drew's blog

halloween heimlich

October 29, 2010
Leave a Comment

So I don’t know what’s happening with my homestay situation.  I called my program coordinators 8 days ago and I’m still awaiting an update.  In the mean time things seem to be working themselves out & maybe, just maybe I’ll stay.  I don’t know if its because she finally understood that I had food poisoning & had been extremely sick or if its because I put $25 in an envelope on the kitchen table when no one was looking or if its because of something else entirely, but Marika has been very kind towards me the last few days.  For now, I still plan on switching, but its subject to change.

My stomach feels fine, but on Monday my head & chest were in such pain.  I think it was from all the stress I put on both while vomiting all of Saturday night.  When my chest got worse on Tuesday I went to see a doctor.  It is free after all.  It wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done though.  My coteacher, Tinico & Marika walked me from clinic to hospital to clinic to pharmacy to clinic to pharmacy to ano0ther pharmacy.  The first trip to the clinic was just a quick check up & when she couldn’t tell what was wrong, she sent me to the hospital where I had a cardiogram taken along with X-rays.  Then it was back to the clinic for a prescription once both of my tests came out fine.  We went to the pharmacy & were told that the doctor at the clinic forgot to sign the necessary form.  We got the signature & returned to the pharmacy where the technician informed us that the pharmacy did not have what I needed.  We went to one more pharmacy which had everything I needed but it took about a half hour to fill.  I received 7 medications in all, most of which are for my stomach which was fine at the time of prescription.  It was my chest that hurt.  They gave me a gel to put on at night to help my breathing.  Anyway, I’m fine & I’ve use maybe 1/10 of the stuff they gave me so its good to know that if I get food poisoning again (and I very well may), I’ll have a lot of stuff to help me get better.  I got it at the worst time too.  I had just been sick with a bad cold the week before.  I’m worried everyone I work with thinks I’m either weak or faking.  Also, I haven’t been to Karate’ in over a week.  I hate that.  Its hard enough to stay committed w/o having a legitimate excuse.

I have been reading & playing guitar a lot more though, which I’ve missed dearly.  I’ve been so busy socializing since I got to Georgia that I haven’t made time for what I thought I’d spend most of my free time doing.  I’m finally settling down though & even starting to reject some Georgia.  Classic stage 2.  I wrote part of a song the other night (might have even been Wednesday).  Its about new beginnings & family; sister mainly but with allusions to cousin Laura.  I hope to share it with ya’ll someday.

Today we celebrated Halloween all day at school.  I was surprised how.. American they were about it.  Many costumes & much make-up were worn.  They were real into it.  My mom sent me a big ol’ box full o’ candy just in time.  The kids couldn’t get enough of it.  They can have it all except for the oreos, rice-crispy treats, & pink starburst.  Those I reserved just for me.  For what used to be my favorite holiday, I’ve had my fill today.  I’ve listened to the same 2 songs all day, had way to much candy, & more than a fair share of scare.  I was standing in the hall waiting to enter the next class & hear the kids sing their songs again.  I was judging decorations & jak-0-lanterns from each class (which didn’t really happen b/c nobody really made anything.. it’s the Georgian way).  I was just about to walk in when I heard a commotion down the way.  I looked to see & it turned out students were calling for me desperately.  Givi, one of my 8th graders was choking on a piece of candy.  He was bent over, I think mostly because he was embarrassed to be choking.  One of the teachers was slapping him on the back without reservation.  From what I can remember, this doesn’t help so I stopped her hand mid slap, stepped behind Givi, put my hands around him, stood him up, placed my fist a little above his belly-button, grabbed with my other hand, & thrust up.  I put a bit more force in the second one, & sure enough, out came the candy.  He had a few more pieces of candy & then went home.

I’ve been invited to the capital this weekend to celebrate, but I don’t think I want to spend $ on a bus & hotel just to watch my friends get drunk.  I think I’ll wait on Tbilisi.  I’ll probably spend the weekend reading & trying to finish m’ song, especially now that I know I was working on it the moment Dylan Gene Swary came into the world.  It feels inspired.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I want to let you know, those planning on seeing me at Christmas, that I will NOT be home.  I miss you more than anything, but I don’t know when I’ll have another opportunity to spend Christmas in Jerusalem.  That’s right.  My program is flying me there & back for free.  I’m currently working out details but I know that I’ll be there for three weeks including Christmas & New Years.  I know that I won’t miss my family more than when I’m sitting in Bethlehem on Christmas eve, but that’s life: bitter/sweet & perfect.

I love you all.  Thanks for your continued support.  I hope to be home for the next Sobota family reunion in mid-late July.  If its in early July, I might have problems getting there in time.  I think we’ll be alright. . . . coming soon: Ship Says.




Posted in Uncategorized

sometimes the blues is just a passing bird

October 25, 2010
1 Comment

I’m officially out of honeymoon phase.  I’ve learned that my host-mother has no clue what her responsibilities are regarding me & my program & I’m not sure she ever cared.  I’m supposed to get 3 meals a day & internet access whenever.  I get maybe 1 meal a day & the computer  twice or thrice a week.  It would be more but my host-sister loves computer games, & I mean LOVES.  I’ve tried to work it out a few times but nothing is changing so I’ve taken action.  I’m switching home-stays.   Marika has enough on her plate anyway.  She’s got a full time job, two kids that she does everything for, & she’s married to Jabba the Hut.  Life in general is rough if things at home are bad.  I called my program Thursday & I will be moved soon.

Other than that, things are good.  I look forward to school everyday.  Some students are learning so much while others are getting left in the dust.  It might be time to do some group work.  I work hard planning lessons and play hard come the weekends.  2 weekends ago I actually went ‘clubbing’ with some friends.  Though, I didn’t know it was clubbing until I was pulled out on the dance floor by some native Georgians.  We danced up a storm.  This weekend, however was one of the worst of my life.  There were plenty of arguments with the host family on Friday & Saturday, & to top it off I spent Saturday night throwing up, shaking, sweating, & diarrheaing from 9-4.  I kid you not, at one point, I thought I was dying.  It must have been the McDonalds I had for breakfast.  I am STILL recovering this afternoon.

Everyone has ups & downs here in Georgia.  I’m mostly up but I’ve had more downs this month than I would have preferred.  David from PeaceCorp. is becoming a good friend & because of his travel experience he’s able to bridge a lot of gaps that are unknown to me.  If I continue to stay busy, things will pass & I’ll move on.  For now though, especially with being so sick this weekend, I feel a little stuck.  Tonight I’ll study Georgian for maybe an hour, play my guitar, read a book, & then go to bed praying I feel better tomorrow.  I will be blogging more often once I feel better.  I’ve met so many good people in the last 3 weeks, but it would take me days to remember & write about them all.  Hopefully some photos will compensate for how poor of an entry this is.

Posted in Uncategorized


October 18, 2010
1 Comment

always look.  HA!

Sorry its been so long but I promise I’ll blog soon.


Posted in Uncategorized

the less I blog, the more I forget

October 5, 2010

(10/4) It’s hard to believe it’s been over a week since my last real entry.  They say time flies when you’re having fun, & that’s true, but I believe I’m more correct in saying, time flies.  That’s not to say I’m not having fun.  I’m having a blast, however, last week was somewhat discouraging.  Until now, I haven’t felt discouraged in the slightest.  But today is Monday; the start of a new week & I’m ready for action.  I have my first karate’ lesson this evening.  They’re $13 a month; 3 lessons a week for about two hours.  Good deal, eh?  My brother Allen from Toronto, or ”Torontodahn” as the locals say(insert dinosaur drawing),  turned me on to it.  He’s been a Kung Fu grasshopper for years.  I’m mostly excited about having solid motivation for getting in better shape.  I bought myself some Qartuli peanut-butter so I can have a source of protein.

On Wednesday, I was privileged to see Romeo & Juliet, Georgian style.  One of my co-teachers invited me.  Her daughter is Juliet & apparently she is a very well known actress.  I got to meet her after the show.  Her name is Nino, like half the females in this country.  The show was pretty awesome.  It was all music & body language, no words.  Imagine that!  Even better than the show was meeting Nino’s husband earlier that week.  He’s a sound engineer/musician.  I was so honored to sit in on a mixing session with him.  He can play guitar as good as Joe Satriani.  And his voice!  Man oh man can that guy sing.  One of his daughters is my student & I can’t help but think how talented she is going to be.  Mommy & Daddy are both such gifted artists.  I suppose that’s not uncommon here.  As I mentioned in 1st week of school & a weekend excursion, Georgians are extremely talented.

On Thursday, a fella from the Peace Corps. arrived.  He’s here to work on projects with the English teachers.  I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated so I ran with that (away from that?).  It was a challenge for me to tell him I look forward to his guidance & direction, because honestly, I don’t.  He’s been standoffish towards me & I think I’ve put too much effort already into figuring out why.  At first I wondered if he thinks he’s my boss or that he needs to think he’s my boss.  Then I just considered that maybe he’s homesick, a tad uncomfortable, & in an adjustment phase.  I don’t care anymore.  I pray we can work together & he doesn’t create any animosity.  Not to mention, the novelty of being the only American walking the halls has departed & that was neat.  David is from Pennsylvania.  He does not like football.

One great thing that reestablishes the feeling of being encouraged is making friends in the city.  With guys, it’s hard to tell if I’m going to be made fun of or taken care of, but with the ladies, I can always, always count on them being wonderful hostesses.  Needless to say, most of my new friends in town are women.  Once that relationship is established, its great because they invite me back & we trade language lessons, & I get sweet deals on merchandise.  I average $9/purchase.

(10/5) As for classes, it’s getting more progressive still, for both me & the students – as it should be.  They’re absorbing more & I’m taking the lead more with each lesson.  Except for 9th grade.  Their teacher knows English very well & her lessons are brilliant.  I think they’re better than anything I could conduct.  I’ve been sounding off here & there when an issue needs correcting, but other than that, I mostly sit & observe.  3rd – 8th is a real fun time.  We talk about travel, holidays, clothes, the weather, music, the weekend, & much more.  It’s great because I’m beginning to spend each lesson talking with them and not reading text that they won’t grasp.  If no one is understanding, then my co-teacher translates & we use the blackboard.  I look forward to evaluating where the children stand come Shobas (Christmas).  The 8th graders are studying a text about the origins of Blues & Jazz music.  They’re such a rambunctious group.  I told them that if they can be quiet on Friday & Monday that I’ll bring in my guitar and sing some blues for them at the end of Monday’s lesson.  So they behaved on Friday but were pretty excited on Monday.  It was fun.  The entire class begged for an autograph afterward.  I was a bit shocked, but so flattered.

I came home after the mini concert & changed for karate.  I was a bit late because I had a hard time finding the place.  Allen had said earlier that the lessons were intense and he’d been getting his butt kicked (by the pain, not by other students).  By the end of this, my first lesson I told him, “You said it kicked your butt.  You didn’t tell me it was a near death experience.”  It was beyond intense.  I don’t think I’ll ever fight in a match because I have so much physical training to endure yet.  I considered myself pretty agile until yesterday.  I hate the workout itself, but love the fact I’m only paying $13/month to bulk up.  One could argue that I could just do it for free at home.  It’s completely different paying for it & having someone there to watch & push you the whole time.

Time for another edition of Ship Says.

SHIP SAYS: Helloooo, McFlyyyy!!

Last week I went into Ship’s village to team teach.  This was an idea that Ship had week 1  of school & I thought it was great.  The children can get a double dose of America.  After all, how often do they get to see Americans interacting.  Even in Kutaisi, people of the city can’t help but stare when I stroll down the street.  In Nakhshirgele, that affect is tripled.  Village living is quite different from the city.  Boys can do whatever they want & girls look forward to obtaining a husband & having a family, but neither will probably ever leave the village way of life.  I think it takes a rare individual to break away & move to the city.  To be bold, people are dense in the head.  While teaching with Ship last Tuesday, I had a great time teaching grades 7-10, but the 11th graders were worst of all.  Ship initially taught from the 11th grade book, but he soon discovered that was beyond their current capacity.  He is currently teaching from 2nd grade manual.  During the course of our lesson, he was getting frustrated, and rightly so.  They simply don’t participate because they don’t care.  The more careless they become, the more Ship gets right in their face demanding that they participate.  One student either would not or could not, I don’t know but if Ship had gotten any closer to him, they would’ve been kissing.  When Ship reached his end with the boy, he bopped him on the head a good one and exclaimed, “Hellooo, McFlyyy!!”  I think the boy & the other students understood the ‘anything in there!?’ connotation because they all laughed.. I was laughing hardest, but I did not let anyone see.

Once again, I had more, but I’ve been in & out of this entry since 2 days ago & most of my being is exhausted.  To my friends, I miss you-especially Waldo.  Don’t know when I’ll see you again & that hurts.  To my family, I’m glad I’ll see some of you soon.  Thank you for your prayers.  Currently, every moment I think about Laura, my heart aches more than the time before, but my gratitude for her life increases as well.  I didn’t realize how desperate I was to play one more tune with her.  Someday.  Thanks for reading.  Love you all.



Posted in Uncategorized

About author

I'm currently teaching English in the republic of Georgia. I started this blog so that those I love & those interested can read all about my experience.