Middle of Nowhere

Well, readers, I have made it halfway through my total time outside of the U.S.A.

I arrived in Georgia on October 2, and I will return to America toward the end of July. 10 months away from home, and five of them are gone. I alternate on an almost daily basis between “Holy shit, this is never going to end!” and “Vai me! Halfway done already!” Time is a funny thing.

Anyway, I thought I might give some updates on my life at this milestone, now that I have settled into a bit more of a routine and dare I say, adaptation?

Things I am used to:

usedto1

Farm animals in the street (I have gotten really good at “hey cow”)

Condemnable buildings (Such as my school and favorite markets, which would have been demolished years ago if we had building codes like the ones at home)

Getting stared at and blatantly talked about in a language I don’t understand (I am generally loved by my community, so I just have to hope they’re saying good things)

usedto2

Questionable trash disposal practices (usually burning or throwing into the river)

Extremely personal questions about my marital status, salary, and weight (and the inevitable list of eligible Georgian bachelors that I can marry)

Power outages (A nice time to sit by the candlelight with the host family)

usedto3

Grafitti (The blue 41 represents on Georgian political party, the red 5 another)

Political polarity (I moved to Georgia immediately after an election and a majo shift in political power)

Lukewarm showers (It’s better than cold or infrequent showers, or sponge baths or baby wipe showers.)

usedto4

The Georgian alphabet (I can read and write it!)

Carbs and Cheese for most meals (I never feel hungry)

Rarely understanding anything (An opportunity to practice my charades skills)

 

Things I may never get used to:

notusedto1

General lack of care for animal life, even pets (R.I.P. Balma and Josh’s puppy)

The aggressive flirting style of Georgian men (No apparently means maybe)

Constant yelling, even in friendly conversation (It’s really jarring and tense)

notusedto2

My loft style stairs (I fall down them like once a week in the dark)

Being chased by turkeys while I walk to school (What did I ever do to them?)

Bipolar weather (Crazy storms followed by summer sun)

notusedto3

Tarragon flavored everything (Although the radioactive green soda is kind of growing on me)

A lack of fruits and vegetables in the winter (I think I have scurvy)

Mosquito attacks (The only thing that is making me dread the coming spring)

notusedto4

The frequent mood swings of my host brother (He loves me one minute and hates me the next, from hugs to hitting in one fell swoop)

Horrifyingly fast drivers (as the pedestrian it is your responsibility to not get hit)

The lack of planning or schedules (and the lack of communication when changes are made)

 

I think ten months just might not be long enough to get to the “immersion” stage of culture shock. I have already had to get past a lot of things, such as my many food issues, in order to function in Georgian society, but there are certain areas of the culture that I just can’t navigate. A lot of it is gender role related stuff, as Georgia is a very patriarchal culture, and a lot of it is simply my own homesickness creeping in to my every day activities.

So here’s to 5 months down and 5 more to come! I believe I will survive it!

-Kacie Riann

 

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1 Comment

  1. Jenna

     /  March 3, 2013

    Hang in there! My turning point was at month 8 in Korea… Here’s hoping it’ll happen for you as well 🙂

    Great post!

    Reply

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