Friday, November 4, 2011

6-month update

Wow, almost two months have passed since my last post. I guess it's safe to say I suck at blogging. I'd like to blame it on the fact that I'm just so busy I don't have time. Or maybe that I'm not really doing anything interesting enough to write about. Or maybe that I'm addicted to Gossip Girl and since my bedroom is a cool 45 degrees, I prefer to snuggle up under my Peace Corps sleeping bag and catch the latest Blair and Chuck drama. To be honest, I think it's a combination of all three: I'm busy, I'm not doing anything that interesting (yet), and I definitely have an addiction. Come on... have you seen Nate Archibald lately?!

Work has drastically picked up over the last 5-6 weeks. I have been conducting three-hour trainings (which we simply refer to as seminars in the States) every Tuesday morning. The trainings are fairly easy, but they take about a week to prepare. After I pick a topic (resume writing, interview skills, how to write a business plan, social media, etc.), then I have to research it, write about it and turn it into a 3-hour session with activities and breaks. If I need any handouts, I have to write those (in Georgian), have them edited by someone who actually knows this crazy language and get them printed. It's very time-consuming to say the least. But my group seems to enjoy it (this particular group is comprised of 15 adults, both men and women). They take a ton of notes, ask a million questions and always play my ridiculous games. 

I also have a youth group that I'm meeting with weekly—or, at least I'm supposed to be meeting with weekly. I will be doing similar trainings with them, but these will be focused more on life skills rather than business/career skills. As someone who has never been a huge fan of kids (sorry, but it's true) I'm interested to see how this turns out, when and if we ever get started. Assuming it goes well, I'd like to eventually turn it into a girls' only group where they can have a safe environment to talk about whatever they want. But for now, we'll let the boys join us.

I'm also working on developing websites for a new winery and a local gunmaker, and I'm consulting with local guesthouses (making recommendations and creating brochures, web listings, etc.). I've assisted the winery on a few lengthy applications for the U.S. government and have started researching and writing grant proposals for my organization. We're also hoping to exhibit at a trade show in the U.S. sometime in the near future, so I've been developing a budget and plan for that. 

Like I said, I'm busy. Like I said, it's not that interesting (yet). And Nate… I don't think I need to explain that one. He's just so pretty!! But I think those are all pretty good reasons to suck at blog-writing...?

Work aside, life in Georgia has been good, albeit a little on the chilly side. Winter is definitely approaching... We had our first snowfall in the mountains 2 weeks ago, Grams has busted out the wood-burning stove, and the flies have all but disappeared (thank god). The leaves have already changed colors and are now falling off the trees. The grapes have all been picked and the winter fruit is starting to appear. All I need now is for the dogs and roosters to shut up... surely that happens in the winter?!

I've been traveling a lot the past few weeks as well. I spent several days at the end of September in Sighnaghi, Georgia's "City of Love," for a Peace Corps business conference. It was so great seeing everyone from my training group again, and we even enjoyed a night out at a… get this… Mexican restaurant! It wasn't the best I've ever had, but there was some spice and it wasn't Georgian food, so I was happy.

Early in October, I was fortunate enough to be invited to a wine tasting competition at the U.S. Embassy, which was awesome! The Embassy itself was impressive, but the wine tasting was even better. Ten wineries from around the country conducted tastings for Embassy staff and military personnel. It was a great turnout and everyone seemed to really love our wines. Unfortunately, due to Embassy security, I don't have any photos of the event, but I had a great time, met a ton of people and got to speak English for 3 solid hours! I even got a quick peek in the Embassy store: Bisquick, Aunt Jemima, Nature Valley granola bars, Gatorade. It was like a mini-Target… a closed mini-Target. Imagine my disappointment. :-( After the wine tasting, I spent the weekend in Tbilisi where the awesomeness continued: I saw, for the first time in Georgia, real American college football! Live on ESPN, no less. Sadly, Texas was being destroyed by Oklahoma, but hey, it was football. I'll take what I can get.

A few weeks later, my boyfriend Gus joined me in Kvareli for a few days. We spent the weekend making churchkhela with my host family (a traditional Georgian candy made with walnuts and a thickened grape juice) and hiking to Nekresi, a 4th century monastery near Kvareli. We ended the day with a small, American-like picnic, complete with granola bars, peanut butter and Chips Ahoy sent from the States (thanks, Mom!). Here are some photos from the weekend if you want to check out the action!


Most recently, Gus and I traveled to Turkey for five glorious days (more on that later). We had an unbelievable time and absolutely fell in love with Istanbul. If you haven't been to Turkey – or haven't had a desire to visit – I highly suggest you add this ancient and breathtaking country to the top of your travel list. Besides being an amazing vacation, it was also nice to get out of Georgia for a few days and pretend like we weren't Volunteers. I almost felt like a normal, self-sufficient adult again!

So now it's November. I've been in Georgia for a little more than six months (how is that even possible?!) and have survived a muddy, cold, rainy spring… a hot, humid, sweltering summer… and a beautifully perfect fall. Fingers crossed I'll survive the upcoming winter too. But, in case you don't hear from me again for awhile, just assume I'm in bed, under my blankets and sleeping bag, hiding from the cold. And hoping, most of all, that Chuck and Blair can finally work out their issues.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you updated your blog! Your life sounds as though it is evolving into that of a bona fide PCV! The almond and grape candy looks oddly interesting. Save some for my visit!