a nutshell is crazy, whoa, ridiculous, what is going on?
whoo!! me and my public school #76!!
I get about 874 "hello"s a day in the hallways and classrooms! Followed by 345 "mas mas!" (their shortened word for teacher) along with several "how are you"s! What a feeling it is here! To have so many people truly excited about your presence. It's heart-warming. Walking through the doors of school and home, people are just so happy/excited to see me! For this program, I work with grades 1-6 and with 3 3 co-teachers who are local English teachers at the school.  I have also been to classes of several of the older grades. Once the word gets around that I'm there all the classes want me to come haha! The younger kids are absolutely adorable! I, for one, already love kids so this is great for me, they are just way too cute, and their smiles just melt me! When I would go around to check their homework I would draw smiley faces on their papers! This was a mega hit! A few days later, I started using my stamp as well! Oh man were they ecstatic or what! Only wanting ME to come check their homework! It's just so wonderful to see their excitement over the smallest things! As for the older kids, they are something else! Pretty wild, but once they can calm down it's interesting because we can try to ask each other questions about America/Georgia, each other etc. Several classes have shown me traditional Georgian dances and songs, the Armenian folk dance, hip hop dances, beat boxing, break dancing. singing "Love you like a love song" (clearly like the number 1 hit here) and even drew my portrait on the board! Talk about some fun classes!
The students have been so sweet!! Gifts and cute notes that absolutely make my day!! :) :) :)

Just about everything about school here is so so different than school in the U.S. It is a big adjustment and will take time for sure introducing new techniques of teaching, fresh ideas, and new ways of doing things to my English co-teachers.

view from my window the other day, ahh like I said, the littlest things are so wonderful
Wow I can't believe it's been 3 weeks that I've been here! Time is just so wacky here! This past weekend I stayed in Tbilisi because several of my friends came from nearby towns/villages to hang out/sight-see which was oh so good! Great to see familiar faces again, speak English, and have some fun times! In the upcoming weekends I'm planning to go to various places around Georgia and visit people/awesome places! I'm stoked!

Ok that's all for now!
nakvamdis! (good-bye)

p.s. kids pics/videos coming soon! :)


  1. your host family sounds 100x mejor que españa! i'm glad you are adjusting well :) I just had a test about Russia/USSR, so I totally understood the whole Turkish influence/Azerbaijan part, I felt smart hehe

    XO b

    1. si es mas mejor, pero echo de menos mis compañeras de cuarto muy buenas!!oh look at you smarty pants!! yeah I've been wanting to research that whole situation because I don't quite know about the relationship between the countries..

  2. "There was a language in the world that everyone understood . . .It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired."
    This is of course, from The Alchemist. haha After reading your blog, it made me think of The Alchemist which, as you know I recently finished reading, and it talks all about the language of the world. :)

    1. that is totally exactly what's going on!!enthusiasm, love, purpose! so right!....The Alchemist is so perfect for life and everything!!