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Friday, October 30, 2009

Georgia (8)










Here are some more pictures from Mtskheta primarily of Svetitskhoveli
Cathedral and surroundings. For more detailed information, see the link
below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svetitskhoveli_Cathedral

#1 the cathedral itself
#2 migrating birds
#3 Jvari Monastery
#4 notice the peacock
#5 red peppers at the restaurant

Gosh! I love it here!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three Weeks Remaining

Tomorrow is exactly three weeks to the day from when I will depart Georgia.  Although I wish I could stay longer, I feel fortunate to have spent three months here and experienced this wonderful country.  I think the best aspect of living here was interacting with the many trainees I had.  Not only were they professional but they were fantastic people as well.  I feel like I am a better person for having known them.

Well, I've been having trouble with the internet lately but can hopefully put up some more pictures tonight.   I wish a happy weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Internet Outage

Unfortunately, the internet in my hotel will be out for 24 hours so I may be lax in posting and/or replying to your comments.  I am able to post this from Prospero's bookstore, but am on the clock so can't do too much.  Thanks for your understanding.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thought for the Day in Georgia

This country continues to impress me--the people, the beauty, the food, the life.  If this is the 'honeymoon' period, then it is sure lasting a long time!

More Bulgarian Pics!

Hmm, I seem to be putting up pictures the last few days relevant to Bulgaria rather than Georgia.  That's okay I guess because Bulgaria is, after all, near Georgia so it must be a decent country by reason of its proximity!  Anyway, here are some pictures sent to me by Captain Georgiev of the Bulgarian Air Force.  He is my former trainee (January '09, I believe) and is now back home.  I think they're awesome!



Awesome!




Go for the Kill!




Window View




Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Personality Quiz

Normally, I don't trust these quizzes but this one seemed so accurate (based on what friends have told me) that I had to post the result.  Let me know if you agree or disagree.

"Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a longer time to get over if that trust is ever broken."


If you want to take the quiz, here is the link:  http://www.gotoquiz.com/personality_quiz_1

The Black Sea

One of my best friends is currently working in Bulgaria and sent me this picture from Varna, a city on the Black Sea.  The picture was taken at sunrise and is absolutely stunning!  I wonder if Jason and the Argonauts saw a similar scene upon entering this "Wine Dark Sea."  All I know is, as I scan the horizon, it is not the Golden Fleece I would be searching for but the paradise that I am currently experiencing here in the Republic of Georgia.

At this moment, I am the luckiest person in the world . . . 


This is why I love Georgia!

Yesterday, some friends asked me to meet them at a restaurant in the old city.  They sent me instructions in both English and Georgian and gave me a time to meet.  Well, I thought I knew where the place was but was terribly wrong!  I looked and looked and looked but couldn't find it for the life of me!  At some point a man, about 60 years old, saw me looking at the instruction sheet.  He didn't speak any English but indicated that he wanted to help me.  He took the paper and motioned for me to follow him.  Well, he also had a difficult time in locating the restaurant leading him to stop and ask several people.  Finally, after about 15 minutes of looking, we found it.  I tried to pay him for his assistance but he just smiled and walked away.  I don't know his name and will probably never see him again, but he made quite the impression on me.  In addition to helping me find my friends, he provided me with the essence of why I love this country and its people so much.  For me at this moment, there is no greater gift than that.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Georgia (7)






I went back to Mtskheta a few weeks ago! This city is a very short drive
from T'bilisi and functioned as the ancient capital of Georgia. I actually
visited this place my first weekend here but have few memories of it because
I was so jetlagged. On the first trip, I sent pictures of Jvari Monastery,
the monastery perched above the city. On this trip, I have pictures of a

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Favorite Stroll (4)

Wow!  This is a long walk but well worth the wait!




Statues




Great Architecture!




I love to sit in front of this church in the evenings.




Mini-water fall




Almost downtown

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Poll Results

Well, the poll ended and the results are in! It seems that my readers feel the best way for me to finance my stay in Georgia (without a job) is to rely on the kindness of strangers. I have to admit, I was partial to robbing a bank and I believe I'm the only one who voted for that option. However, I will go with the majority and follow their recommendation.

On a depressing note, I found out my departure date yesterday. I knew I'd have to leave this paradise one day but it still hurts to see it in print. For those of you who know me personally, don't expect me to be cheerful for a while. I'm truly confident this has been/will be the best experience of my life. It's a shame it has to end.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Wonderful Day!

Am I the luckiest person in the world or what? I get to go to work today in Georgia and associate with the nicest people. It doesn't even feel like work. Really, life can be only downhill after this!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back from Mtskheta

I had a short, but great trip today. I saw a fortress and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the middle of the city. I got lucky with this video. As I began it, the kids said what I believe was a prayer outside the church.
video

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mtskheta

I'm off to Mtskheta today!  I was there my first weekend but didn't know what I was looking at nor the importance of this area.  I'll look at it with a more informed perspective this time.

My Favorite Stroll (3)



Looking up a side street



Back on Rustaveli



The only beggar I saw!



Marriot T'bilisi



A place to rest


More pictures to come as the walk is not finished yet.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And Depression Sets In . . .

. . .  because I recently realized I've passed the half-way mark here.  How in the world am I going to cope with leaving Georgia??  It's as if I've had a separate existence over here.  What happened before in my life doesn't matter and what happens after doesn't as well.  All that matters is what is happening here!!

I've traveled to at least 30 countries in the past and none have affected me like this.  Can anyone tell me why?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Nice Surprise!

Today was a Georgian holiday so I had some free time on my hands.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do but then one of my Georgian friends called me up and invited me out for a walk and coffee!  I wasn't expecting to hear from this person today but was happy to accept!  Anyway, we went to an area in T'bilisi I had never been before.  As we were walking, we passed three universities within a short distance of each other.  I remember the first one (T'bilisi State University) but can't remember the other two.  Can someone help me with those?

Speaking of education, I suspect the education system here is better than in the US.  We certainly have more resources in the US but the people I've spoken to in Georgia seem to have a wider spectrum of knowledge than most college-educated Americans.  Or, perhaps I've just been fortunate to meet the intelligentsia so far?  I had thought about working in a university as a way to stay here long term, but I probably couldn't do it.  The students would know much more than I would!!!

Yes, I continue to be obsessed with Georgia.  I may have to see a therapist when I return to the US to overcome this!

Wishing you the best from Georgia!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Georgia (6)






More pictures from Ananuri as promised! These pictures/stories probably
seem a little out of order. I promise myself I'll post all the pictures
from one trip and then, I post some from the most recent trip, etc. and
don't finish the previous ones. Anyway, go back in time a few weeks and you
will recall this trip outside of T'bilisi. These pictures focus more on
close-ups of the structures rather than scenery. Let me know what you
think.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Still Lovin' Georgia!

I tell you, I still cannot believe how lucky I am to be here.  I love the country, I love the people, and I love the job!  As a matter of fact, I can't believe I'm being paid to do this job.  I should be paying the Georgian government for permitting me to work here.  I know it's difficult to believe I feel this way--you just have to come visit this country to understand.

My Favorite Stroll Cont.

Here are some more pictures from my favorite route.  Explanations are included under each picture.




Of course, a McDonalds




Entrance to Rustaveli Street




Now walking down main street



Looks delicious!




Continuing on

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Another Video!

This afternoon, I went with a friend to visit one of my favorite churches. I love watching the people go in and out; it's so relaxing. I hope you can sense what I sense by viewing this video.


video

Balcony Video (Test)

I'm trying to post a video for the first time. If it works, I can show you how it really feels to live here!

Please give me feedback on the quality of the video from your computer.
video

My Favorite Stroll

I'm always referring to a particular route I like to take here in T'bilisi
during my walks. I love doing this when I have time and am not leaving the
city to see something spectacular. Anyway, I thought it might be
interesting for some of my friends outside Georgia to view what it is I see
on these strolls. I took these pictures this morning at 9am when both
traffic and pedestrians were light. I'll have to post the pictures in
several groups since there are too many to do it all at once. Enjoy!



                                                   Walking down the hill from my hotel



Another one



A difficult hill to climb up!



Getting closer to main street



One more

The Lady with the Dog

I saw this Chekov play yesterday--very professionally done by the Georgian cast.  By my count, there were only four 'human' characters with puppets (and their masters) integrated as the rest of the cast.  I really owe a big favor to my friend who took me to the play.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Morning Stroll!

The maid threw me out of the room this morning so I decided to take a nice morning stroll down Rustaveli street which is the main street in T'bilisi.  I never get tired of this walk and mostly follow the same route whenever I take it.  I like to walk down the hill from the hotel and then hit Rustaveli heading all the way down to Freedom Circle.  Then, I turn around and walk back on the other side finishing up with a hike back up the hill.  Along the way, I get to people watch and check out the shops which rival anything you'll find in the west.  Even the simple things here continue to amaze me.

This afternoon, I'll be going to a Chekov play being performed by a local group.  I'll post pictures of the performance as soon as I can.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another Sad Friday . . .

 . . . because it means no work/interaction with my friends for the next two days.  Yet!  This weekend should be exciting because I'm going to a play tomorrow and participating in the grape harvest on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rebirth!

When I woke up this morning, I had an epiphany.  Every day in Georgia, I feel like a child experiencing things for the first time.  Every object seems new and special to me.  Common events have a stronger impact.  Conversations with my Georgian friends are imprinted on my mind causing me to analyze them as if they were poetry.  I feel like I'm being reborn every day in this place.

Yes, this is a special country . . .

Georgia (5)







What a trip! Although I had planned to send more photos of 'Ananuri' this
week, I just couldn't wait to forward these pictures! Last weekend, I went
with some of my Georgian friends to a site in T'bilisi I had somehow managed
to overlook. We took a short taxi ride to see 'Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral.'
This cathedral is reputedly the biggest Orthodox church in the world and was

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Georgian Poll!

As many of you know, I really love Georgia like no other place I've ever visited.  I believe this mostly results from the kindness all the people have shown me since I arrived here.  As a result, it's crossed my mind to break all ties with the USA and move here permanently.  I'm not sure if I will do this or not, but if I did, I wonder how I might support myself.  Not being able to answer this question adequately, I have put a poll on the left side of this page asking for your opinion.  Please advise me which technique you think would be the best or which combination of techniques.  At the end of the poll, I will begin to devise my strategy.  Thanks for participating!

Another Great Poem!

. . . by the same poet.  It really brings out the magnificence of the Georgian countryside!


The Withered Beech


Everyone loves the high mountains adorned with verdure and flowers. So do I. I love the scent of spring, the green grass that, getting the better of the thawing ice, comes up fresh and un¬scathed. It gazes at the sun, at all the world; it lies low, it lies still, yet its delicate and languid countenance beams with such ineffable tender¬ness: it seems to be murmuring,- I have come back to life! Glory to my Creator! - ¬

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Wonderful Story!

A good friend of mine translated and summarized the following poem for me.  It perfectly illustrates the famous hospitality of the Georgians but doesn't come close to portraying the amazing hospitality I've received in my short time here.


"The Guest and the Host" by Vaja Pshavela


This story happened in the mountains of Georgia:

One night two hunters met each other. One of (Jokhola was the name of the host) them proposed his house and invited the other to stay that night. He said that he would treat him with delicious food and offered a warm, home environment away from the cold winter night. The man who was the guest was one of the enemies of the host tribe, (though a very brave guy) so he hid his real name and did not say who he was. The host treated him as a brother. When they came to the man’s house, there was an old man sitting near the fire;

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Catching up on Photos




This church is the oldest in T'bilisi at approximately 1,500 years old. It
is called the 'Anchiskhati' and very much possesses Roman features of
architecture especially on the inside. I only felt comfortable taking
outside pictures because a service was happening on the inside at the time.

Sameba Church

Yesterday, I went with two Georgian friends to see 'Sameba' church which is reputedly the biggest Orthodox church in the world.  I'll write more about this wonderful experience later in the week; I still have to finish off my 'Ananuri' pics!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Georgia (4)






Last Sunday, we traveled to an area called 'Ananuri.' It's about 70
kilometers north of T'bilisi and known for not only its history, but also
the incredible beauty of the countryside. You cannot believe how easy it is
to get to these places. In T'bilisi, you can hire any taxi to take you
outside the city for a predetermined price (always very cheap!). Usually,
you don't have to do this though because numerous Georgians one has met at
work are more than happy to drive you themselves. Sometimes, I feel like I
might be taking advantage of people.

As with most other famous locations in Georgia, this area has been subject
to many invasions and atrocities over the years from invading armies. If
you want to read about the history of this site, here is a link that should
provide you with more details than I could:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananuri

I have so many pictures but will send only five this time. I tried to focus
on scenery with these and will send more of building interiors next week.
Please let me know what you think!

#1 Monastery
#2 Lake near the site
#3 Ancient dome
#4 I saw a kid doing this so I knew I could as well
#5 Onset of fall