Between going to two conferences in the last month, lots of other things have been going on that I’ve neglected to blog about:
My host sister’s birthday
My younger host sister, Nutsa, turned eight years old on November 20th. To celebrate, we had a small supra with family, friends, and neighbors. The highlight of the supra was the gigantic glitter torti (type of cake for that is usually eaten for birthdays and at wedding). Nutsa got a bike from her parents and now rides the bike all over the village every day. I gave her some English books (including Cat in the Hat) that we’ve slowly been working our way through together.
Nutsa blowing out the candles on her torti
The girls of the family, plus our neighbor, Anastasia (the little one)
I have successfully started my first after school activity! My English club for students in grades 7 through 12 meets for an hour once a week. The number of students that come varies from week to week, but as many as twenty students have come to the club. I plan different activities for each week– we have talked about Thanksgiving, talked about and listened to different genres of music, played games to learn articles of clothing, and more. So far the club is quite a hit!
My first Georgian funeral
It’s been a strange and sad past week– my host dad’s brother passed away on Tuesday. There was a wake at my host grandmother’s house (where he lived) for several days and the funeral was yesterday. Visitation began around noon yesterday and dozens of family members, friends, and neighbors came by to pay their last respects. Around 4 o’clock, the priest came and we all walked to the cemetery. The service was short– the priest said some prayers, lit incense, and sprinkled holy water. Afterwards, we walked back to my host grandmother’s house where a gigantic supra was laid out. The idea of having a feast and toasting immediately following the funeral was a bit strange to me, but it is a Georgian tradition. Even more peculiar was that the tomada (toast master) for this supra was the priest . . . not something that happens in America. It was a long and gloomy day, but being living with a host family here means that you experience all of its ups and downs alike.
And not wanting to end this blog post on a depressing note, the rest of December is looking pretty bright. Only four more days of school until I head to Tbilisi for a Life Skills meeting and to spend a few days in the city. And a week from now I head off to Sri Lanka for ten days. Vacation time is almost here!