American Saqartvelo

Posted on January 25, 2013 by

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In my last post, I wrote about the things I’ll miss in Georgia. I’ll get to why that’s important, in a minute.

Now that the holidays are nearly over, I’ve been looking for jobs and apartments. I’m relocating to Iowa City, Iowa, home of the University of Iowa, where I plan to eventually go to graduate school for literary translation. (Whether I’ll focus on Georgian or Russian literature remains to be seen. Maybe I’ll do both!)

Imagine my surprise when, in one of the housing ads I looked at, I saw a Georgian flag framed on the living room wall! Of course, I contacted the landlord right away and explained that I’d just spent a year in Georgia. (Fun fact: he is also now my landlord.) It turns out that he and his family are originally from Tbilisi, but have been living in the U.S. for quite a few years.  They’ve been very generous so far—they even invited me to their family’s New Year’s celebration!

I was also interested to learn that they’re not the only Georgian family in the area—there are ten. It’s like a little Kartuli enclave, right in the middle of the Midwest. And, they aren’t the only Georgians in Iowa. Last January (an entire year ago, wow), I met with some Georgians in my great aunt’s little town three hours to the north, and they were able to alleviate most of my fears about moving abroad. All of the Georgians I’ve met in the United States so far have been just as friendly, hospitable, and welcoming as those back in Georgia, and I really appreciate that.

[Here comes some cliched cheesiness, for which I apologize.]

Even though I’ll always be homesick for somewhere else, it’s comforting to know that the world isn’t quite as big as it used to be. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to spend a year in Georgia, for all of my wonderful (and some not-so-wonderful) experiences, and for all the people I’ve met along the way. I feel very blessed, and I can’t wait to go back!