It was Saturday. I was sitting in my pajamas, in the lounge when a troupe of musicians waltzed through the door, looking for somewhere to rest their heads that night. A matching set of Irish TLGers and a British one. I was sad to tell them that we had no space. They took the news well and then told us that they would be playing a few ditties down at one of the relatively new Irish pubs in town. I was interested! Turns out that they had been there a few times and got to know the owner, he had asked them if his pub was authentic Irish, and they said it sure was, all it was lacking was some live music – he said “oh okay then you can come play for us”. (This is a very paraphrased story) So I promised them I would see them later, and they went to search out alternative accommodation. Sounded like a plan for Saturday night.
Seems that it was meant to be an international day, as I was then invited to go to the rugby match taking place later that day – Georgia vs Japan. What a great day it was panning out to be.
It was a glorious autumn day, the sun had made an appearance and while it was still a little, shall we say, mild, there were many many people out to support Sakartvelo and I was one of them. One thing I wish to mention with regards to national sports, and cultural events in this country is that they are so fantastically cheap and accessible to everyone. It makes my heart glad and makes me understand their sense of immense national pride. I think if I had access to international games for less than around $3.00(US) I would have attended all the matches ever and been the proudest supporter in the world, but back home, it costs an arm, a leg and 2 kidneys to see a lot of the good teams play and so it is not common to go to all the matches. If you are in Georgia, try your best to go and see at least one international sports match. They happen fairly often and are so entertaining.
But I digress…
We got into the stadium a little late, as there were many people meandering about looking for seats and friends, and the match had already begun. I had the great joy of being at the match with several Americans who had never been to a live rugby match before, and it was really fun to be able to explain what was happening. I would say explaining the rules, but I am a girl, I know how it works, but I can’t really explain rules. I have been watching rugby since I was a child, I have absorbed the general idea but can’t name a single position or what “knock on” means. Either way, I think that I helped give them a general idea and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
It was a tight match with Georgia pulling ahead almost instantly, only to get caught in the second half, the teams were even for the majority of the second half and then in the final seconds of the game Japan drop kicked a goal putting then into the lead and allowing them a very close victory. There were many very disappointed and upset Georgians leaving the stadium, although one could not be too sad, as it was quite an exciting match, regardless of the outcome, but I did spy a man or two smashing their fists into walls and such. Sporting passion at its finest.
We decided that because it was such a crisp and fine day, we would walk from the stadium near Vake Park, down to the old town where the band would be playing later that evening. I was feeling exhausted and exhilarated all at once and was keen to hear the band play.
The pub was great, and to our close knit community credit, many many TLGers came out to support the guys and girls who were playing. It was a very happy occasion, and it was nice to see such a broad spectrum of volunteers there, from the old-timers, to the ones who had arrived a month ago. We were all there to have a good time.
The band was great, playing a vast variety, from my personal favourite, Mumford and Sons, to a rousing rendition of Outkast’s Hey Ya!, to some foot tapping Irish folk songs. It was lovely to seem them having such fun, using talents that I sometimes forget TLGers outside of being EFL teachers.
It made me nostalgic of course. This is my community. I fit in here, everyone has something in common which binds us, and in just under 4 weeks, I will be leaving this behind. I will be a member of the world, a solitary entity again and I think I will miss it. It’s cozy in a sense, belonging and being united by a common cause, but also being able to let our hair down a bit together and having fun.
I went home at midnight, as work was calling, but everyone else seemed to just be getting started. I sat on the couch and couldn’t help but allow a sad smile to flit across my face. I often think of being in Georgia as being outside of reality. I don’t have debts/tax/mortgage/medical aid/insurance to deal with. I teach English and have fun. This has been my life for almost two years, and I am scared to be leaving it, to be leaving Never Never Land, where we have fun, watch rugby, go to pubs to watch live bands, travel on weekends, and generally live a fairly care-free life. This was just one weekend in a series of great moments I will cherish as I make my way through life. It couldn’t last forever but it was nice while it did.