Khertvisi Castle, Khertvisi, Georgia

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arrival in Tbilisi and first impressions

The group of 31 Peace Corps volunteers to Georgia, ourselves included, arrived safe and sound in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, on Wednesday, April 28 via a Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul. The flight was great, with some gorgeous views of the Black Sea and, as we approached Georgia, the Caucasus Mountains (snow capped peaks and all!). We were very pleasantly surprised at the airport by a large contingent of Peace Corps staff, who helped us gather our numerous bags and then, very, very happily, loaded them all into the bus for us. As we made our way out past customs, we were next greeted by the U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, the Georgian Deputy Minister of Education and a horde of Georgian press. Never before have I been treated like such a celebrity! It was a little surreal, to be sure.

We left the airport to be whisked through Tbilisi to a restaurant with a fantastic supra, or feast, laid out for us. We ate a number of delicious things whose names we'll surely learn soon and then all started nodding happily and thinking about sleep. Luckily we left the restaurant and went straight to the hotel and straight to sleep.

Now we're staying in a hotel just about 15 minutes' drive from Tbilisi, where we're holding our initial orientation, which includes beginning language classes, health and safety training and checks (getting some nice inoculations!) and other nuts and bolts stuff. On Saturday we will take a bus to Borjomi, a city in the center of the country, where we will hold the next three months of training. As we get more of a chance to move around outside and see some things, we'll take more pictures. For right now, I'm having a small bit of trouble uploading the few shots we've taken so far, but I'll try again later and see if I have more luck.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Almost there

It's come to this.

We lived in our apartment in Arlington for 3 years and 7 months. Just imagine the amount of junk we were able to acquire in that amount of time. It was a lot. Way too much. And now, the apartment is empty (thanks in large part to the great, great help of our mothers!) and all that we have are these just-barely legal weight suitcases and backpacks. Tomorrow morning we head of for the first leg of our adventure, and our flight to Georgia is on Tuesday. Next post will be an honest-to-god Georgia post! I hope you'll read all about it and I hope even more that we actually do a reasonable job updating!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Go Kartli

Sam and Melissa are busy packing and getting ready to head to Georgia, a former Soviet Republic on the Black Sea in the Caucasus Mountains. We will do our best to keep this blog updated with retellings of our experiences. Since hearing about how many books (lots), comic books (more than lots) and kitchen gadgets (not really that many, given our microkitchen) we've had to pack might not be of interest to the more discriminating of readers, we'll update a bit here and there until departure with information on Georgia. What better way to get facts than from the uninformed.

First, on names. This blog is named "Go Kartli" because Kartli was the name of the historical region that today makes up a major portion of the country we call Georgia, but which Georgians call Sakartvelo (საქართველო). It is also a blatant rip off of the very clever parties our friend Carrie would hold in Reston, which she dubbed "Mario Kartli" wherein we would drink large amounts of Georgian wine while playing MarioKart. I'll never be as clever as Carrie, but as long as I can keep stealing ideas from her, I don't need to be.

Second, why are we going to Georgia and what will we be doing there? We have joined the Peace Corps and will be working with the English as a Second Language (ESL) program in a secondary school in Georgia, volunteering for two years.

Third, have you seen how crazy the Georgian alphabet is? We're not exactly strangers to funky letters and squiggles, but check this out:

So let's all work on getting that alphabet down and we'll keep posting and hopefully you'll keep reading.