Mid-May

Posted on May 14, 2012 by

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It’s mid-May, and the end of the school year is a month away. Volunteers who are leaving Georgia – for vacation or forever – already have their flight itineraries. Now commences the countdown. 30 days until I probably never see this friend again. 33 days for this other friend. Some people are eager to go home. Some are sad to leave. I can’t even imagine leaving, so I’m staying. Next year will be my third. I’ll make new friends and they’ll leave again. This is bittersweet.

It’s mid-May, and the heat in the afternoons is enough that riding the bus down Chavchavadze Avenue in Tbilisi means I’ll sweat if I’m just sitting there. I usually opt to walk, these days. Now the kids all get ice cream after school – 80 tetri for a cone, up from 50 last year. Inflation. Now the classroom heat is unbearable unless the doors and windows are open, which makes the noise unbearable. We switch back and forth and we sweat through our shirts and we talk over the noise and we bear it.

It’s mid-May, and the school year is winding down. End-of-year performances will happen soon. Excursions are happening now. National exams will soon take over the school – in my school, this will alter schedules and reroute hallway traffic. This year, our students aren’t old enough to take the National Exams, so our lives will be a little less disrupted. Some of our teachers will struggle to finish as much of the book as possible. Others will cast about trying to find filler in case they finish the book early. Students’ attention will be on summer, and so will ours. “Only five more weeks”, we will say. Soon, “only four more weeks.”

It’s mid-May, and we’re making our summer plans. Some of us hope to go to the camps on the Black Sea, where the coastal breeze and the swimming will help us cope with the summer heat. Some of us hope to go to Buckswood, in Tskneti, where the crisp mountain air will have us wearing thick coats at night despite being close enough to Tbilisi that you can actually see it. Some of us will go to our countries, some to other countries. Some of us will experience how weirdly empty Tbilisi seems in the summer. I don’t yet know exactly what I will be doing this summer, but I know that I will be here, in Georgia. I have plans to move to Kutaisi, and if my memory serves me, Kutaisi is a bit cooler in the summer than Tbilisi – or, at least, it was in 2010. But the timing and the details are still up in the air – after all, it’s only mid-May.

It’s mid-May, and everything is in flux. We will try to catch our breath between the grind of winter and the glory of summer. We will watch the pollen float down from the trees and bask in the warm sun and the cool breeze. We will hike and we will run and we have picnics and have fun. We will play softball in Temka and visit the Kazbegi wall on the Mtkvari and wish we were drinking Kasri or Argo instead. The air is full of Spring and possibilities and there is much to do and time is running out and we are stopping to smell the flowers and this is a good thing. Mid-May is contradictions, it’s the meeting of opposites, it’s a transition and a pause in transitions.

It’s mid-May, and to me, it seems like the most Georgian time of the year.

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