Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TLG Orientation Days 2-4

Well, our orientation has gotten much less exciting since my last post. We have very little free time during the day due to the... orientation. Our first three days have gone like this:

8-9: Breakfast
9-10: Orientation
10-12: Intercultural Training
12-12:15: Coffee Break
12:15-2: Intercultural Training
2-3:30: Lunch/ Break
3:30-5:30- Georgian Class
5:30-5:45- Coffee Break
5:45-7:15- Georgian Class
7:15- Dinner and free time
12:00 - curfew

If you're wondering how my Georgian is coming along, I suppose I speak as well as anyone who's been here for four days can. We've learned quite a few phrases and I'm trying to keep track of them in a small notebook that I can carry around with me. It is helping me to speak, but not really helping me remember the phrases. I've probably got about half the alphabet down, but learning the Georgian alphabet is much more challenging than learning Hangul was. There are way more letters and it's more like Roman letters in that there is no real rhyme or reason for their shape. They all just look like squiggly lines to me.  Fortunately there are no capital letters or then I'd really be in trouble.

We're all jet lagged and in information overload.  By the time our free time comes we're not all that excited about exploring. Finally, last night, we made our way out of the hotel and into town for the first time since Saturday. We wondered around without much purpose, we had no idea where we were or what we wanted to do. But we happened to get out of the Marshutka (minibuses/vans that serve the city, no large buses like other cities) in a rather hip looking (but deserted) area which seemed to be a rather international district. We wandered into a restaurant without knowing what it was and found out it was Uzbeki food. But, it was delicious and not very expensive (though quite a bit more expensive than Georgian food) and then we moved on to a Moroccan hookah bar down the street. It seemed a bit overpriced at 30 lari ($18 USD) for the hookah, but we split it between 4 people so it wasn't too bad. We could never have afforded to eat there though, most of the dishes on the menu were the same price as the hookah! In a country where a giant meat filled dumpling costs $0.35 USD at a nice restaurant, it seems a bit exorbitant.

 Statue at the end of the hip, international street

We still don't know where we're going to be placed in Georgia, though we've been told that the greatest need is in rural parts of the western side of the country, so many of us may wind up there. I'm not to concerned about it now. I'll be concerned once I figure out where I'm actually staying. With my luck I'd freak out and wind up in a perfectly normal place. 

Uzbek dumplings and Georgian Beer

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