Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's just one of those days...

That's how my morning started the other day. I woke up to find another typical April day – cloudy, chilly, and rainy. I hadn't seen the sun in almost 10 days – it was depressing. Plus, the power, gas and water at my house were all out, which meant no shower, no coffee, no cooking, no computer. I didn't feel like getting out of bed or going for a run. I didn't feel like working on any projects. And I certainly didn't feel like going to the bazaar to buy vegetables. I just wanted to stay in bed all day. But, I forced myself to get up, if only to get out of my house for a few hours.

So, I walked in the rain to the bazaar, dodging cars and avoiding stares, getting crankier by the minute as I went along, and thinking I should have just stayed home. But then I got to the bazaar – a chaotic, packed marketplace where you can buy anything from live chickens, cow tongues, and tomatoes to brooms, batteries, and shoes – and I smiled. 

I don't know what it is, but the Telavi bazaar always puts me in the best mood. I have my apple guy, my cheese lady, my veggie lady and my potato guy – and they are always so happy to see me. We usually chat for a few minutes and they always smile and say, "kai gogo xar!" which means: "you're a good girl" – an odd, but nice, compliment.

My first stop was the tomato guy. I asked for half a kilo and he started picking out the best ones for me. He couldn't get the right amount though; the tomatoes all kept tipping the scale well over half a kilo. After several attempts to find a smaller one, he finally shrugged his shoulders and added two big tomatoes with a smile and a friendly "from me!" I thanked him for the free tomatoes and promised to come back soon. Hmm… maybe this day wasn't so bad after all!

Next I stopped to see my favorite vendor, the apple man. I love my apple man. He has the friendliest blue eyes and he always smiles and asks how I'm doing. I'm going to miss him. Anyway, I asked for 3 lari's worth of red apples, which he quickly bagged up for me. He started to hand me the bag, but then took it back and added in two more apples "from me!" Wow, free tomatoes AND apples?! I thanked him, wished him well, and started to walk away. But then he called me back and handed me a free banana too. I love this day!

With a big smile on my face, I finished up my shopping and headed to the USAID office. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my site-mates who I hadn't seen in a few weeks. We started to catch up on each other's lives when another Volunteer showed up. Then another, and another, and another! It's always nice to run into Volunteers, have lovely English conversations, and laugh about our crazy Georgian experiences. We all spent a few hours at the office and then decided to top off the day with a few beers – a perfect ending to what had become a perfect day.

As I walked home that evening, I was feeling very grateful for all of the unexpected surprises that day. I had a bag full of fresh fruits and vegetables from the most thoughtful Georgians. I had friends who made me laugh. And the sky was opening up and I actually saw the sun peek through the clouds. Could this day get any better?!

Turns out, it could. When I walked into my room, my landlord/host grandmother had left a vase full of tulips (my favorite flower!) on the table. They were absolutely beautiful. I went downstairs to thank her and she invited me to stay for coffee. We talked about my time in Georgia, as well as my return to America. She told me they are all going to miss me when I leave, and asked (as most Georgians often do) why I don't just stay in Georgia forever. 

On days like that, it's easy to think about staying. I have fallen in love with this country and the people here. Yes, certain things about Georgia drive me insane (like the cigarette smoke and lack of planning) and yes, certain people make me want to bang my head against the wall (like those drivers who aim their cars at me when I'm walking down the street). But for the most part, I appreciate the experiences I've had and the people I've met. It's been an amazing two years and it's hard to believe it's coming to an end. You know, according to Georgians, I'm a "good girl" – but I like to think I'm a lucky girl.

1 comment:

  1. I continue to marvel at your ability to make lemons into lemonade. You have impacted others’ lives and they will remember the friendly American, Suzanni, or whatever name it is they call you.