Never Underestimate The Consequences of Boredom

Posted on March 30, 2012 by

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For many TLG teachers, life in one of Georgia’s thousands of villages has become part of the experience. No longer do cows blocking traffic, chickens becoming dinner, horses pulling logs, water disappearing, and families living in the pechi room bother us; it’s part of the routine. Throughout the winter, however, I have encountered a part of village life I was not anticipating – endless amounts of free time.

When it is too cold to go outside, and the only thing to do in my village is play backgammon with the men on the streets, I can either become insanely good at backgammon or go crazy with boredom. Since I’m a woman, backgammon-playing with the men is out of the question, so I am discovering new ways to keep myself busy. For Christmas, my mom sent me a package (USA2Georgia is my best friend) that included an embroidered blanket kit. I downloaded the classic novels I’ve avoided in the past onto my e-reader. I studied Georgian more regularly, and I began to memorize a Georgian poem. Basically, I became an old woman.

I would suspect that many other volunteers have experienced this same phenomenon. Coming from a life where I was always busy, constantly going somewhere, and wanting more downtime, I was thrilled to finally have it. After approximately 10 minutes of just sitting, however, I knew the thrill would not last; I needed to do something. Knowing other teachers in our various villages are going through this same process, I would like to provide some options for getting through the hours upon hours of sitting.

  1. Take up a hobby. Granted, in a village you will have limited resources, and you’ll have to work with what you have; overall, though, I think it’s a good option. Learn to ride horses, become a master chicken-catcher, or start splitting wood. You’ll have to find the horses when they’re not pulling logs and catch the chickens before they become dinner, but if you’re dedicated to learning, I’m sure you can figure it out.
  2. Improve your mind with literature. Do you realize how many books you could memorize with 9-10 hours each day of free time? Imagine going back home and telling people you memorized the complete works of Jane Austen or that you would love to meet up with them later and quote A Tale of Two Cities. If you’re a guy and want to impress girls, you could memorize the romantic words of the vampire-hero of Twilight.
  3. Learn a language. You’re in Georgia, so Georgian is the obvious choice, but what if you learned Zulu while you are here? I assure you it would be a unique accomplishment. Better yet, why not create your own language? I would advise against teaching it in your classrooms, but you can be the judge of that one.
  4. Start cooking. I already have a cake recipe as well as pictures of the khachapuri-making process. Learn some Georgian dishes and become an expert at them. My Georgian dad is always telling me the businesses I could start in America with Georgian food. Although I had to break it to him that the US government would have a problem with me if I started making wine in the refrigerator-door-and-tarp-covered wooden barrels in my backyard and selling it on the side of the road, he is convinced I can make money with homemade khachapuri and tone bread.

I realize some of these options may seem a bit…extreme, but when I have 10 hours of free time every day (getting home at 1:30 and going to bed around 11:00), extreme measures have been proven to be necessary. Never underestimate the consequences of boredom.

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