Anything can happen in საქართველო.

Everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy’s Law, a reality that all digital artists are acutely aware of, made it very clear to me today that it can strike at any place and time—no technology needed. Not to say that today went poorly—I quite enjoyed it, as a matter of fact—but it served as a clear reminder that anything can happen in Georgia.

Most of my time in Kutaisi was relatively uneventful. I got stared at, experienced slight shock at spotting a few other expatriates and was asked the usual series of questions: Where are you from? Are you a tourist? Do you teach English? Do you have a husband? Are you a boy or a girl? For myself, that last one is just as common as the rest, but today it went over a little differently whilst a few middle-aged ladies engaged me in conversation when I stopped to purchase a Nabeghlavi at the bazari.

“Bichi xar?” she asked.

“Ara, gogo var,” I responded, assuming my voice would confirm my claim despite the fact that it never seems to be enough proof for anyone.

“Martlaaaaaaa?!”

Her wide-eyed look of undecided disbelief is one that I have seen many times now, but it usually stops there, being appeased by vigorous nodding and eager repetition of “ki, ki” from myself. This woman, however, was not going to take my word for it and—without hesitating—ran her hand down the left side of my chest.

I think it is safe to say that this is the point at which many westerners would start a small scale riot for being violated but—as I’ve been told—I’m not very American and must not have been hard-wired with this response, because all I could do was laugh and play along, pulling my shirt taut to show the underlying…well…almost nothingness as if she hadn’t just felt it for herself.

As soon as I stepped out of the bazari I forgot this happened until a few hours later. Had the thought not come back to me I probably would have lost it forever, because this has become a part of my Georgian Reality (ნინო—if you ever read this—I’m going to be borrowing that term a lot).

At that point the marshutka hunt began. I paced up and down the block, ignoring marshutka drivers that assumed I was heading to Tbilisi and, in turn, being ignored by two consecutive drivers that I actually was trying to flag down—one heading to the center and one heading to Batumi. Now that was a first. I have never been ignored or overlooked by Georgians when not in the company of a darker-skinned shavi individual. I guess the third time is the charm, though, as the third driver I signaled stopped and I hopped onto what is—by far—the oldest trans-city (does that term work?) marshutka I have been on. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next.

Not long into the ride there was a loud sound, the marshutka jolted, and we came to a stop at the side of the road. The sign on the other side read “მ. გუბისწყალი.” Overwhelmed by the smell of exhaust that had accumulated inside, I decided to take the opportunity to get some fresh air. I leaned against the guardrail and spotted two horses in the pasture before me. Mountains peeked above the clouds beyond them, visible in every direction but west, where the glowing sunset beckoned us to continue toward our destination. The clouds reddened as the sun continued to disappear and—having finished repairing whatever had gone wrong on the other side of the marshutka, the driver proceeded to load the giant blue tanks of petrol back into the cramped marshutka and we continued on our way.

Those of you back home know that I haven’t been keeping in very close contact and whenever one of you asks what it’s like in Georgia I never know what to say. For those of you that have been wondering, this is an account of a fairly typical day for me. I arrived home without feeling the slightest hint of irritation towards anything that took place, which is pretty strange considering the non-existence of my patience when I was back home. I don’t know that I can say that this situation is changing me—I am still stubborn, I still get impatient with people (you know who you are), I still have little more emotional capacity than a rock. Perhaps I am just doing a better job of reflecting my own belief that everything happens as it is meant to. Each moment will happen and each moment will pass, so why waste energy on negative reactions?

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