I’m already getting behind on my blog, but the days are full, and I have so many important things to do and to learn. All of the volunteers are attending 3 hours of Georgian Language classes, and 3 hours of cultural classes every day. On Friday we will learn about our placements and be introduced to our host family. I’m very excited to begin my new job, but also a little sad that I’ll not have the opportunity to see all the volunteers on a regular basis. Also, the TLG staff members are incredible people, and I will miss seeing them every day.
One of the leading TLG staff members was giving a lecture yesterday morning, and I noticed that she was becoming emotional about the events in recent Georgian history. She did not share anything personal, but it seemed to me that she needed to pause a little more, and recompose herself. At this point I’m feeling an urgent responsibility to perform to my highest potential. I’ve been living in such a privileged environment (both here in the hotel and in the U.S. my entire life), and honestly, it makes me angry to hear complaints about lack of internet, or disappointing food, or lack of water pressure, or if the towels aren’t provided every day. The natives here have endured much worse conditions and the quality of life is really quite pleasant here in the hotel.
I had a great opportunity to explore Tbilisi a few days ago, although there is still so much I have not seen. I could easily spend a few months exploring everything and getting the best pictures possible. I went into the city with a group of about 14 people, and within 5 minutes we had already become separated (unintentionally), but I stuck close to a group of 6 that included a few who spoke very adequate Russian (none of us knows Georgian yet, but you can communicate with most adults in Russian). There were a lot of gypsies in the streets begging for money, and we were advised to ignore them. It was very difficult because they were everywhere, and appeared quite desperate.
Most of the buildings appear to be falling apart, and there are so many unfinished housing projects and buildings, even in the heavy traffic areas of the city. The situation reminds me of Moldova, because I suppose when the Soviet Union collapsed, all the money to finish these projects disappeared.