Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tbilisi, The Place to Be

Greetings from Tbilisi!

I finally arrived after a day and a half of travel. It took forever. But at least I got to get out and see Warsaw, Poland. A pretty city that I'd like to go back and see more of. Although we had 13 hours in Poland, I just did not have it in my to haul my carry-on all over Warsaw. So we ('we' being about 9 other people from my program) walked to the old town from the train station, got lunch at a kebab shop (yeah, I know, I know, it's not very Polish), then coffee in the old town square. Like I said, great city and I'd loveto see it again.

We got to Tbilisi bright and early on Sunday morning. I watched the sun rise through the clouds and fog as I sipped my coffee in the restaurant on the top floor of my hotel. And let me tell you, this hotel is nice. They sent us to the classy hotel, that's for sure.

While at the hotel I've had a very short foray into the metric world of weight lifting. The food they've been giving us at the hotel is so good, but so heavy. I really wanted to work up sweat to counteract those delicious, delicious desserts and breads and rich meats and chocolate croissants and... Oh sorry. Got a bit away from myself there. They really do put out a good spread. So you can understand my urge to work it off. I arrived at this mirror-encrusted pit of hell fairly optimistic, but things quickly turned for the worst. I started with one of the arm machines- none of the machines, save one, looked familiar to me. I had no idea how much I should lift so I just did it by how many of the weight plates were on it. I did a few reps and moved on to a few of the other machines. However there was this personal trainer who kept putting her things over the machines to reserve, so I just moved them. You can't claim most of the machines in a tiny gym., It's just not okay... I'm lucky I didn't get punched in the face.

But, to make a long story short, the metric system and I didn't get along very well. But at least there's still the pool to try out. You don't need to know math to use the pool!

In other news, we started our intensive teacher training this morning! Quite intensive, indeed. We started at 8am with an orientation meeting, then moved right on to our Georgian language class. Gamargobat! Me var Mary. Ragora khar? [Hello! I'm Mary. How are you?] If I had the Georgian alphabet on my computer I think I would even be able to spell it! I learned Georgian for four hours and then had a lunch break. A group of us took a walk down the street to get outlet adapters at an electronics store. However, no one in the group spoke Georgian (except for the few phrases we learned half an hour before) or Russian and the people in the store spoke very little English (surprisingly). So after four hours of a language class I then became the Russian translator. The language muscles in my brain are POUNDING from all this language going on. It's really great to be in the middle of all this, but it's tiring.

After lunch we then had four hours of intercultural training. The first half of the class was a bit redundant and more closely resembled a theory of anthropology class, and really had little to do with Georgian culture. Truth be told, I'm not too optimistic about these classes. I've been here before. I've dealt with a lot of these things before. I know what 'culture shock' is. I'm sure there are some people that might be benefiting from these things, but most of the people on this program are very well traveled and have experienced these things. Reportedly the class will get more specific to Georgia and problems we may run into here. I'm really crossing my fingers for that.

Well, the hours grows late and I have another full day tomorrow, so I must retire to my virtuous couch.

Good night, good afternoon, or good morning wherever you may be!

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