Have you ever tried drinking from a fire hose? That is how I have felt this week during our training. We had classes every day to teach us Georgian language and culture and about the educational system here. There has been so much vital information given to us in such a concentrated time, my brain soaked up all it could before overflowing after it's saturation point! I wanted to absorb every ounce of language, but after the third hour each day moving into the fourth, I felt my eyes glaze over (a look I know well from my former Spanish students), and I could not remember any more! Even reading the letters became difficult at that point. The TLG staff did an amazing job putting together this training week, and I cannot imagine trying to assimilate myself into this culture without the invaluable training they put together. I know that the language will come with practice and lots of mistakes and questions! I look forward to the day when I can understand even a quarter of what people say to me! And I need to stop mixing up the words for "hello" and "thank you" - gamarjobat = hello and gmadlobt = thank you!
Today is moving day. The rest of my intake-family has already gone off with their respective host families, but mine is coming from a much greater distance, so I am waiting now for them to arrive and take me to Shamgona - a little town outside of Zugdidi. It's a strange thing to sit and wait for someone who is, I'm sure, just as nervous and anxious to meet me as I am to meet them! What time did they have to leave this morning to come to Tbilisi? What will we talk about on the 5-hour drive to my new home? How much English do they speak, and how many language blunders will I make during the trip? (If I know myself, many!!!) What does my house look like? Do they have kids? How will they do with accepting this slightly-nuts, dyed-blonde, divorced, tattooed, athletic, independent woman? We'll all have some adjusting to do!
I am very excited to meet my students tomorrow! That is why I am here - to teach! Being surrounded by kids who are or are not eager to learn, I want to inspire them to not be afraid to speak. I want them to know that they can make any mistake around me, and I will only help - never criticize! I know that I will make mistakes in Georgian around them, so I hope they will see that it is okay. The only mistake is not trying! The weight of importance of being a teacher feels doubly heavy here. The government's initiative to have everyone speak English is progressive and important for the future of Georgia's development. I have a part in making that happen! How exciting!
Next time I write, the questions I have voiced will be answered....