This morning I took a marshutka from Adigeni at half past eight, and got off on the road to Gori three hours later, where I was met by my new host family. There is a father, who works in the army, a mother, a teenage son who knows decent English, and a young adult daughter who is a manager at the local library, and knows a little English. They have a large, lovely house with a courtyard, garden, dog (a german shepherd), hot water, a balcony over the garden courtyard, and two and a half stories of house. That is to say, they have two stories of regular house, and one of house/basement hybrid, involving a wine cellar, store room, and a room that can be used for parties. The only downside is that it’s probably quite cold in winter, but I hear that’s often the case — the schools usually aren’t heated, either, and it’s probably about as cool and windy as Flagstaff.
After settling in a bit and having lunch, I went walking in Gori and met three other TLG volunteers, one of who was in my group in Tbilisi two months ago, and the other two I met for the first time today; they will be teaching in nearby villages during the coming semester.
I tried to think of something meaningful, important, or profound to say by way of reflection on my time in Adigeni, but am drawing a blank. Nearly all the people I met are very nice, friendly, and try very hard to be good hosts. The police officers gave me a lovely icon, had a farewell supra for me, and said that they have enjoyed having me there, and were sorry that I was going — although I don’t know how much English was actually learned in the time that I was there. Living in a small town is what it is, and I admire it, but am not especially good at it; I would need a lot more time to learn how. There are certainly ways that the program could be better, but I’m not sure how it could be better for everyone at the same time. It could be better for me if there were more formally organized ways to learn how to do the sorts of things that rural people do, like preparing or preserving traditional foods, studying the language, learning national songs and dances, or making traditional crafts. I’m not very assertive, though, so I often don’t learn to do those things, though I would like to, because it’s too hard socially. There could be a formal solution to that, but I don’t think that there will be, because this isn’t that kind of program; which is too bad for awkward lasses such as myself. I encountered the same thing in Tuluksak: it would have been cool to learn traditional Yupiik stuff like songs, dances, language, furry dolls, beading, and so on — and if I had stayed there for ten years I might well have learned how to do those things; but it usually wasn’t obvious how to go about learning any of those things; who to contact, what to ask, when to meet, what to buy, and so on — and so I simply flaked out quite a lot.