Georgia celebrated two holidays on the 3rd and 8th of March – Mother’s Day and International Women’s day – so my travel partners-in-crime and I decided to turn it into a 6-day weekend and head to Armenia! We started the trip off by heading to T’bilisi on Wednesday night so we could catch the morning marshutka without too much difficulty. The highlight of my night was undoubtedly visiting the local McDonald’s…this may have been my first real sign of missing home.
Say what you want about McD’s, but after complete separation from almost everything you’ve ever known, crossing under those golden arches was the closest thing to home I was going to find for awhile, and man how I missed it. Walking up, I was giddy like a 5-year-old who had just convinced their mom to treat them after a hard half day of kindergarten and ABC’s. After entering, I immediately broke into hysterical laughter for no reason other than pure joy, and I couldn’t stop. It was then that I knew I missed hamburgers, I missed French fries, I missed MY food, and I missed home. I absolutely have a new appreciation for this conglomerate (which I had given up at one point in my life) and now understand their international reign. Their global presence is not to fatten the world and make a buck off one fat kid at a time. No, they have spread their existence purely for the sake of those expats that are looking for a break from their new reality, and a taste of home.
We spent the night at Lani’s family friend’s flat…it was beautiful and we were able to walk around in our socks and even sleep without them! We received impeccable hospitality from Nino and her 11-year-old daughter, Tamuna, who both spoke perfect English. Nino, realizing that we’ve probably had our fill of Georgian food, had quite the international spread ready for our breakfast which included American style donuts and milk for our tea and coffee! It was just after 10 a.m. and we were basking in the warmth of central heating when we decided we should call the marshutka station to make sure the one to Armenia was scheduled to leave at 11 a.m. Nino made the call and was informed that it left at 10:30 a.m. and we were about 20 minutes away from the station! She was able to speak directly to the driver and get him to wait for us. As we hustled to get dressed and collect our belongings, Nino called a cab, packed us some snacks, and in 5 minutes had us out the door. Again, Georgian hospitality to the rescue! We made it just in time without holding up our traveling comrades, and we took our seats in the back.