Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You Know You're In Tbilisi, When...

Note: I started this post summer 2015 and then forgot about it...now it's summer 2016 and I am rather unexpectedly back in Tbilisi! So I decided to finish it and share it  ;)
a nice, unrelated picture of books for sale in Tbilisi

First, an amusing anecdote: the other day I was in my yard drinking beer and eating sunflower seeds with my neighbors, and one of them found out I was leaving in 3 weeks. She got very upset, because I guess my daily "gamarjoba"s (hello) are pretty exciting...I told her I needed to leave in order to finish my degree, and she smiled again "oh, just that? we have universities here! You have to stay and go to university here. Don't you like Georgia? Don't you want to stay? We can find you a husband." I told her maybe I would be back in two years and we can find me a husband then, and she said then (at 23) I will already be too old hahahaa
old maid on Georgian Independence Day 2016

Anyway, without further ado, here is:

You Know You're in Tbilisi, When...
  • You greet a friend, and he leans forward to kiss you, but you don't realize what he's doing, so you leave him awkwardly standing with his neck stretched out...
  • Half the locals swear you can drink the tap water and the other half is certain it is toxic
    semechki vending machine
  • The college-neighborhood pizza place closes at 10 pm, but the khachapuri and shwarma stands are open past midnight
  • Your entire office smells like semechki (sunflower seeds)
  • Most of your colleagues' days are organized around cigarette breaks in the hallways
  • Making out in public is punishable by $50 fine (allegedly)
  • Walking anywhere usually involves as much time in the middle of the street as the sidewalk
  • Crossing the road is a daring leap  frantic scamper of faith 
  • Little kids try to sell you cigarettes
    taking a nap in the shade in the fountain
    in front of Parliament
  • People on the metro/at Didube are selling plastic straws, paper icon cards, hand fans, power strips, books, bananas/weird chocolate, homemade savory pastries, children's toys, random small car parts, clothes pins (I have personally seen all these things)

  • You are nervous to eat outside at Entree because Roma kids will come up and beg or steal your food off your plate
  • You have nearly run into people on the sidewalk outside a church when they stop to cross themselves
  • News of a new burger or pizza place spreads through the expat community like wildfire
  • It's 36C/97F and everyone is still wearing jeans and all black
  • At the end of August the city miraculously re-fills with extremely tanned people coming back from weeks on the Black Sea coast
  • The smell of cigarette smoke and street dust has seemingly permanently embedded itself in your hair
  • The first question you ask someone is what neighborhood they live in, in order to asses their social status
    • Unless you're talking to foreign girls, then the questions are: 
      • Do you like Georgia?
      • Do you like Georgian food?
      • Do you like Georgian men?
      • Are you married? I have a son/brother/cousin/myself...
  • Wine is for boys, shots are for girls
  • Half the things you eat/drink come in old Coke or ketchup bottles (homemade wine, cognac, tkemali, ajika)
    kids playing "supra"
  • In absolutely any situation, if a phone rings, it will be answered - on the bus, an international conference call, a play, dinner with a friend.
  • When a 25 year old is constantly answering calls from his/her parents about where they are, who they're with... (since young people generally live with their parents until marriage, they are also not very independent)
  • When you start to see the same strangers around the city again and again
...and in the end, among all the chaos and noise and confusion and beauty and love and food and people and colors - you love your city

For more things people living in the former Soviet Union identify with, check out this post on Second World Problems.

peace out, homies
Also, I work for STA Travel, so #starttheadventure !!!! (I don't think hashtags do anything on blogs, but it's worth a shot)

    No comments:

    Post a Comment