This won’t mean anything to most of you, but it’s important to me so it gets a comic. Â I’ve made a great friend over here and–as it turns out–we’re both hedgehogs! Â I have a feeling we’re going to be getting into many multicultural hedgie misadventures together! Â :3
So…how on earth am I going to excuse not updating my blog since…wow…I don’t even remember how long it has been, to be honest. Â And, in all honesty, there is no excuse. Â Even when I was thinking about the blog I let other things in life take priority and eventually ended up with a dead blog. Â Shame on me.
A ton of stuff has happened since my last update. Â I found a home (which I am currently looking to replace), adopted a cat, went on a cruise, picked up a ton of work and suffered from several bouts of various illnesses. Â As far as the blog goes, I logged in to find a username that I don’t recognize and discovered that I’d let hundreds upon hundreds of spam comments and a handful of legit comments digitally stagnate as they awaited approval or flagging. Â As a result, I missed the opportunity to meet up with a reader, failed to provide timely advice and was unable to enjoy the banter that often ensues as a result of critical comments. Â Boo.
And it is for these reasons that I have decided to stop reflexively deleting email comments from my inbox without giving them so much as a glance. Â I have also decided that something must be done about this spam issue, because my WordPress anti-spam arsenal is apparently not working.
With all that being said, be on the look out for a real update from me soon!
I wake up in a pained daze, the remnants of last night’s ache ruthlessly gripping the left side of my head. I try not to move, knowing it will only lend strength to the pain, but I eventually-inevitably–shift positions and feel my neck fall victim to the evolving migraine. I toss and turn in search of nonexistent cool spots on my pillow, attempting to settle into a position of mutual comfort for Lulu–the wildcat– and myself. I fail.
Reluctantly, I rise.
I dig through my backpack for a large bottle of pills, twisting off the childproof cap and pouring one orange caplet into the palm of my hand. I shuffle to the kitchen and pick a small glass from the drying rack, filling it with tap water that I pour into my mouth along with the large, sweet vitamin. I down a few more glasses before returning to the couch. I definitely won’t be making it to school today.
I have no clue how much time, exactly, but the pain gets worse and I can’t fall back asleep. I submit to my last resort and rise once more. A wave of nausea passes over me and I lean on the table for a moment, swallowing the feeling. I dig through my backpack’s every compartment but cannot find my small bottle of Excedrin. I check my crew bag and still come out empty-handed.
“Where could it be,” I wonder silently as I prepare to retreat under the warmth of my blanket once more. I spot a small cream-colored toiletry bag out of the corner of my eye. It’s the bag that held the complimentary socks, sleep mask, toothbrush, toothpaste and lip balm that I received on my flight back to Tbilisi. It reads Turkish Airlines (TÃ¼rk Hava YollarÄ±) in the bottom right-hand corner. I unzip it and–thank the evil pharmaceutical gods–there it is. The tiny bottle holds three precious green and white tablets–poison that will hopefully manipulate my brain into feeling better.
I swallow the pills with a few more cups of water and then lie still, waiting for the pain to subside. It persists. I cover my face with a book. It still persists. I flip the book over.
An odd, numbing sensation begins to creep over me, holding my body in a state of motionlessness. My mind loses focus, brief daydreams and images of thoughts flashing into and out of my mental field of vision. My ability to feel is dulled and, with it, the pain of my migraine seems to subside. My brain’s native chemicals battle with those of the medication, neither doing much to correct the imbalance but–somehow–still succeeding at making me think I feel better.
People who read my blog seem to be very confused about why I came back to Georgia, so let me address this right now. Â While this country is not without its problems–just like every other country–I am happy and thankful for every moment that I have been here. Â I value every experience, cherish every new friend and ultimately feel at home.
I came back for my students, co-teachers, school, friends and for the life that I started establishing here. Â Things haven’t been entirely smooth for me. Â I’ve shifted all over the place and still don’t have a place to live, but I have very loving people in my life who are sheltering me until I do. Â I don’t have the support of a reliable organization, but I have the good fortune of not having to actually deal with that when I go to work. Â Unfortunately, they also don’t have the support that is needed there, which is another story entirely.
So yeah. Â I’ve found myself repeatedly answering the question, “So why did you come back to Georgia?” Â Long story short–I’m happy here, this is where my life is right now and I’m not going to let my life be dictated by anything or anyone.
As some of you may know and many of you may not, I spent mid-January enjoying the last of my quality time with loved ones in America and stressfully preparing for the return trip to Georgia, set to begin on January 18th–my brother’s birthday–EST and January 20th Georgian time.
There’s no need to review the painfully boring details of packing and getting to the airport–which I wholeheartedly thank my beloved friend for helping me with–as the story really begins upon discovering that my flight was pushed back an hour. Â That gave me some extra time to hang out and say goodbye and shortened my layover in Chicago.
The flight itself was uneventful–I am pretty sure I slept through it, but after arriving to Chicago and waiting for my valet checked bag I discovered that my flight had not just been shortened…it had been entirely eaten up by the delays. Â I ran around aimlessly until I find myself in International Terminal 5 and went through round two of security. Â When I finally made it to my gate the waiting area was empty but the plane was–thankfully–sitting around for no apparent reason. Â I boarded, spotted a few of my friends and settled down.
The Turkish Air(lines) flight sat around for quite a while and a few more people boarded, but the plane remained relatively empty. Â Had it not been for the unprecedented heat in the cabin it would have been a fairly comfortable flight.
After some ten or so hours we landed in Istanbul and passed the time of a seven hour layover before a final fought to Tbilisi. Â I barely recall that flight at all, to be honest.
Upon arriving and making our way to baggage claim we stood around wondering what would happen next. Â We knew that someone was supposedly going to meet us and help us make our way from the airport, but we didn’t really know anything else (contract terms). Â I had been told that a driver would take me to where I would be staying, but this completely ended up not being the case.
We were herded onto a bus and Tbilisi volunteers were dropped off at Marjanishvili metro station at around 4 am to catch cabs while regional volunteers were taken to a nearby hostel to sleep and then find their own way back to their villages. Â That’s right. Â At four in the morning with only eight lari on my person and no money on my phone I was expected to direct a taxi driver to my friend’s flat–a place I only knew how to get to by marshutka.
Now–before making it to the metro I told a staff member that I didn’t actually have a home and didn’t know how to get to my friend’s house (who I had no way of contacting at the time). Â I was told that I had sent an email saying I had found a place to live (which wasn’t the case…I merely stated that I didn’t need a host family as I was /going/ to find yet another place) but was ultimately told that TLG would not put me up for the night. Â I don’t remember exactly what question prompted it, but I also mentioned that I didn’t understand how so many people I knew got help from Georgian friends in finding a decent place that fit their budget yet TLG failed to do this, and I said that I would let someone I actually trust help me from then on. Â She rolled her eyes at me and walked away.
When getting off the bus at the metro station she tried to convince me to pay to put myself up in a hotel, which I refused to do. Â I tried to explain that I still had no clue how to get where I was supposed to go wax was given some nonsensical reason in Georgian to get in the cab anyway. Â I Â ultimately made it to Muxiani fine, at which point the driver started asking me where to go. Â When I told him I had no idea he asked why and, fortunately, I spotted a familiar landmark which got us to the right road. Â I gave him five lari, he asked how the heck I was going to get my 100+ lbs of stuff to where I was going, I shrugged, he left and I began to drag my things through the cold.
I spent the next three or four hours sitting in the open hall of an apartment building waiting for shops to open so I could put money on my phone. Â Once I heard Muxiani beginning to stir I made the risky decision to leave my things unattended, run through my first experience of falling snow since toddlerhood, put two lari on my phone to push my negative balance into the positive and run back.
I breathed a sigh of relief when my things were still there. Â I called my friend who–due to a miscommunication–didn’t realize that I was supposed to be arriving when I did and she came to help me get my things into her mother’s and her small place.
I have since spent the majority of my time fighting off frighteningly debilitating migraines, receiving bad news, having my hands mauled by an adorable kitten and–most importantly–being blanketed in love by two women who accept me as family as I try to get myself unhomeless…again.
What an awful, awful blogger I am. Â I knew I wouldn’t manage to keep the blog updated once I got home because, for whatever reason, I lose the ability to be productive upon entering the state of Florida. Â So here I am–in Maryland to do some work and visit family–and the motivation to update finally takes a strong enough grip to get me typing. Â (Aaaaand now….a few hours after I began this post–due to distractions and sleepiness–I am abandoning it to be finished tomorrow. Â Here’s to hoping I don’t completely lose my train of thought.)
Okay! Â So now tomorrow is today, I am post-workout, feeling great and ready to pick up where I left off yesterday. Â If only I can remember what I was thinking…it was something along the lines of having gained a new perspective of both my own country and Georgia since going there and coming back home again, but I’m failing to recall any of the profound thoughts I was so sure my brain had conjured up. Â I blame hunger.
Alright. Â Now I have eaten and I am going to try to focus on the topic of this post. Â As much as I was dreading going home, once all the stress and trouble of preparing for the trip and the almost two day trip itself were done I was not at all unhappy to be home. Â I’ve spent a lot of time doing a lot of nothing with family and a friend who came to visit. Â I have eaten delicious food and been reunited with my lovely vehicle. Â I’ve spent an awful lot of time driving to and from the airport and scowling over gas prices. Â The holidays were even more uneventful than I expected and my battle with jetlag finally seems to have come to an end.
I arrived in Maryland yesterday and have been spending the past few days half-contemplating and half-stressing over what the heck I am going to do with my life after this summer. Â Shall I stay in Georgia? Â Shall I return to my country, which is running itself into the ground at breakneck speed? Â Should I head to another country all together? Â I haven’t the slightest clue. Â Not long before returning from Georgia I was /positive/ that I wanted to stay there for at least another year, but–as I mentioned–coming back home for a while has put some things into perspective for me.
Living in Georgia has done some effed up things to my health. Â Some of it is seriously just TMI, so I am not going to go into it, but–aside from constantly having a cold of some sort–my breathing problems intermittently returned, I spontaneously developed very odd scars on my skin while living in my last flat–which I decided to move out of, by the way, for those who didn’ t know–my head was itching very badly and almost constantly and pursuing my preferred means of exercise is just not feasible in Georgia.
While I was still in Georgia I figured I must just not be doing something right. Â I found all sorts of reasons to put the blame on my self, but no matter what I did, nothing improved. Â As soon as I came back to the States, all the physical issues I was having (aside from the freakish scars, of course) vanished. Â My stomach took a few days to readjust–though anyone who knew me pre-Georgia knows that I don’t often stray from eating healthy food for a number of reasons–and that’s it. Â I was better. Â It doesn’t seem to matter /what/ conditions I am living under in Georgia–when I was living with Georgians, forced to eat out and able to cook on my own I still had all the same issues. Â Four months and my body never adjusted. Â I would blame constantly being around smoke and drinking sometimes–two completely new things to me–but neither of these things were a factor in Lanchxuti and most of the problems started while I was living there.
Unless I can finally get into a living situation that I am happy with and figure out how to keep my health in check, I don’t know if I’ll be willing to stay in Georgia past 2011. Â I hate to say that, but I know that I am very physically sensitive to my environment, and if my body is saying no to Georgia then I, sadly, have to listen.
But if that is the case then what next? Â That dreadful question. Â I certainly don’t know the answer and the fact that my goals extend in seventy-two different directions makes it difficult to figure out which path to take next. Â There are two paths that are adorned with sirens and spotlights and have glowing “PICK ME” signs hanging above them and pointing down their lit pathways. Â One is grad school and one is saving money. Â Each one branches off in a couple of directions down the way, though, and the fanfare ends there, leaving me with more decisions.
I know that America is not the best place to be right now and it’s not even someplace that I particularly want to be in the long run, but I really have no clue where the right place is. Â Picking up and heading for Georgia was easy enough, as I’m generally quite happy hopping around, but I don’t know. Â I have definitely gained a lot during my time in Georgia, but I am losing out on a lot of things that are actually really important to me. Â Each day in Georgia is a unique learning experience and I get to spend time with people that I have come to really care about, so I am happy. Â My health, however, is suffering and I have completely given up pretty much all of the things that I love to do most, simply because there is no option to do those things in Georgia. Â The most obvious solution is to make those things possible by creating said options, but my health is definitely my priority.
So yeah. Â I guess coming home has helped me to be more objective. Â While I was in Georgia it was difficult to see the benefits to not being there as I was so focused on life /there/. Â Being reminded of what life outside of Georgia can be like I am better able to weigh the pros and cons of living there. Â So, for now, I will just continue to take comfort in the fact that–aside from traveling and learning–I still have absolutely no clue what I want to do with the rest of my life. Â :D
And maybe I’ll draw something. Â I kind of need to do that.