A couple of days ago, I wrote down about 75 idioms for Tea. She had commented one day a week or so ago that she really likes learning idioms but doesn't know very many in English. I told her that I would look some up online and make a list for her. I found at least 200 different idioms! I picked through them and wrote down the most common ones and the ones that I use so as not to overwhelm her with entire list. One that I included for her was, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
This is essentially the theme for the educational reforms that are happening here in Georgia.
I spent the majority of the day today in meetings with the Minister of Education, Dimitri Shashkini and the staff of TLG (one of the projects of the Ministry of Education). It was an eye-opening and encouraging day, but I am so brain-dead from thinking and writing and talking, there is no way that I can do justice to everything that the meeting entailed if I try to write about it tonight. I will leave most of what I have rolling around in my head there -- in my head -- until tomorrow night when I will be able to write down my thoughts more coherently. Tonight that will not happen....coherence, that is. I'll just relate one small story here.
I met Minister Shashkini this past December when I received the award for the Best Teacher of 2010. After telling the country a little about who I am and what I do in the village of Shamgona, he handed me a medal, shook my hand, and thanked me for my work. I smiled and said, "You're welcome." That was the extent of our exchange.
Last Friday night, the news broadcast part of Minister Shashkini's recent Parliamentary address. I was sitting in the kitchen with Tea listening to the address, and suddenly heard M. Shashkini talking about Shamgona and the TLG English teacher that is there -- that's me! -- Tea and I looked at each other with shocked expressions -- then we heard M. Shashkini say that I am an American from Chicago. We cracked up! She knew that I was going to be meeting with him today along with the other TLG teachers in my area, and she suggested that I let the Minster know that I'm from Philadelphia, not Chicago. Laughing, I told her that I'd see if I could get the correction into the conversation.
So, today at the meeting, after the Minister finished sharing with us what he wanted to tell us, he opened the floor for questions. I had a couple written down, so I raised my hand. I asked my question, and before he answered, he looked at me and said, "You're the volunteer in Shamgona, right?" I smiled and said yes. He told me that he had talked about me in his address to Parliament last week. I told him that I had seen the address on TV and had heard him talk about Shamgona and our school....... and (I went for it) that I'm from Philadelphia, not Chicago. He clapped his hands and threw his head back in a giant nod. He said that he knew I was from a city in the U.S., but didn't have it written down. Chicago was the first one that came out of his mouth. He said that he'll make sure to get it right next time he uses me as an example in Parliament or any other address he makes about TLG.
And, now, let's ponder the idiom until tomorrow..... "Rome wasn't built in a day."