Yesterday morning I turned on the faucet and it did its usual sputtering noise and I was like, cursing, because the water was going off SO early today.
And my mother laughed at me.
And the water kept flowing.
Welcome home, most of my group. Try not to have too hard a time adjusting back to America.
Okay, so, it has been awhile.
T-minus 10 days to America-level been awhile.
I’ve fallen into this weird limbo state. About half my friends have gone home (or gone traveling) already, and half are still here. The middle group is settling in for summer camps and their first, boring, summer. The new group is taking their fledgeling steps into PCV-adulthood (read as: getting on marshutkas without panic attacks&discovering all the Tbilisi/regional spots to go to <s>and eat at</s>), and I met them yesterday. Generally, however, I stay at site. It is so quiet and I’m restless and my host mother asks me every other day when I’m leaving, then bemoans the fact I’m leaving at all. I feel simultaneously bored out of my mind and overwhelmed by the amount of things I have to do, paralyzed by what I can’t get to. I was going to write a post about the things I regret and remember about Georgia, but then I realized I don’t regret anything here.
I did what I could. I gave as much as I could. I tried to help out at my school, and sometimes that worked out and sometimes it didn’t; I spent the last week of school missing my counterparts every single day in a row but the last day, then everything came together at once. I tried to save friendships, but some friendships weren’t meant to be saved, and wouldn’t be healthy if they were. I tried integrate into my host family, and I had to settle for the imperfect love (I DON’T feel like killing my host sister when she sings Whitney Houston at 7am anymore, and I find my host mom hovering kind of endearing now) I am capable of giving. I was not a perfect volunteer, but I had several major projects (my English cabinet technology renovation, the National Spelling Competition, judging with Write On, helping put on the final conference, etc.) that I was definitely glad to be a part of. I saw lots.
So later I’ll tell you what Georgia has taught me, and maybe I’ll regret something then, but for now I’ll just tell you 10 things I would never have had a chance to do if I hadn’t come here with the Peace Corps.
1. Meet my host family, halfway across the world.
2. Eat coagulated grape goo and TOTALLY LOVE IT - PELAMUSHI GET IN MY MOUTH PLEASE.
3. Be on the founding committee of a national educational contest.
4. Dip my feet into the ambassador’s pool. Meet the ambassador(s) and the Under Secretary of State.
5. Design a logo used worldwide.
6. Get into grad school and study what I want to study. Find a great roommate in the Peace Corps to make that leap into a new city less scary.
7. On that note, meet the amazing community of PCVs here - seriously, they are your family in country - a dysfunctional family, definitely, but still a family.
8. Read all the Harry Potter books, all of Steinbeck, all of Homer, and a ton of other random books. Watch all of Law and Order: SVU, the Wire, Arrested Development, No Reservations and many others. Listen to the entirety of the NPR All Songs Considered podcast to the present day. Organize my entire music library. Knit a blanket on sweater needles.
9. Get used to doing without (everything but electricity) for awhile.
10. Realize what I love about America, and start really loving Georgia.
Okay, done with the sap for now.
1. I was 30 minutes early for my bus, but it had already left and there were no later buses. I instead got on a bus that was running 10 minutes late going to a different town. This bus passes through my town, after all, arushavs (whatever).
2. I was unphased by a man whipping out a loaf of bread and beginning to eat it without comment on the bus.
3. I was equally unphased by a woman stopping said public transport, giving her baby to random people on the side of the road, then having the driver drive on.
4. I was excited when I got home and the electricity was back on.
5. I was then sad to learn that the gas was still off, although it was easy to shrug off.
Of the electricity-water-gas triad, electricity is definitely my favorite. Water - I’ve got my hoard which can usually last me 3-5 days. Gas - sucks for cooking/showering but since it is warming up, less necessary for heat. But electricity? Well, god help you if you take away my email and TV.
It’s been awhile. I’ve kept busy - school started again, my SPA grant
was approved and begun, and there has been the usual run of parties,
social gatherings, mishaps and misadventure.
A small example from today.
Today I got on a marshutka (passenger van). I had chores to do in
Tbilisi, so I packed my bag, jumped on a marshutka, and we tottered
along. Around 3/4ths of the way there, the marsh pulled over. Alright,
no problem. I didn’t figure out why until the driver got out and went to
look under a hood. Then another man got out. Then another.
Until there were 8 Georgian men crowded around the 1 single man trying
to fix the van.
Then another passenger van (also with passengers, presumably slightly
irritated by their driver’s lackadaisical attitude towards his job)
pulled over, and another 4 men piled out. There were kisses, cigarettes
were shared, and then they all clumped around to also stare at the 1
single man actually fixing the marsh without offering much past
(apparently) some serious moral support.
Unfortunately quantity of moral support did not save the day in this
case, and 30 minutes later the single man came back to the door and with
very oily fingers and much gesturing explained to us all that we would
have to get out and find another van. The man herd, undiminished by its
failure, continued to stand around by the side of the road. As the next
van I flagged down and got into pulled away, it looked like the beer was
starting to come out to soften the blow.
What else? I’m hearing back from my graduate applications now. I have my
first acceptance, my first waitlist, and my first few rejections already
under my belt. It’s nice to have a plan and funding, even if it isn’t
pinned down yet. I’ll announce my decision probably at the last minute,
so I won’t know for sure until April 15th, but stay tuned until then.