A Tribute To My Friends

Hello Readers!

Today is kind of a sad day for me. Today, I said goodbye to one of my first and most consistent friends in Georgia. School ended last week, and thus, our contracts. My friends have been flying out since Saturday the 15th, and most of them are leaving for good tomorrow.

I have mentioned my friends numerous times on this blog, and even posted pictures of them, but I would like to take a moment to retroactively introduce them to you!

The Chokhatauri Crew:

L/R: Me, Martin, Josh, Drew, Jeff, Anny, Paul, Daniel (Not Pictured: Gil)

L/R: Me, Martin, Josh, Drew, Jeff, Anny, Paul, Daniel (Not Pictured: Gil)

Chokhatauri is the name of the district that my village is in. In the beginning, there were 9 TLG volunteers in the area. Only 3 of us (Me, Jeff, and Josh) stayed on for the spring semester.

Martin: Martin is an Irishman who likes to drink and hates squatty potties. He has a kind of silent humor that can be surprising after initial, quiet introductions. He is now teaching in Korea.

Josh: Josh is an Englishman who loves to point out how American the rest of us are. He stayed on in Georgia despite having only 14 students at his school and 2 classes a week. Josh has been a fun addition to many of my Georgian excursions and I will miss him. He will join his chap Martin in Korea this fall.

Drew: Drew accompanied Amy and I on part of our Eurotrip this Christmas break. He always enjoys a good round of ludi (beer) and an impromptu trip to one of the corners of Georgia. He always encouraged me to relax and take Georgia one step at a time when plans would inevitably go awry. He is now back home in California.

Jeff: Jeff is from Oregon, so he and I often bonded over a love for the PNW, though Washington is obviously the superior state. Jeff and I also liked to bicker a lot. His intelligence sometimes borders on know-it-all but when it doesn’t he has a lot of interesting facts to share.

Anny: Anny was here a semester before I was, so she managed to educate me on a lot of the important Georgian phrases and must-see destinations. She and I bonded quickly as the only girls in Chokhatauri, and the only ones who ever wanted to start the dance party at supras.

Paul: Paul was also in Georgia a semester before me, and he and Anny knew their way around the thriving metropolis that is Chokhatauri. Paul taught me the wonderful game of Spades, and was always ready to bet some lari.

Daniel: Daniel is a Florida boy with a heart of gold. His host family loved him more than any others I have seen. Daniel was always trying to introduce a new fun element to our crew, including addictive dice games to be played at our loal cafe.

Gil: Gil is the ultimate schmoozer. Another Florida boy, Gil spent his entire time in Georgia trying to learn as much of the language as possible (his vocabulary was great, but I schooled him in pronunciation) and befriending every random Georgian he encountered. The cafe workers still ask about him 7 months after his departure.

Maisah:

I don't think anyone has ever made me laugh as much as this girl

I don’t think anyone has ever made me laugh as much as this girl

Maisah and I became fast friends at orientation, and despite being SUPER close to each other geographically, didn’t see much of each other fall semester. But, in January, when the Chokhatauri crew disbanded, we started planning trips together. Whether we’re bar-hopping in Batumi, watching Sex and the City, “hiking” in Mestia, or pilfering Wifi at McDonalds, we are always laughing together. She is from New Jersey and headed abroad again after Georgia, but I have no doubts that we will find ourselves in the same location again.

Amy:

Ringing in 2013 with sparklers!

Ringing in 2013 with sparklers!

Amy and I committed to a month long Euro trip after spending about 4 hours together. It could have been disastrous, but we managed to keep each other uplifted despite a plethora of financial issues.  After the trip, we returned to our opposite corners of Georgia and kept each other entertained with daily text messages about the WTF moments in our lives. After trips to Mestia and Batumi, we will take a final adventure together in Istanbul in a few weeks! I’m so glad I took a gamble on that vacation, because Amy is a tell-it-like-it-is type of person who manages to see the funny side of every irritating occurrence in Georgia.

Shorena:

The closest I could get to a smile. Georgians have not caught on to the art of smiling in photographs.

The closest I could get to a smile. Georgians have not caught on to the art of smiling in photographs.

Shorena is my co-teacher for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade and my closest Georgian friend (besides my host family, but that’s it’s own blog post.) Shorena always tended to my needs, offering me coffee in the teachers’ room, requesting enough bathroom breaks on the school excursion, and giving me days off when I wanted to explore this beautiful country. She helped me improve my Georgian and I helped her improve her English, and our communication with each other is so much better off for it. I hope we will have a few more lunch or coffee dates before I leave!

Others:

That’s not all! I’d like to give a shout-out to all the Volunteers and Georgians who made my experience grand, even if we didn’t spend as much time together.

To Amy’s friends from home, John and Sam, thanks for never treating me like an outside in your club.

To the Ozurgeti Crew: Matt, Alex, Landon, Conor, Sanchez, Michelle, Brittany, Mark, Adam, thanks for all of the good times in the happenin’ capital of Guria.

To the Peace Corps Folks: Gina, Kayla, Danae, Allie, Mark, Sam, thanks for accepting the lesser committed TLG folks on that trip to  Armenia.

And all of the others: Kevin, Leah, Aixdi, Brittany, Raines, April, David, Tim, Fergal, Nathan, Christine, Lily, Liane, Jana, Elizabeth, Alexandria, Sam, and the rest of my orientation crew, GROUP 46, thanks for being an ear and a nodding head of understanding to the wild world of Georgia.

Maisah, John, Josh, and Alex at Josh's going away BBQ

Maisah, John, Josh, and Alex at Josh’s going away BBQ

Peace Corps and TLG UNITE in Armenia!

Peace Corps and TLG UNITE in Armenia! (Jeff, Kayla, Alex, Allie, Gina, Danae, Mark, Me, Brittany, Mark, Sam and Aixdi)

The Mestia group: Amy, Jeff, Josh, Maisah, Matt, and John

The Mestia group: Amy, Jeff, Josh, Maisah, Matt, and John

Amy, Maisah, Me, Sam and Brittany at an official TLG function

Amy, Maisah, Me, Sam and Brittany at an official TLG function

The early days in Kutaisi! My boys Daniel, Drew, Jeff, Nathan and Japanese tourist!

The early days in Kutaisi! My boys Daniel, Drew, Jeff, Nathan and Japanese tourist

My friends, thank you for everything you have done for me. We have experienced something together, however, brief, that will always give us common ground. I will truly miss you all!

Thanks for reading,

Kacie Riann

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1 Comment

  1. So you like Georgia…cool

    Reply

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