Sunday, March 13, 2011


There are many people who want to be on TV more than anything else. I am not one of them. The only TV show that I would like to be a part of is "The Amazing Race," only because I would be able to go to lots of great places that I haven't experienced yet. But since I've been in Georgia, I have been on TV twice -- both times on the news. And tomorrow I am going to be filmed for a movie. Right.

Last week when I was in Tbilisi finding my way from the bus station to the metro, my phone rang. After digging it out of the front pocket of my backpack, I answered it. It was one of the TLG staff members at the Ministry of Education. He told me that there is a group who is making a documentary of the educational system in Georgia and they want to include some of the TLG teachers in the piece. He said that they want the teacher in Shamgona specifically -- that's me. They want to film me at school with my classes and at home with my host family. I asked if they would be getting in touch with my host family and school, and he said yes. (I didn't want a disruption as crazy as a film crew to be a surprise to everyone.)

Tomorrow is the day that the crew will be showing up, and preparations have been underway for days.

At school, everyone has been in a frenzy. The ladies have been planning a suphra since the beginning of the week. I am very skeptical about having time for a full-fledged suphra, but they've planned one nonetheless. All week there has been a lot of very loud discussion of who should prepare what, and with food prices rising, the discussions grew in intensity throughout the week. By Friday, the arguments were more heated than I have yet witnessed. I wasn't there today, but I know that they were at the school cleaning it from top to bottom. And the director got the builder to come in and fix the flooring that had buckled and warped in a few of the classrooms. I also heard that some out-of-town police stopped by the school to have a look around..... maybe to make sure everything was safe for the crew.

Since Tea and I had to be at school yesterday, Tea's mom came over to start cleaning the house. She was here before I left for school, and she scrubbed all day long. She took the two carpets off the floor in the living room, washed them, and hung them over the fence to dry. She took down the curtains and washed them, too. They were hanging on the line, blowing in the wind when I got home from school. She mopped the floor a few times to make sure all the dirt and dust were gone.

I swept my room -- but that was all the cleaning it needed since I'm such a neat-freak. I also washed the pants, shirt, and sweater I had worn to school.

Tea and I talked about what foods she wanted to have for everyone (a Georgian-must when expecting matter who they are). We did a few little things to prepare for cooking, but most of the cooking happened today.

From noon until after 10 p.m., Tea and I cooked. We made a cake, eggplant stuffed with hazelnut paste, red peppers stuffed with the same thing, mushroom/rice/carrot salad, another salad made of layers of shredded veggies, cabbage salad, pelamushi, stuffed cabbage, and bread. Well, the bread was today's -- tomorrow, more will be made. I love cooking, so it was a great day for me. And I am more comfortable in Tea's kitchen and more used to her methods and implements, so I am able to do much more than I could when I first arrived -- like using an empty beer bottle and a bench to crack open hazelnuts to roast for the hazelnut paste. (It works surprisingly well and efficiently!) Since everything is made from scratch, the prep-time for any dish is beyond what most Americans would consider rational. I love it -- it's the way I cook anyway.

The last piece of preparation that happened today was a job for Koba. Tea did not want a film crew to be in her house with her light fixtures non-existent. (Well, she doesn't want them here at all, but....) When she and Koba started remodeling their house a few years ago, Koba took out all the light fixtures because they were old and broken. He kept meaning to get new ones, but never did. Bare light bulbs hanging from bare wires had served well enough..... until now. Now there is a nice, new five-bulb hanging lamp in the living room -- a very nice upgrade that Tea is happy with. She and I commented that now we will be able to read in that room after dark without straining our eyes to see the words on the page.

I don't like anyone bothering over me. I don't like being the center of attention (except when I am teaching). I like doing things for others, not having others do things for me. I know that what everyone has been doing for the last two days is not for me directly, but I am the cause of all the fuss and the work. These wonderfully kind and generous people do not have extra money sitting around to spend frivolously. This film crew coming to town has prompted all my colleagues and my host family to put out money they should be spending on other things -- not for suphras because these film people want to film me and our school. But they wouldn't be Georgian if they didn't fuss like this. It is who they are and it is what they do.

Tomorrow should be interesting.....

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