Friday, November 19, 2010

An Unexpected Elopement!!


With a heavy heart I write this post. Yesterday the day began like any normal day apart from be being stuck to my bed for the first half of it, but a last it was like any other day or so I thought. There is no way I could have fathomed or predicted the events that would transpire within the course of yesterday evening and late night.

As usual my host sisters got dressed around 2:30 pm to head to their afternoon lessons. They do not attend regular school this year instead their mother who is quite invested in their education pulled them out of public school and paid for tutors in each lessons to ensure they are receiving personal attention and will pass their exams for University. My friend Claudia came over for lunch because my host mother made some good food and a cake. Lika my host sister curled her long black hair and was quite concerned about what she was wearing and kept asking us if everything looked ok. I was confused since she was only going to lessons but ignored it. We assured her everything was fine and they both left. Claudia and I watched a movie in my room and then she headed home.

When Lina (the other sister; they are twins) came into my room I assumed the other sister was home as well as they are usually everywhere together. Her and I completed an English Proficiency test to see what areas I need to focus on for our English lessons together. I told her to call Lika so we could do the test together. Her response was surprising but I wasn't worried at the moment, needless to say Lika was not at home. Deda came into the room and wasn't worried as yet either and Lina said that Lika had a test so that is why she wasn't home.

2 very long hours go by. Lika Is not at home. Deda is now worried and very angry. Lina is now sweating buckets and very nervous so I asked her again where Lika was and she said "Lika went to hang out with her boyfriend after lessons in the park but she said she would be home by 5, I am going to kill her." At this point my host mother begins calling around it isn't tense yet but I should have known it was the calm before the storm.

Next thing I know a million things are happening all at once; there is angry Georgian being shouted my host sister Lina is freaking out and calling some random young man from my cell phone, we have two phones in our house and as she is on one of them the other is ringing off the hook. My house is now a Cal l Centre, or a live telethon called "Do you know where Lika is?!"

All I hear is the crying next, and the angry shouting through the tears and Lina is freaking out and worried and telling me she thinks Lika is married. I'm in shock, wondering how on earth did this day turn into this.

I assume after caller her family in Kakheti (a vineyard village outside of Tbilisi) they have confirmation that Lika is indeed there and with the young man and his family. Deda is crying, screaming more angry Georgian about her daughter and blaming the other one for what happen. Certain events took place in the house that I just will not discuss but it left my host sister basically having an epileptic seizure in the kitchen from the sobs that raked her body. Words cannot describe the hopelessness I felt. I had no idea how to help anyone, their despair crept into me and I also began crying in my bewilderment.

Plodding down my short hallway I walked into the living room at sat next to Lina and tried to comfort her. Next thing I know there is knocking at the door, I look up and 4 policeman are walking into the house curtailed by a female detective. That was my cue to go to my room. Moments pass as I listen to the Georgian, bits in pieces I hear the officers question my host mother of my identity . Then I hear foots steps, the kind that comes from high heels approaching my door and I was thinking shit I hope the female detective doesn't want to speak to me. I was relieved to see my host aunt, who was followed by an 18 year old boy by the name of Lasha who I assumed was her son but later found out, no less after he kept coming into my room to expend his English and peer his jizzy eyes into mine, that he was indeed a nosey neighbour!

A few more hours go by as they are trying to find the exact location in Kakheti of the boy's family. Finally they do and Deda has to rush out with my 13 year old host brother Abo (he's quite the mature young man he acts 25) in tow and all the policemen. Finally I am able to sleep. I prayed for Lika to be returned home and for the nonsense to end.

7 am this morning I was awoken out of fitful slumber by the ringing of the door bell and some insistent knocking on the door. I got up to get it and halfway there my host sister is already opening the many locks. There stood deda chemi (my host mother) on the threshold with the haunted look of mourning adorning her face, and without looking at Lina says to me in Georgian, Lika will not come home and begins to cry. All I could utter was "I am so sorry" in her mother tongue. She thanked me and I went back to bed.

Somehow I found sleep again and when I was awoken it was by more crying and angry Georgian. The entire day she sat on the couch staring into nothingness and cried on and off.

No matter how much she cried, and asked why, the fact still remained that Lika her 17 year old daughter was now married and living in Kakheti as a Muslim wife to a 20 year old husband.

I left the house today and she was still in the same position. Gaping as rivers fell silently from her eyes.

These are the days of my life!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ver Gavige!! Sexual Repression & Homophobia in Georgia!


For quite sometime I have been meaning to blog about this topic. As I stated earlier in my previous post, The Republic of Georgia is the poster child for sexual repression. I think they put Asia to shame with this one. Apparently the phrase 'people don't have sex in the Soviet Union' is far from being false and apparently since being free of Soviet ties Georgia seem to not want to catch up with the rest of the world and start having sex; apart from for the means of procreation (reproduction).

I find it very odd that in this society of repressed desires and homophobia that Georgian men exhibit so much affection for each other in public. This was something I could not fathom from the beginning and I am still trying to wrap my mind around it every time I see it. In Georgia it is fairly customary to see men walking down the streets with their arms around each other, or holding hands, when they greet they kiss on the cheek sometimes almost in the mouth and on the subway they are all over each other. Magram (but) they are apparently the most homophobic men in the history of the fear itself. Confused yet? Well good luck sorting it out because I still don't understand hence 'ver gavige' (I don't understand).

I consider myself to be an open-minded individual and therefore I have no problems with homosexuality, but seeing such public displays of affection is so odd to me, because where I come from 'straight'men would never be caught dead engaging in such physical closeness with their male friends due to the stigma of being called gay. I've discussed this phenomenon with many other volunteers and most of us think it is a product of sexual repression and pseudo homo-eroticism. It is quite uncanny that all the men here like to rub on each other and when they are drunk it is taken to another level.

The irony of this situation is astounding. Men are all over each other because their customs/culture denotes that they cannot be all over the woman and yet they are homophobic. This is one of the things that makes Georgia so special, and a place that I can never begin to understand.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seqsi Gindaa? Ar minda!!! When men stop being polite in Georgia and start being Jizzy!


Disclaimer: This post is not a classification of all Georgian men but an account of some of the experiences I have had with them while living in this country. If you are Georgian I am sorry if you are offended but I can only draw from my experiences!

Seqsi Gindaa? I am sure my English readers are quite confused but this question simply translates as 'Would you like sex or do you want sex?" Ar minda means "I don't want." During training week we underwent a series of classes called Intercultural Class where we had a Georgian teacher teach us the cultural differences that we maybe faced with while living in Georgia. My cultural instructor in fact was a Georgian man and did not fail to warn us of the troubles we may face as foreign women in this country. However he failed to tell us how audacious and overt they would be in their endeavours to 'bed' a foreign woman. In any even rarer case by Georgian standards a black woman.

A few weeks ago during my first weekend after I was moved to Tbilisi, my friends and I ventured out to Shardeni Street in old Tbilisi for a night of dancing and fun. Of course as usual we were met with some rather overly excited Georgian men, which has come to be accepted as the norm for us. While standing conversing with Claudia a very young Georgian man (he was about 20 but looked 30) was trying to impress us with his rudimentary knowledge of English; and of course we decided to play along with the little role-play besides we are here to improve English. Well as the conversation began to veer upon the ridiculous, Claudia and I decided to walk away, then in some sort of desperate bout or perhaps it was a touch of tourette's syndrome he blurted out "Do you want sex." Now I am a modern western woman yes and of course I am no Mary, however, a gentleman would never dare be so crass in front of a lady in public, nor would a woman who deems herself a lady allow such nonsense to continue. I was utterly floored at the moment or perhaps it was the vodka, but in any event after staring at him like he suddenly turned into a giant spider slipping on the roller blades attached to his eight legs, Claudia and I just walked off and ignored his calling out to us.

That was the first time it happened. I'm not sure why things like sexual harassment by Georgian men shock me anymore but I suppose it is because they lack finesse. I am not saying that in my country or any other country in the world these sort of things don't happen, but usually men in the west try to be more subtle. Not the taxi driver two weekends ago. After a night out on the town with my friends, another teacher and a (a male) shared a cab home to Gldani. His stop was before mine so he got out and the driver and I continued on alone. As soon as he was out of the cab it began. This entire conversation I am about to recount took place in Georgian (yes I am getting better at speaking and understanding) here is what happened:

Georgian Cab Driver: Come to the front seat. (proceeds to continually tap the seat to make his point clear.)

Me: No, thank you I am fine here.

Georgian Cab Driver: Is he your lover?

Me: No, he is my friend.

Georgian Cab Driver: Do you want a lover?

Me: No I do not. Keep going straight please.

Georgian Cab Driver: Where are you from?

Me: The Bahamas

Georgian Cab Driver: What is your name?

Me: Nicole

Georgian Cab Driver: I am _________ (Didn't care to listen but I am sure it was Zhura , Giorgi or some other recycled name)

Me: Nice to meet you. (Trying to stay calm as possible so this man doesn't drive off past Gldani)

Georgian Cab Driver: Nicole, seqsi gindaa? (Do you want sex)

Me: No!!! I do not want sex!!!! (I repeatedly said in a stern bitchy voice ar minda!!!)

Georgian Cab Driver: Why????????

Me: No!!!!!!!!!! I do not want!!!!!!!!! Please turn right at this corner.

Georgian Cab Driver: Nicole, why, seqsi gindaa? (Do you want sex? Now he pleaded somewhat)

Me: AR MINDA! Here 10 lari ( I give him the money even though we decided on 7 I just wanted out of the car.)

Georgian Cab Driver: Nicole, seqsi?? (looking out of the window as I begin to walk into my building)

Me: ARA!!! (NO!! Without another word a bolted up the stairs into my building pulled out by 5 tetri and got in the elevator)

That experienced left me jolted. As soon as I got upstairs I sent a text to George the very friend I had just parted with. I knew if it came down to it I would be able to fight my way out of it, but I would have also been stranded in the middle of nowhere in the outskirts of Tbilisi. I thought after this experience nothing else would surprise me but I was wrong.

A week later the same thing happened when I walked home from Neil Zupancic's apartment. We live 5 minutes away and since our friend Camille had just moved to Gldani he walked her home and I decided to just walk alone. Another cab driver pulled up and asked me to get in the car. I refused and told him it was too expensive and I would take a marshutka. He said and again this entire conversation is in Georgian, I don't want your money. So I was pissed at this point because of what had happened the previous week, I shouted at him again in georgian "what do you want?" Home boy rubbed his fingers together sideways, I about almost lost it. Cursing them out in English never works because I have had to do before while protecting my friend Danielle from a drunk Georgian man. So I shouted at him that I didn't want it and told him to go away. He drove off and circled back around and continued to try to coerce me into his car. Finally the marshutka came and he drove off.

Now at this point my ego is insulted. Why on God's green earth do these men expect me or any other self-respecting foreign woman to drop their clothes and just automatically have sex with them? My friend Claudia has had men blatantly ask her how much it would cost or just straight up offer her money for sex. Once while Neil walked us home a guy followed us and he had to shield us from him. Another incident during Tbilisoba, our friend Raughley basically translated from Russian that 3 men were interested in Claudia, Danielle and I and after telling them repeatedly we did not have cell phones so they couldn't get our numbers (a lie of course) they offered to buy us cell phones.

In this apparent sexually repressed society it seems that the presence of so many foreign woman have made Georgian men particularly crazy, audacious, molesty (new version of molestation), and straight up delusional! The aggressive nature of the men I have encountered so far freaks me out because I know sooner or later I am going to stop being polite and start busting some ass!

These are the days of my life!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Religious Practices by my Host Family...Surprise we are not Orthodox!


Indeed it has been awhile since my last blog post. This is now going to change since I have internet at home and I don't have to wonder when I will be connected to the web again to make a post. Needless to say I have a few backed up stories to blog about but I will begin first with the touchy subject of Religion.

The Republic of Georgia is comprised of mostly Orthodox Christians and boast about being one of the first countries in Christendom back in like a million years ago. So imagine my astonishment when my host cousin comes to visit and informs me that my family is indeed Islamic. This revelation hit me really hard, and even though I have come to realize that in Georgia nothing should be taken at face value, or just because you heard it was the 'norm' does not mean that it is everywhere in this Country! I should definitely remember this after meeting two...count them two half black Georgians who only look full black but that is another story.

My host cousin and my host sisters inform me that yes they are all Muslim, but my host father who currently lives and works in Russia is an Orthodox Christian. My confusion drives deeper. I know or I should say that from my experiences I have known that Christians and Muslims do now mix usually because of that unevenly yoked situation, but in this case I suppose love prevailed or maybe it was because back in the Soviet days Religion may have not count for much, perhaps, but this is only speculation on my part. When my host mother arrived the entire evening I was looking for an opening to broach the subject with her. I am not Georgian so I do not feel the urge to ask intrusive questions to people. As she was flipping through my Georgian phrase book coincidentally she came to the page that translated various Denominations of Christianity and other Religions. She began reading them so I asked her "you are Muslim, yes?"(must use simple English) and she said no. Again the confusion came, she then told me in Georgian that she is not, but her mother, father, sister, brother and her children are Muslim, but her husband and her other sister are Christians. I asked her if she was a Christian then and she also said no. At this point my head is about to hurt because I am not understanding how this Georgian woman can be so different from what I have been told about Georgians. Her response was that she has not decided on which religion to follow and she really does not see the point. I was like basically....wow!

I asked my sisters why they did not wear their heads covered as all Muslim girls would after the age of 12 I think it is, and she said because her mother doesn't like it so they do not, but when they get married they will wear it. I was then informed that there are Mosque in their village of Kakheti (spelling).

Another surprise in terms of Religion happened yesterday I met 2 American Mormon Missionaries while in the mall in Gldani. They informed my friends and I that there is indeed 2 Churches of Latter Day Saints. Naturally we made plans to go bowling with them!

One of the lessons I think I am to learn while living here is tolerance. Perhaps a few years ago my self righteous Christian attitude would have had me freaked out to live with Muslims, but the revelation of my family's religion did not shake me in the way it would have about 8 years ago. When my host grandmother or cousin pulled out their prayer rug to pray I looked on in admiration. Their faith is inspiring, and I think if a Muslim can strengthen my own faith in my own beliefs then I am on my way to realizing that in every aspect of life their is room to learn, and therefore grow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Deda Chemi!! (My host mother)

Garmajoba!

Basically I think TLG has exceeded their resources and found me one of the best mother's in all of Georgia! I thought my first family was really amazing but 'kho deda' this one is beyond words.

Chemi deda is an amazing cook, she calls me her daughter and says I am just like her other children. Claudia comes over because she lives 5 minutes away, and yesterday she taught us how to make plmani (not sure if that is spelled correctly) but it is Georgian tortellini. We made one set with khortsit (meat) and one with khatchoti (which Georgians call cottage cheese but it is really Ricotta). They were amazing and I cannot wait to make them at home.

Today I came home from school and lunch was waiting, and it was cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice. I cannot describe in words the explosion of flavors which erupted in my mouth. Followed by this amazing meal came this 3 layered chocolate cake with white homemade icing and shaved chocolate on top that she made from scratch. She proceeded to tell Claudia and I that it was diet cake and we were safe to consume copious amounts. We didn't trust that because it was far too delicious to be diet cake.

Her cooking isn't the only reason she is amazing. She is the type of mother you read about in books that is so maternal, loving and self-sacrificing. Basically like my mother at home. I had no idea I would feel so at home in my second host family. I am so blessed!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Female Vigilantes in Tbilisi

Like chemi megobari (my friend) Claudia Ukonu usually says "Only random things happen in random countries!" I.e The true story I am about to tell you.

Last night after a wonderful talk in Prospero Bookstore on Rustaveli, Claudia and I met a fellow TLG teacher by the name of Madeline. Through our conversation Maddie and I discovered that we both lived in the same district of Tbilisi. Once we arrived at our destination we walked out of the metro station up the stairs and was about to part ways, I to my marshutka and her to walk 3 blocks in the other direction to her home. While standing there exchanging numbers we heard ruckus behind us and naturally we looked. Headed towards the steps that lead to the metro station was an old man around 60 walking with a cane no less pulling a woman along yelling at her in Georgian. Instead of continuing down the steps to the metro station he pushed her against the wall and continued to assault her with vocally and physically.

Now at this point I am livid that this woman is being publicly battered and all the Georgians are walking by acting like they don't see anything out of the ordinary but then they are shocked to see me, a black girl standing there. I said to Maddie "if he hits her again I am going to intervene." She agrees and a Georgian lady standing near us was also looking on in mock horror but like the others did nothing. The man pushed her by the throat against the wall and that was the end of the line. I shouted "Ara ba'tono" (No Sir) and walked towards him as Maddie followed. I engaged the man in conversation while Maddie took the chance to get the woman safely to the metro. Basically I knew enough Georgian to tell the man what he was doing was very bad in which he kept telling me she had done something in the house. I then asked him in perfect Georgian where he was going, and insisted he come with me to find a marshutka (bus). He responded "Ar minda marshutka" (I don't want a bus). So once Maddie returned I bid him a good night and left. During our entire conversation he looked completely mortified and repentant.

I've decided to put the entire experience in the imaginary box of things I do not understand about Georgia. Men and woman stare at me without abandon everyday I walk down the street, listen to me when I talk and pay me far too much attention, but the minute a woman is being beaten in the streets everyone acts like they are closed to the world around them. After Maddie rescued the woman while I dealt with the man, the other Georgian lady that was watching in horror walked over to her and hugged her. Very shocked that we handled the situation so well.

These are the days of my life!

Monday, October 18, 2010

First Day of School Take 2!


Like a few others I got to re-live my first day in a new Georgian school, and it was even more amazing than the first time. At once I notice the difference between schools in the towns/villages to Tbilisi.

I work at school 191 which comprises of some 1,000 students! This blew my mind because I do not think there is any school this large in the Bahamas; especially none I have ever taught at. My Director was very amiable and so were my English teachers. Everyone on staff was very nice and welcoming.

My first class began with the 11th grade and they were so excited to see me. It was a really great class. Immediately I can tell that there English was much more advanced than the village students and I was very please. There eagerness to learn was also really exciting. I was asked a ton of questions about my life, my experiences, my country and basically everything that has happened to me thus far in Georgia. A few students offered to introduce themselves to me in front of the class and give me a brief biography of themselves as well. A very agreeable day.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kharagauli to Tbilisi and then back again!


When I initially set out to blog my experience in the Republic of Georgia I did this with the intention of having constant internet service. However, like most things in this random country what we expect never comes to fruition. It is quite unfortunate that I am have not been able to give a more detailed account but I will try now that I live in Tbilisi. So a succinct recap of the events that has lead up to today.

September 2010:

I feel into my small town routine rather easily. Living in Kharagauli was pretty much mundane and I looked forward to every weekend I could spend time in Tbilisi. My students ranged from really sweet to rather rude. My 3rd-9th graders were amazing and so easy to learn the language. Especially the young ones, it always amazed me how fast they picked up and how well they were able to read. The older kids proved to be far more of a challenge with the exception of the 11th graders. The 11th grade was a good class, with the boys being very good at English and the girls having no idea or interest in what we were ever doing. The rudeness and lack of knowledge exhibited by the 12th grade was astounding. I really think they felt that they had no need to learn English. So not knowing how to get through to them I decided to create an activity I like to call 'Great Expectations'.

Basically there were 5 questions about their expectations for English class and how they hope to use the language. At the end I got some amazing answers and thought that I was finally making some sort of breakthrough, false alarm! Basically the next class they went back to not listening, looking at me like I was an alien and doing what they wanted, with 3 people interested. I became rather fed after a few more lessons of this and told my Director something needed to be done. She told me there was nothing she could do because they had tried everything with that class and nothing ever worked! Apparently they treated all their subjects the same which boggled my mind because I will never understand how people allow children to have control! So needless to say I informed her that I just could not teach that class if they were not interested and so I washed my hands of the 12th grade.

While dealing with the boredom, stress of conveying my language to Georgian children, my body decided it would just react violently to my surroundings. I mentioned before that my allergies/asthma was being freaky when I first arrived to Kharagauli, I also mentioned it got better for maybe a week, well it just went to a level that was not acceptable. I was having asthma attacks everyday, horrendous nasal congestion and using my inhaler about 10-20 times per day. Finally I was deathly afraid of having an asthma attack and possibly dying after being told a boy died in the National Park when he had an asthma attack. So I finally decided to head to the doctor in the capital city.

In a nutshell after running a series of test on me the doctor deduced that my white blood cell count was through the roof proving that my body was constantly fighting allergens and my lung capacity was shot. He wrote to my employers and informed them that I had to move to the capital.

I moved to Tbilisi in the second week of October!

October 2010:

My life is no longer mundane and luck has found me an amazing family a second time around. I live in Gldani District which is like the Brooklyn version (a much nicer cleaner version) of Tbilisi in an Apartment Building on the 12th floor. My family consist of a Mother, twin sisters that are 17 and a brother who is 13. The father lives and works in Moscow, Russia and comes to visit during holidays. I've been spending time with my favorite TLG people Danielle and Claudia and we're all just loving the fact that we now live in Tbilisi together! Let the good times roll.....chai gindaa??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Day of School

Gamarjoba!

So school has ended for today, and it is by far the easiest day of my entire teaching career thus far. Although I know I should not count my eggs before they hatch because this is only the beginning. The students were very nice and smiling at me like crazy. Apparently my skin color and hair are the most interesting things about me oh yes and the fact that I am the personfication of F O R E I G N!!

Things here are good. My allergies have finally relaxed and I feel much better. I suppose my body was rebelling against the beauty of this place...I am not sure, but I am glad it is over. I still feel incredibly lost in translation all the time. I hope I pick up on this language sooner rather than later. Like Candy says I do not know if there is enough phlem in the world to be able to speak it but I shall try! Hopefully I do not just end up drowning people in my spit!

I still do not have internet at home but as soon as I can get this...my post will be more in depth and perhaps a little more interesting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Kutaisi to Kharagauli

Garmajoba! (Hello)

So training ended yesterday and it was very emotional for me! However my host sister made it much easier as she is also the English Teacher in my town and speaks good English! The drive from Kutaisi was scenic and a measely hour! This place makes me feel like I am in the sound of music and it is so beautiful!!

Will post more when I have time!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events that led to Kutaisi

It has truely been a whirlwind of surprises and unfortunate events on my road to Georgia! It did not stop with me leaving Nassau no no there had to be more upsets before I boarded my British Airways flight. My 1 checked bag ended up weighing 43 Kilos when we are only allowed 23 Kilos. I had to shed half of that weight with tears no less. I felt raped and robbed I have yet to go through my suitcase and see what survived!

The next event happened after a great flight to London. I had a long line before customs and then finally got to baggage claim and realized hey you're in terminal 5 and you need to get to terminal 1. I caught the train got to terminal 1 and guess what....BMI would not let me on the flight....I begged, explained, pleaded, cried nothing worked! I paniced first and then got into action. I tried calling TLG representatives but somehow it was either not enough pounds in the phone or I dunno so I had to get creative. I went upstairs carting all my luggage mind you and used the internet cafe...which was 1 pound per 10minutes. I got Jennifer Wood a fellow TLG teacher who is already stationed in Georgia and she called one of the leaders and they booked me a ticket from London to Istanbul and then on to Georgia!

I left Nassau on Tuesday and arrived here in Georgia on Thursday afternoon...this has been one serious set of days and I know it will be even more interesting. Through the entire way I just kept thanking God for keeping me safe. It is currently 11:23 pm and I need to get some rest because we have to be up at 9 am and jet lag is kicking my ass!

Until next time.

xoxo

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Eve of the Exodus!

It seems like I have waited for this day for so long! It is truly the most anticipated. Took so much for it to finally arrive, from stolen passports to delayed departures and waiting on tickets, finally it is the eve of my exodus from the rock! Of course it is with mixed emotions that I say goodbye to my beautiful Island in the sun! My country is so extraordinarily beautiful and although I have seen many countries in Europe, some in the Caribbean, the US and Canada I have yet to tap into all it's best kept secrets. One day I will. For now this marks a close to one chapter in my life and the commencement of another!

Tomorrow at 9:40 I will exit Nassau, Bahamas on a huge metal bird that defies the laws of gravity and start the leg of an amazing journey into the unknown. The Republic of Georgia awaits in all its spleandour and I cannot wait to discover all that the best kept secret that the European Continent has to offer. I would be remiss if I did not say that I am sad to leave my wonderful family and my well chosen friends. It has been hard leaving you all behind but I know that this is only the beginning of a new era in my life!

Tomorrow I will prepare to leave you all and with great trepidation, excitement, wonder and yearning for the unknown but I promise you I will return a wiser woman having learned great lessons from the professor of Experience. So with great pleasure I say goodbye Nassau and Garmajoba Sakartvelo! (hello Georgia)