I was sitting in the Instanbul Airport, and already I felt like everything is already so complicated. The simplicities of no television, having a single choice and not having to understand this pop culture society I left behind. I stayed in Khashuri, it isn’t the greatest place, it had its challenges and there is simply nothing to do, but seeing these people in the airport move like ants to the colony, could I have been the lesson that Khashuri was trying to teach me???
All along I was the foreigner, I was the ‘Special One’, but in truth, I was missing the simplicities that made life worth living……
I am not some self-righteous guy TRYING to say that Khashuri changed my life, I am saying that Khashuri changed my life. Was it Khashuri though? Was it being back in South Africa? Maybe nothing changed me, maybe it was there all along and the only change that took place was being able to see it?
Either way, I am back home in South Africa and now I begin to adapt to the difficulties of transportation, the expenses of our highly inflated food, and the obvious prejudice that disables South African society, the baggage of our recent past.
The days go by and from every person that I meet, from family to friends, I am asked questions of how Georgia was, tell us about Georgia, tell us about living there, tell us about what the people are like? And I realize for the first time, that the entire point of this program was for this moment right here, this moment where I become an ambassador for Georgia.
Having been all over the world, noticing certain similarities between many of the countries that I have visited based on the globalization of western culture, I could confidently say that Georgia was unlike any other place you could have ever been to.
The people, the drinking, the traditions, but most of all, the unity amongst the people, the way they take care of each other, love each other. Then I am asked what the negatives are, and I respond saying when has that ever mattered?
In every new place, each person you meet and the relationships that you create, you will undoubtedly leave there having grown and realized things about life and yourself.
I learnt that whether you are in Africa, America, Europe…poverty looks the same, struggle looks the same and until you step out and broaden your horizons, it will only look the way that you see it in your own environment, and until you know what it feels like to be without, you will never understand the incredible value of what it means to have all the things and opportunities you have in your life.
We know all the cliches of love, happiness, success etc. While in Georgia I learnt that all those things are simply attainable and real, as soon as you strip away the excessiveness, the fears within our societies and you simplify your entire life.
My time in Georgia was a roller coaster ride full of horrible moments and beautiful memories. I fought the mental battle with Turkish Toilets and snowboarded at the cost of nothing for the first time. I taught them English and they taught me everything else Georgian.
I sit here at home in South Africa, loving the weather, loving the wildlife, loving the time with my family and missing the boundless possibilities that Georgia had given me….’I am a foreigner’, in Georgia, that translates to- “ He can be and do whatever he wants to, unbound by social conformity without feeling uncomfortable and we love him ANYWAY”…. well that was MY interpretation anyway and damn, I miss that!!!!
Live. Laugh. Love