Teach Abroad - Republic of Georgia, Teach Abroad Programs

A Week of Georgian Chocolates

by Sarah Springsteen, Greenheart Travel Teach Abroad participant in Georgia

This has been the week of chocolates. I’ve discovered Georgian sweets and the discovery is delightful. At all the local markets especially the biggest one, there are boxes upon boxes of different kinds you can by for just –pennies- shall we say? They’ll sell you a kilo of the stuff for about 5 lari, but a handful comes out to less than 1, and that’s more than enough. Every time I’m at the market I try to choose something different. If nothing else by the time I leave, I’ll know my Georgian chocolate.

Last Friday I tried the blue-wrapper kind which turned out to be a conical chocolate wafer.  Not bad.  This was the day I also found out about the upcoming “English” event scheduled at our school. My headmaster really is a go-getter. After only suggesting it two days before, she had already planned out three school “English” events set in the upcoming months. With two neighboring schools in our regions – my two TLG region buddies and I- we are going to host afternoon “English” days. The first is set for the 16th of February. On the one hand in my head I’m running through how to make this presentation possible combined with the Teacher’s English Club, and Student’s English Club’s that I’ve already been requested to lead. On the other hand I’m trying to catch up with my region buddy who’s stopped by with his school director to hammer out the details of these coordinated “English” events.  My wafers were my thinking food on Friday.

Saturday was a gold-mine day. I found a cookie very similar to those chocolate-covered peanut butter girl-scout cookies in the States. It was filled with caramel instead, and it was amazing. Saturday was also the day when many of my host family’s relatives arrived. The highlight of the day was singing Georgian songs while my little brother and host uncle danced the traditional Georgian dances. Unexpectedly my host family are musicians. It was a really moving moment for me. Music has been a consistent ingredient in my own family in the U.S., as my father and brothers all play guitar, my sister sings and I have been involved in concert bands since I was a child. One of my brothers is actually making a go at music as a profession for real. It was one of those moments when all around you at once you see the beauty in the variety and strength in the uniting similarity of the world. Saturday was a treasure, and those caramel cookies were celebratory food.

Monday I found a chocolate covered biscuit, but Tuesday I broke form and bought the caramel cookies again – this time as comfort food. Unexpectedly my co-teacher didn’t show up for work Monday or Tuesday, so suddenly a whole different set of classes, without warning both days, needed teaching. I tried to roll with the punches, but I found myself less amused by the prospect on Tuesday. Two sets of lesson plans were out the window. Then it turned out that the printer the school supposedly had, didn’t work. The photocopier was actually up the street and owned by someone else and I’d need to pay for the privilege. As well the school’s supposed speakers were non-existent. It was definitely a day for comfort food.  Everything was redeemed later though, when by a strange combination of wires one of my students showed me how to make my iPod play on the school’s computer equipment.  Suddenly despite all the setbacks, the day was transformed by this one thing going right.

Wednesday my co-teacher turned up, and things I’d planned for Monday finally started to happen.   Thursday went as expected, except for the absent electricity during one of my planned English lessons. Then Friday turns out I’m off to Tbilisi for a host family event, and thus it all begins again.

In the end that’s how it goes in all of life I imagine. Just when you think you’ve got things planned, things fall apart. Just when you think nothing can go right, the whole day can be redeemed. Every plan needs patience, and at the end of each day, a simple pleasure is necessary. So I’m discovering Georgian sweets this week, learning about the simple pleasures offered here. It’s been a great discovery thus far.

About Greenheart Travel

CCI Greenheart Travel is personally invested in providing cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders. We achieve this by partnering with organizations and governments overseas that empower their local communities through experiential learning and practical development. We provide others with the same positive travel experiences in which we ourselves engage. Through travel and cultural exchange, we help individuals reach their full potential, leading to a more tolerant, peaceful and environmentally sustainable world.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “A Week of Georgian Chocolates

  1. Wow, Sarah, this is quite an amazing story. Thank you. And I love the last line – so true, so true. Learning to “roll with the punches” as we say, is a huge, huge skill. Thanks for showing us how. You are truly an inspiration!

    Posted by Rebecca | February 10, 2011, 12:10 pm

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