The Sakartvelian Double Tap

Posted on March 24, 2012 by


When killing zombies, the rule is: always double tap. I’ve decided Georgia also needs a double tap. Maybe a slow motion double tap, but I am going back again, just to make sure I don’t miss anything.

You’re confused. I’m sorry. Allow me to explain. In January 2011, I arrived as part of the 11th group. One of the last groups, I think, to do their training at the Metechi Sheraton (gloat-gloat). I was supposed to stay until December 2011, but circumstances got in the way, and I had to abscond in September, feeling a bit cheated out of my experience. It’s taken a while, but I’ve decided that I simply have to return and finish the adventure. Hence the double tap.

I am, at the time of writing this, still in Cape Town, South Africa. Frantically packing stuff, visiting people, and finishing up some work, in order to leave for Georgia circa the 30th of March. I am excited and, of course, nervous. I have been making comparisons, in my mind, of my preparations and expectations from last year to this. While I should feel more like I know what to expect, there are aspects where I still feel as nervous and fresh-faced as I did when I arrived in January last year.

One of my biggest challenges, I think, is going to be arriving on my own. Last year, I was with thirty-something other people, with whom I made friends very quickly. This time around, all those friends are gone and it’s just me. I’m not attending the training again, so things will be a bit scarce on the friend-front, which I find intimidating.

Like last year, I don’t know where I will be placed, what my host family and school will be like or how I will cope with being in new surroundings. To add to this, I worry that I will compare everything to my last town/school/family, and it will be found wanting. I need a mantra: different isn’t necessarily bad.

Just as I found packing in 2011 difficult, I find it a massive challenge again. One would think that having been there before, I would know exactly what to take. But no, I still pick things up and think; “Could I use this? How much does it weigh? Can I get one while I am there?” and I am stumped every time. No idea what to pack. I also battle constantly with the idea of simply filling up my suitcase with marshmallows and peanut butter, because what more does a girl need?

Despite all my moaning, fears and worries, there are of course several things that play to my advantage being an “old-hand” at travelling around Georgia. I already speak enough Georgian to get where I want to be with relative ease. I will know where I am most of the time, and where to find vital things like chocolate. Most importantly, I know the words, “me ar minda…” which means “I don’t want…”.

Another thing I am interested in, just to bring my actual reasons for going into this, is one of the new textbooks The Ministry of Education introduced at the beginning of the school year. Last year I only had two school days before I had to return home, so I have not yet had a chance to put it through its paces. I saw it; it was red, shiny and full of pictures – three important aspects to ensure perfection! No, I jest, but I am truly excited to use it.

So, while I have both worries and challenges, I also have many things to look forward to. I don’t regret choosing to go back. I know the whole thing will only be as excellent as I choose to make it.

Basically, if I can do to Georgia what others do to zombies (visit twice, that is), then Georgia surely warrants at least one visit. So why don’t you? Right now.