A Song of Ice and Fire

Hello all,

My sister got after me a bit on Skype for my lack of new material on the blog lately. The hard truth is, my day to day life is largely the same, and there isn’t much to write about, or maybe there is but I am too entrenched in it to recognize that it might be of interest. I have a few things on the horizon that I anticipate will be blog worthy: a trip to Svaneti, the mountainous region; a visit from an American friend who is living in Paris; Easter in Armenia. Until then, here’s a quick post!

The title of this post is a reference to the book series by George R.R. Martin that inspired the show Game of Thrones. I am obsessed with both the books and the show, and in one week, the show returns for season 3. I have been so excited for it, devouring every preview and behind the scenes video, that I feel kind of pathetic. The thing about living abroad is that sometimes you just need something that reminds you of home, something normal, to get you through the tough parts. TV shows can be that for me: they’re on a consistent schedule, they’re in English, and I can feel like I’m a part of something that my American friends are.

BUT, that’s not the reason I wrote this post. I wrote it because we’ve had ice and fire in the village.

tovs

A mid-March snow was my first in the village. Go figure.

According to sister Salome, “March is always crazy weather. One day sun, next snow.” That has been more than true. Thursday after school I sat on the steps outside my house and read over 100 pages of Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot,” letting my tea go cold and soaking up vitamin D. Friday, my co-teacher texted me not to come because there were no students, it was too cold.

The snow was actually a welcome sight for me, since my pre-Georgia plans included harsh Caucasus winters, blizzards, etc. I have been fortunate to have a fairly mild winter, but I would have been disappointed had I never seen the mountaintops covered in white snow!

But then, there was fire.

Don't I look creepy?

Don’t I look creepy?

Salome is really fun, because she knows enough English that I’m not constantly confused, but she still says things in a funny way, which is always entertaining. Let’s set up the above picture by recounting a conversation we had.

Salome: Kace*, come outside, it’s holiday.

Kacie: Which Holiday?

S: It’s called (long Georgian word), it is Christian.

K: Oh, okay, what are we doing?

S: We have big fire. We burn bad souls.

K: That sounds like voodoo.

S: (blank stare.)

K: Never mind, why are we burning tires?

S: Tires? Oh the wheel, my father is wheel fixer for work, we have a lot old tires.

K: But burning rubber is bad for breathing.

S: But it makes bigger fire, better for bad souls go away.

*In Georgian language, all nouns end it vowels, even names. Because of this many foreigners will Georgianize their names by adding an “i” too the end of it. For example, my friend Josh is called “Joshi.” Despite the constant reminders that my name is in fact Kacie, most Georgian’s think they are being more culturally sensitive by de-Georgianizing my name and calling me Kace.

This weird ritualistic thing almost definitely gave me cancer, but it was really fun in a village way.

Anywho, I promise more exciting posts are coming. In the mean time, I am also writing more professional sounding posts for the Official TLG Blog, if you’re dying to read more!

-Kacie Riann

Goodbye Saqartvelo! (For a Month)

Hello my lovely readers,

I just spent the last few hours preparing for my upcoming vacation. I washed all of my wool socks because, stupidly, I chose to travel to a region not much warmer than the one I am in. I put my contacts in after a month of wearing glasses. I poorly packed my smaller suitcase, which will be transferred to a newly purchased travel backpack when I get to Tbilisi tomorrow.

So where am I headed?

Because I felt like it

Because I felt like it

If things had gone differently, I might have been going home. The more information that comes out, the more I realize how lucky I am to have been extended. Recruitment is closed until July 2013, TLG’s budget has been cut dramatically, only teachers in the villages were renewed, and only about a fourth of the people who requested an extension were approved. Yikes!

My assumption is that TLG, when it begins recruiting again, will require more certifications or education from the applicants, will ask them to sign longer contracts, and will likely do away with the vacation flight entirely. However, I am still eligible for said flight, meaning that this Sunday I will be headed to Barcelona, Spain with my friends Amy and Drew. I fly into Barcelona around midnight Sunday night, and I fly back from there to Tbilisi on January 18. All that time in the middle is pretty unplanned, just how I like it. The only sure-thing is that we will spend Christmas in Rome, Italy

You can go, without tickets, to see the Pope on Christmas Day!

You can go, without tickets, to see the Pope on Christmas Day!

On December 26, Drew will fly back to Tbilisi and it will be just us girls. I know we will end up in Graz, Austria to visit my sister’s best friend Tina, but otherwise everything is completely unknown. I am happy to just play things by ear and see what happens.

I fully intend to keep blogging while I am away, but posts might be infrequent/brief/outdated for the next month or so. I will be back in Georgia for my first day of school on Jan. 21, so you can expect more Georgia related posts after that point.

Happy Holidays readers! I hope you enjoy your vacations, family time, and traditions. I know I will enjoy Western Europe!

-Kacie Riann

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