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Peace Corps: Georgia

Giving Thanks

Every Thanksgiving, my family goes around the table and each person says one thing they are thankful for before we begin our meal. This year, I will not be home to participate in this tradition, but this doesn’t mean I can’t say what I am thankful for.

Things I am thankful for in Georgia:

1. My host families. I have been lucky enough to have lived with two amazing host families in the past six months. My PST family, though very small, was very supportive while I muddled through conversations in Georgia and adjusted to my new life. I went back to Ruispiri to visit Tsiana and Soso for a night this past weekend and they were very excited to see me. We spent the night chatting away in Georgian and they were impressed by how much my Georgian had improved. They were disappointed I had to come for such a short visit, but I promised to come back again soon for a longer visit.

My host family in Bakhvi is very different from my host family in Ruispiri, but I enjoy living with them. It has taken some adjustment for us all to get used to each other, but now I’m really beginning to feel like part of the family. My host mom still insists I don’t eat enough, but at least now she has figured out what I do and do not eat. My 7 year-old host sister, Nutsa, is the family member I spend the most time with. We study English together (I also teach her class) and usually spend the evenings teaching each other new games and playing.

2. The unseasonably warm weather this fall. If you know me well, you know I am a wimp when it comes to the cold. When I found out I was coming to Georgia, I instantly panicked about the cold winter, especially because of the harsh winter last year. However, the cold seems to have yet to set in. The nights are chilly, but the days are still warm. I know winter has to come some time soon, but for now, I’m enjoying the last of the warmer weather.

Bakhvi’s church in November

My school in November

3. My students. Sometimes, my students drive me nuts (e.g. when they scream “hello!” at me a hundred times a day, when every student in the 7th grade talks the entire lesson, when students steal markers and pens from my classroom). But generally, I have great students, especially in the lower grades. They are constantly giving me hugs and goodbye kisses, little presents like sweets or fruit, and drawings that say mikvarhar (I love you). One girl in the six grade even wrote me a long letter about how much she loves my classes and me. That letter put a big smile on my face for a long time.

9th graders who participated in the school’s spelling bee

10th & 12th graders

4. My puppies. As a huge dog-lover, I was very happy when my host family got two puppies this summer. I think my host dad is training them to be hunting dogs, but I appreciate them for their companionship. I try to show my host family how we treat dogs in the US (i.e. not kicking them), but still find myself yelling in Georgian at the puppies when they sneak into the kitchen, where they are not allowed. When the weather is nice, the puppies and I spend lots of time reading and cuddling on the swing (which, of course, they aren’t allowed on) outside.

5. Amenities. Peace Corps Georgia is considered “posh corps.” We don’t have to be afraid of black mambas coming in our huts, walk three miles to the nearest town, have no running water, and more. When I signed up for the Peace Corps, I accepted the fact that I may have no real toilet, shower, or electricity for two years. However, with my placement in Georgia and my host family’s house, I have all three. And I am very thankful every day. Along the same lines, I am very grateful to have regular internet access here. It makes communicating with friends and family back home much easier and helps me miss everyone less.

6. All-Vol Conference. I spent the entire last week at the training compound in Bazaleti (where I originally had my orientation) for the All-Volunteer Conference. Though a lot of serious work was done, I really enjoyed it because I got to see lots of fellow PCVs. For the first two days, I attended several Georgian lessons and cultural classes. The last day I attended volunteer-led sessions (and led a session on yoga), was elected onto the Life Skills Committee, and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with over 80 volunteers, PC staff, and the American ambassador to Georgia. It was a really nice break from school and made me realize how happy and thankful I am to be in Peace Corps Georgia!

Georgia PCVs



5 thoughts on “Giving Thanks

  1. OK, this one made me cry. We are also thankful for your great families there, the puppies of course, and that you are doing something you love. Also, thanks to Mark for braving the unknown to be close to you and giving you a break from Georgian all the time. Also very thankful for the internet since I know we’d never get real mail from you, but glad our packages are getting there in a speedy 2 weeks now! Most thankful of all when we get a new blog entry!

    Posted by Mom | November 18, 2012, 11:32 AM
  2. Yay, a new blog entry!

    I had no idea Georgia had palm trees! Love the Fall pictures. I am glad you have puppies, modern amenities, and internet too! And Mark to keep you company! 😛

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Posted by Holly | November 18, 2012, 2:29 PM
  3. Brittany, we are, and certainly I am, very grateful that you are doing something you enjoy and love and that you have a caring and loving environment in Georgia with your families, school, the PCVs, the PC and of course having Mark nearby. Also, I’m really glad and thankful that you are not all that far away through the much beloved Blogs email and Skype. Force-feeding when eating less than the target amount of food is something your grandmother used to try to do as well, so while you might not remember well, nonetheless you have practiced ressistance to that before…

    Posted by Steve | November 19, 2012, 10:27 AM
  4. This was a wonderful post – your pictures make your town look quite picturesque…definitely more so than Mark’s village. I love “Posh Corps”…Jean probably told you that in the Dominican Republic, it was “Peace Corps Lite”. I took a lot of ice cold showers there! Anyway, reading your blog posts always make me feel a little closer to Mark. Despite a wonderful Skype session yesterday, I am seriously in need of giving him a big long hug. Please help me out with that!

    Posted by Leslie | November 19, 2012, 8:16 PM


  1. Pingback: Two Years | brittanyinwanderlust - May 2, 2014

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