Wednesday, May 20, 2015

First Day in Tbilisi

Welcome to Georgia!

Wooooooooo so excitinggggggg

But anyway, someone from my work had agreed to pick me up from the airport at 6 am,  but due to some struggles, I landed at 3 am (the next day) and didn't want her to have to suffer for my mistake so I just told her to come at 6. So I waited 3 hours in the airport, and let me tell you it was not fun. 
she had a fan club. and balloons

That moment when you walk out of customs and those automatic doors slide open and there are like 50 people waiting there with signs and balloons all smiles and hugs, and you know there's no one waiting for you...kind of sucks. And as you walk through the crowd, you keep you eyes down but you know every person waiting is searching you, at least for a brief second, long enough to determine you're not the one they're waiting for. 

After I made my way through that mess, I went and sat down on one of the lovely, ergonomic, traveler-approved, small metal benches! (*sarcasm*) This alerted all the taxi drivers to my alone-ness and every few minutes someone would come up and ask me if I needed a taxi. About 2 and a half hours in, these guys started really bugging me, like "hey, you look so tired (yeah, been traveling for 3 days, no duh), you should rest (I'm  trying, but you won't shut up), I can drive you to a hotel, come on, you need a taxi, there's a good hotel near here, blah blah blah." Finally 6 am arrived and my savior, Nino, appeared backlight by the sunrise like a Georgian angel of sleeeeeep. I was a bit delirious.
the airport had an Oculus virtual reality thing

So Nino and her friend with a car, Luka, took me to my new home. Nino is tall, gorgeous, speaks good English, 23, and hopefully my new best friend...haha I think she's kind of my supervisor, but I'm not really sure yet
Luka drove an old Mercedes, and when I went to buckle up, both of them immediately yelled, "no! no, you don't need that here, only the people in the front have to wear it"
I really wanted to wear it because Georgian drivers are crazy, but they seemed to be offended when I suggested it might be a good idea just for safety (I also suspect the clasp thing was broken).

My house is awesome. Tiny, but awesome. I don't think I'll be doing a lot of entertaining, it's bigger than my dorm but not by much. I have a little baby kitchen, a nice bathroom/laundry room, and an all-purpose room with a loveseat, bed, coffee table, TV, and two huge closets. The house is brand spanking new, no one else has ever lived there! It's kind of weird, because it's on the ground floor of a kind of apartment building, but it's not in the building. I have my own front door (even with a mini stoop and porch light!), so I'm calling it a house, not an apartment. The best thing about it is the location- awesome place in the city center, on a quiet street but just steps away from the main avenue and lots of cool shops and restaurants. My neighbors/landlords/new family are the absolute best. My apartment came with:
view from kitchen window
  • Sick views
  • Bar of soap
  • Bed sheets/duvet/pillow
  • Ash tray and lighter (lol)
  • Curtains on all the windows
  • Toilet paper
  • Couch, bed, TV, coffee table, washing machine
  • Heater (which I'm tempted to turn on, my place is freezing)
  • Fridge/freezer
  • Kitchen stuff
o   Trashcan and trash bags

o   A few tea bags

o   Instant coffee

o   Some utensils

o   Knife block with 6 colorful steak knives

o   Wooden spoon, spatula, slotted spatula, and tongs

o   Two glass tea cups and saucers

o   Salt and sugar

o   Small tuperware

o   11 small porcelain plates, 3 slightly bigger plates, 2 bowls

o   A bunch of other glass cups

o   Turkish coffee maker (I think that's what this thing is?)

o   Small frying pan

o   Pot

o   Sponge

o   Paper towels

o   Dish towel

o   Dish soap

o   “sponge cloth”

o   Clothes pins

o   Metal fruit/bread basket

o   Chainik

My landlords are a couple, I guess in their early 40s, with three kids. Also, the dad is kind of famous, apparently he's the 'voice of Georgia' because he does a lot of dubbing for TV and movies, and he acts on TV and in theater. His oldest daughter is also a budding superstar. I think Ani is a year younger than me, and she was on the Georgian Voice and has just been accepted to X-Factor! Their son, Luka, is maybe 15, shy, and speaks English but got so flustered when he met me, he forgot the word for "mom" haha and their youngest, Natali, is freaking adorable and already loves me (she told me so). 

I learned all this about the family on my first night, when I was unpacking, watching TV,  and around midnight music starts to come from outside. I peeked out my window and saw like 15 people gathered around a little table in the yard, and they had pulled a car up and played the radio loud with the windows down for a sound system. At about 12:30, they sang happy birthday to someone, and then a woman started singing some pop songs in English (I later found out that was Ani). Around 1 am I got a knock on my door. I answer, barefoot, and a man in his mid-40s comes into my house, smiling, introduces himself in English and literally pulls me out the door. He was so excited that he didn't notice I wasn't wearing shoes, and I was trying to tell him but he thought I was just resisting coming to the party, until someone yelled at him in Georgian and he let go of my arm so I could go slip some shoes on haha
This character is Malkhaz. He speaks pretty good English, and is hilarious. He owns some kind of construction company, and has a big 3 story house with a pool in some outskirt of Tbilisi that I got vaguely invited to, and owns two apartments in the building- one in which lives only his pet rottweiler. He also has an adorable little daughter and a son Luka's age who fell off a quad bike a few days ago and basically broke his whole he was wearing a mask like Bane from Batman.
There were lots of other characters, only two of which (Malkhaz, and a cool woman whose name I forget) spoke English, but once I revealed that I spoke Russian, they all go so excited and animated, like, "oh my gosh! how come you didn't tell us? we've been struggling with English this whole time! Russian! My darling, Russian! Of course!" and a bunch of stuff like that. I never like saying "I speak Russian" because I don't want people to think I actually speak fluently and then get disappointed when I can't understand them or forget words or make 10 million grammar mistakes. The man there with the strongest Georgian accent and most broken Russian kept telling me I need to practice my grammar, so that was fun...
But the whole night was honestly awesome. They gave me beer, and toasted to me with some kind of cool Georgian chanting toast. They had apparently made bets as to what I would be like. All they knew is that I was American and working for Parliament, so Malkhaz bet that I would be fat and boring with glasses, Goga (landlord) bet that I would be awesome (he won the bet), the "jokey donkey" (nickname from Malkhaz) from Kakheti bet that I would have long legs (also won), and another guy bet I would be black. hahhahaa 
They said the whole courtyard is like a family, that they have parties like that all the time when the weather is nice, and that I'm always invited! I'm so lucky that I ended up in this cool place, with these people who are so welcoming, funny, and kind.
I can't wait to see what other adventures are in store!

one of the many fancy cars in my yard (Mercedes)

Government building I can see from my window

My yard

My front door is the white one on the left!

my room))

Yard kitten- she let me pet her!

No comments:

Post a Comment