Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One year in Georgia - Random stories and events

April 6th marked our 1 year anniversary of living in Georgia (if you don't count the 4 months I was in the US for the birth of Kyra). In the past year we have seen some of the most beautiful places, eaten some of the most delicious food, met some of the most wonderful people and have generally enjoyed our first foray into living and working overseas.

We've met the President of the US (and his wife and Condi Rice and other assorted Congress-people), we've partied with the finest Marine detachment, formed friendships with people from all over the globe - Australia, Dominican Republic, Nepal, Belize, Honduras, Wales and Switzerland just to name a few.

We have welcomed a new child into our life - a surprise blessing that we are ever so grateful for. She has (and I hate to be sappy here, but dammit, it's true) "completed" our family in the most amazing way. We have watched while our first born has matured from toddler to confident young man at the tender age of (almost) 4. We are thrilled with our two kids on a daily basis - even when life gets hectic and kids are cranky - they always do or say something that makes us stop and appreciate them. With Kyra it may just be a big smile or the beginnings of a giggle (she is just now starting to laugh - it still startles her a bit when she does it). With Blaine, it could be any one of the hundred times he is doing his "mommymommymommymommymommy" chant, and, exasperated, I say "WHAT" and he replies "I love you!". (Which also has the power to make me feel incredibly guilty for getting exasperated with him).

Every day during the week Blaine goes to school now. He loves his school and is so happy there. It is an amazing little place that has just opened a block from our house. I walk him to school every morning when the weather permits and home again in the afternoon. Our little walk has allowed us to meet more neighbors and, though our ability to speak the language is limited, we enjoy "chatting" with them all. There is one lady in particular who we see every day - she makes and sells fresh bread from her home. There is a little window in the door facing the street and for 50 tetri (about 25 cents) you can buy a fresh (usually still warm) piece of "poulri" - Georgian flat bread. Blaine has learned how to ask for bread in Georgian "Erti poulri" (one bread) and how to say thank you (Gmadloba). The lady adores him and thinks it is so cool that this little American kid is trying so hard to assimilate. We stop every day on the way home and buy bread from her - it has become our ritual. She looks forward to seeing us and we look forward to seeing her as well.

When my parents were here visiting my mom said to me "You will come back here someday, won't you?" I hadn't really thought about it prior to her saying that, but after thinking about it, I know that I will. I have fallen in love with this country, with the people, the crazy traffic, the odd buildings and houses, the supras and the crumbling infrastructure. I can't imagine the great things the Georgian people will accomplish in the next 10 or 20 years, but I can't wait to see what happens. A small part of me feels "Georgian" - no time more evident then during the winter Olympics this year as the lone Georgian athlete, a female figure skater, competed. I cheered louder for her than I did for any of the Americans competing and was so proud when she did well. She embodies the Georgian spirit - fearless and determined. If you don't believe me, come to Georgia and go for a drive here. No where are the Georgians more fearless and determined than when they are behind the wheel of a car.

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