From the Red Sea to the Black

Posted on September 1, 2012 by


Hello Everyone!

It’s been about two months since I’ve last posted, and wow! it seems like a lifetime. I’ve spent my summer catching up with my family back in America, and now traveling through Egypt. I’ve had an incredible time so far, and am still thrilled and amazed by my current locale, though I will admit that I’m feeling a little longing for the country that I’ve made a home in. Things are going to be a bit different upon my return to Georgia, I think, as not only will this be my second semester (which brings more comfort with the language and my surroundings, a change in weather, and a better understanding of my role as a teacher) but as I’ll be making the transition from city to village– a choice I couldn’t be more excited about. Here’s a couple things that I’m looking forward to:

  • The location. While I absolutely loved every second of my time spent in Kutaisi, one of the benefits of my move to the village will be the huge mountains that will be surrounding me. The village is nestled in one of the most gorgeous spots I’ve laid my eyes on. As someone who loves to hike and be in nature, nothing could be better than waking up to the quiet sounds of the earth and spending some afternoon free time playing capture-the-flag–a game I hope to introduce to my two new host brothers–in the hills. And guess what else village life means, especially as I’ll be living there in the fall? A harvest. I don’t think I can put into words how happily I am anticipating participating in the gathering of fruits and vegetables from the field and little wine-making.
  • The hospitable nature of Georgians! Again, through traveling here, Turkey, and yes, even America, I’ve noticed an extreme difference in the way that people treat people. While I’ve always appreciated the level of hospitality and kindness I’ve been shown in Georgia, that statement is even more true now that I’ve been removed from it. Unlike Georgia, there is nowhere that I’ve noticed in either America, Egypt, or Turkey where you can be wandering around looking for a place to stay or a bite to eat and be taken in by a complete stranger. There is truly a sense of caring and community in Georgia that I find wonderful. Additionally, I’ve noticed that Georgians are much more patient in taking the time to understand the needs of foreigners, particularly with the language barrier. With my complete lack of Arabic here in Egypt, I’ve been longing for the Georgian willingness to endure I experience every time I painfully stumble over the difficult pronunciation of their language.
  • A change of pace.  I’ve been on the go for the past two months, and very connected to the world. Whether that be in traveling or facebooking, I haven’t had much personal reflection time. I can’t wait to tune out from the outer world and settle in for some relaxation. I plan on using my time in the village–where I will not have wi-fi, unlike my home in Kutaisi– to refocus on the things that are important in life, connect with a new environment, family, and community, and take a breather. Don’t worry–Batumi will be close enough that I can still venture into the city for internet and native-English-speaker-interaction on the weekends. And, of course, blogging!
  •  A new school. I loved my school, students, and co-teachers in Kutaisi, and I am going to miss them very much. I am, however, quite excited to have a fresh start somewhere new. As the countdown to the first day of school begins, and my departure from Egypt nears, I find myself obsessing over all the lessons and activities I have planned. I have a few new things I want to try out with my new students, and I think introducing them first thing at the beginning of the year is going to be a great start to the fall semester. As I mentioned earlier, the second semester brings with it a sense of confidence and understanding of my role as a teacher, and therefore more ease in my ability to lead a classroom and test some new strategies. And, as I’ll be introduced to a school at the beginning of the year instead of halfway through like I was in February, setting a routine right from the get-go of accountability, expectations, and core-goals is going be enjoyable, and hopefully more manageable.

As my internet time is currently limited–I am, after all, in the middle of the desert of Egypt–I’ll conclude by saying that the things I’m most looking forward to are the small, almost unnameable, comforts of home. The familiarity of specifics sights and smells, sounds and foods; the feeling of being able to unpack my clothes, fold them in the closet, and put my suitcase under the bed with the knowledge that it will be remaining there for a comfortable amount of time; for sweatpants and tea, curled up next to the pechi with a book, or watching Georgian Talent; for the foreign language that no longer sounds so foreign. While Egypt, the sunshine, and the Red Sea have treated me well, I can’t wait to once again stroll along the boardwalk of the Black.