We just recently made it back to Qatar from Tbilisi.
What a trip! 🙂
As I shared with you recently, I headed back to Georgia this month for a visit and to catch up with my Georgian friends who I stayed with while I was there on the TLG program almost 5 years ago (Teach And Learn With Georgia).
The program was/is a cultural and language exchange where you’re allocated a Georgian host family to live with (who usually don’t speak much or any English) and placed in a town or village anywhere in the country.
For some people, this is a big town or city.
For others, it’s a tiny village in the middle of nowhere.
I was placed for about 4-5 months in a town near the Azerbaijan border called Rustavi (not far south of Tbilisi).
I do regret spending way too much time with idiot expats while I was there (this is why I was so cautious to avoid expat traps when I did my next stay in Korea and why I constantly advise you to do the same) but I was still blessed to meet some amazing Georgian people who became dear friends of mine in that time.
So the trip this month was a chance for me to go back and catch up with them finally (as well as visit parts of the country I missed out on last time).
Because of my weak Georgian language skills 5 years ago, I was unable to properly chat to and get to know people beyond the basics but the great thing about going this time was that I’m quite fluent in Russian now (which I didn’t know the first time) so I could finally communicate properly with people.
This made the trip really special to me.
Below is a bit of a video montage showing some of the stuff we did in Georgia.
In the video I’ve talked quite a bit about observing the high number of Russian tourists and use of Russian this time compared to last.
The last time I was there, it was only shortly after the invasion of South Ossetia and Abkhazia when people were still really hurting (I even stayed with an Abkhazian refugee community at the time).
So this was a huge opportunity for me to practice Russian constantly (I actually thought that this wasn’t going to happen so it was a surprise to be using it every day).
Unfortunately I didn’t get as much video footage as I’d hoped but this will hopefully be enough to entice you to go visit 🙂
Language-specific posts to follow soon.
If you’re looking for a product to learn Georgian with, Glossika recently shared their Georgian Fluency Package with me and it’s excellent (check it out here).