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Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Fair Team


Team is a weird thing. Instead of doing what you want to do (like get more sleep), you force yourself to go to the team meeting and sleep through one instead. You spend your time with a bunch of people and give up your individuality for team’s greater good. Eventually, your team starts sneaking into your everyday life, it states its presence on your birthdays, it tags along for New Year’s parties in Batumi, it eats your food, sleeps on your couch and drunkenly sobs at your sad love stories. It’s weird.
My team plays the quiz game thingy called “What When Where?” Before I joined it, the game seemed like smart ass people playing on TV. But then I became my hubby’s team’s groupie. Meaning I followed my hubby around to every tournament and team meeting, cooked for his teammates and spent lots of time just hanging with them. They lost one player along the way and hubby forcefully led me into the team (I thought I was not good enough).
My team consists of different weirdos  First, there is the team captain, a person who invests a lot of his emotions in the game and actually expects us to show up on time.  Whenever we write an incorrect answer, he yells and screams like a little girl, sometime circles our table in bewilderment, demoralizes the whole team and finally rests on his chair like a defeated warrior. Touchingly, he writes summary comments after every game and I don’t know whether he is honest or just tries to keep our self-esteem up, but he notes exactly what we need to hear. He knows who said what and why. He feels our heartbeat. He is aware. And, he is a great listener. If he’s calm. 
The second guy is this fucked up journalist who, through this game, through our conversations on the train while going to tournaments, and our talks on the couch while drinking after games, became one of our closest friends in the whole world. He is brave, restless and full of adrenaline, he chases wars all over the globe; like mushrooms after the rain, he pops up in Afganistan, Libia, Egypt… and then he calls from those hellish places and asks hubby stuff like : “I am in a hookah store in Egypt, what flavor tobacco do you want me to buy for you?”. He is a man of infinite positive energy and when you are with him, he charges you with it like a battery.
The third guy is actually a girl.  She’s been with us for a year and a half.  She is one of the most knowledgeable kids I know.  She came and brought a fresh wave of intellect into our team.  She is my ally on the team – I can discuss Benedict Cumberbach with her! She is nerdy and girly and funny and cooks banana bread. Like what I always wanted to be, only better.
We have a new guy this season.  I can’t really tell you much about him, because his is very introverted, quiet and seemingly innocent man, who does not open up despite my best efforts to poke him out of his shell. But there is some infinite coolness lying beneath his defensive interior, like the other day he posted the most adorable picture of his daughter that made me and hubby look at each other and go awwwwww. He is also a journalist and god save us from all these skewed and corrupt media crew overrunning our team! He has a pretty interesting blog. And, as we all know, blogwriters are cool.
In the end, I just have to mention two guys that left the team, but are still part of our team FB page (hence, they will always be our teammates in our hearts of hearts). One is a hilarious, life-loving, fun-loving IT guy and the other is genius pursuing his careers in Stanford, and I swear when he becomes rich and famous, I will tell everyone that once upon a time, we spent a whole night talking about girls.
And the last but not least is my very own hubby who is the smartest person I know, but writing about him takes more than 500 words and he is so much more than a team member. So I will not write about him.
That’s it. These kids are regular kids, but they know stuff that others don’t know because they are not afraid to actually explore life. They do it through traveling, reading, just plain video-game playing, but damn it, they explore life every second of their living and I love them for it. Thanks guys for being my team! And congrats on a great game tonight!
One last thing: our team has two girls! And thus, our team is one of the coolest teams out there!
The pic: our team (minus one and minus me who holds the cam) celebrating the right answer

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Condom Dilemma


Last week my whole office was discussing a video of politicians talking about what categories of condoms can youth use and which ones should they outlaw. See, our country has no other problems besides deciding whether the nature of a condom is offensive. That matters so much!
They want to outlaw “items that are of sexual nature” (or something like that) and are trying to come up with a comprehensive list. Thus, today the honorary members of parliament discussed the following life-and-death matter (verbatim transcript):
-          I’d like to say, regarding condom, I understand that it is a serious topic, it all depends on a condom, some might have not a precautionary, but a pleasure-giving function…
-          Yes, I also wanted to say that…
-          Some condoms are complicated, with certain technical aids. We do not mean to ban fictional literature, or magazines and newspapers of a general profile, for example, we can’t ban Zaza Burchuladze using this law (average modern writer, has lots of sex in his books – pasumonok).
-          Yes, there are some condoms that have a function of giving sexual pleasure. Those will not be for sale.
So this is what it comes down to: are condoms used for sexual pleasure or just for safety reasons? What about condoms that have small “special effects”, like ripples on the surface but in general look like other condoms? What if one gets sexual pleasure from an average, no-nonsense condom (it is smooth and less messy)? Should we outlaw it too? Finally, why the hell should our honorary members of the freakin parliament discuss our youth’s  sexual pleasure at all? Why is it their business?
I have other questions as well. What if one buys items of sexual pleasure online? Will one get fined? What if someone decides to take a case to court to determine whether an item is of a necessity or sexual pleasure? How will they determine this important matter? Will they ask the witness: did you use this particular condom for sexual pleasure or only for protection? Did you feel pleasure? Was it due to the condom or due to your partner?
Why? Why is this even a matter of discussion?! Damn it, what if I am under 18 and I want to own a condom that glows in the dark? Or if I need a vibrator? Or an S and M outfit?
Secondly, tell me dear politicians, can’t you see other problems that youth under 18 have? Because if you don’t, I can remind you: gambling and gambling-connected suicides and crime, cigarettes available to minors, violent video games and absurd education system, looser and unknowledgeable teachers, absence of support groups and rehabilitation centers! Those are the problems, not the pleasure origins of a condom! It’s just a condom for fuck’s sake! A condom! Get over it! Take care of the problems caused by no regular sexual education! Give out condoms for free! Encourage youths to use them! Go to a sex shop, buy yourself a super-rippled, banana-flavored, glow-in-the-dark condom, go be sexually happy at your house and maybe you will leave others’ sexual preferences the hell alone!!!!!
p.s.the pic: arbitrary object of sexual pleasure I found in a grocery store in Netherlands. Outlaw the big carrots!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Books that Personally Matter


Recently, I stayed up several nights trying to tackle Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It snuck into my dreams, my thoughts and my Facebook statuses (stati?).  And now that I am done with this book, I keep thinking of others that kept me awake.
Early childhood – Grimm brothers’ fairy tales. I knew them by heart. I read them and re-read them a million times. Also Astrid Lindgren’s Karlson, my first book in Russian. Since then, Russian is my favorite reading language.
Teenage period – definitely Dumas. Read Queen Margot in two days. Could not eat, sleep or play with peers. Stayed in a hammock in my summer house and read until my eyes were sore and dry. That summer I read about 10 Dumas books found in my house, and then proceeded to consume The Count of Monte Cristo once a month.  Everytime I finished a new book, I’d go back go back to re-read The Count. I could literally quote the dialogues between Dantes and Faria in the prison.  I’ve never had such a book fever, as I had in that summer, when I was 13-14. I read more books that vacation than I’ve read in six consequent years.
College years – lots of jewels, I was more picky about the reading material, hence my Nobel list, but what made a lasting impression is probably Dostoevski’s Idiot and Nabokov’s Lolita. Lolita was the book we had to read in my modern literature class; once I got a hold of it, I read it all day long, I remember sitting in a biology class and reading, sitting on a bus and reading, walking in a street and reading and finishing it in one day.
Recent years – among many that I loved, I have to name Dune by Frank Herbert. Not because it is the greatest book I’ve read, but because it is about a desert planet and I was reading it as we were driving through New Mexico desert and every time characters would get thirsty, I’d look up, see the view from my car window and swallow a bottle of water, shrinking with thirst. I peed a lot during that trip...
 Two months ago I had a similar experience: I was reading Life of Pi while sitting in a boat, and well, Pi spends most of the book on the boat! I felt such empathy for him!
And Finally, Murakami’s Kafka on the Beach redefined a novel for me, redefined culture, globalization, identity, love, Freud, mythology and good writing. I was nanny at that time and I took the poor kid for a walk, put him in a stroller and pushed him around for 5 hours, while I had that book sitting on the top of the stroller, swallowing every word. The kid didn’t mind, he liked outdoors.
So, if I had to name books that shaped my world, I’d probably name those, though few of them fall into my favorite style of writing (I like monumental, long novels, like Thomas Mann’s work. Ayn Rand was just my sort of book). But all of them mattered more than anything else at that moment and all of them had to be read or the world would end.  Those are my books that personally matter. What are yours?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Peace

  I am sitting in the office, alone, my co-workers gone to lunch.  I bring my own lunch, cause I am pretending to eat healthy, overall, this pretense works for most of the week, but then the weekend comes and ruins my diet with chips and bread and parties. Behold, next weekend I plan to make a pumpkin pie from scratch!
I don't mind sitting alone. This is, in fact, my only chance of privacy. Hubby has been spending all day at home lately and I can't come to work earlier than everybody else, as I often did in the Ministry. So this is my alone hour, spent mostly on writing this post.
  I feel surprisingly calm, peaceful, content with my life. Last week, I realized that I haven't been counting days of the week--Monday, five days left, Tuesday, four days left, Friday have to endure one day, Sunday need to stay up as late as possible to prolong the freedom. I come home and read, I am not tired for reading, I've read three books in last month and half, gave-up on many reality TV shows, cleaned my house...
  It's been almost two months I've been at this NGO. I still work in the field of inclusive education, however, instead of dealing with papers, I am dealing with kids. I evaluate their skills, write recommendations for care-givers and teachers, train people, I am getting my hands dirty. I travel all around Georgia and there is no better pastime for me than sitting in the car and looking out of the window at unknown places. I get bored easily. Tbilisi is small and boring. I'd rather spend a weekend with no decent bathroom but great hiking sites, than in my apartment in this dusty city.
  My co-workers are my fellow students from my M.A. program, others I met here, but we share the same attitude and interests so we get along fine.I hope. I mean, I get along fine with them, who knows what they're thinking of me :-)
 I just need to keep developing, take online classes or do an internship, otherwise I might get too comfortable. Just have to keep in mind why I left the Ministry, for becoming a better specialist in some field. Right now, I am not doing that.
Anyway, we might loose our house and car, if hubby doesn't get job soon, but somehow, I believe everything will work out. We can always sell our bodies :-)
 Also, this year,we went to Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia, Netherlands and USA. Usually, in November I am restless and ready to escape, to run away from this country. This time though, I am actually happy to be here and to spend these holidays at home.I don't have to leave the country to leave in peace. My cell phone does not ring every five seconds anymore.
p.s. Pic taken in Kakheti during one of training, peaceful surroundings

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gremis Temi:Life in a Community


   It’s been a month since I’ve started new job and I like going back to fieldwork. Presently, we are in a Gremi community, training teachers, caregivers, cooks, gardeners and bunch of German volunteers about inclusive education.  It is quiet and peaceful in Gremi, we saw the historic places earlier and now we are sitting in our room, without comfort we are used to, but that’s OK, we are warm, we are not hungry and we are inspired.
   Gremi community, known as Gremis Temi is the only place in Georgia where people with disabilities live as functional members of the society, opposed to sitting in class where they are barely tolerated or being hidden away from the neighbors.  Here, everybody works according to own abilities and is involved in the communal well-being. I have never seen people with disabilities live such a full life in Georgia, life full of work, fun, happiness and disappointment, achievement and quarrel, taking care of self and others. People meet people here, people are people here. It is so unusual to find a functioning Georgian community of any kind, let alone one with many challenges: physical, emotional, behavioral, mental, fiscal…
    Gremi community is fully sustainable. Temi inhabitants grow, cook and eat their own produce. They bake their own delicious bread and prepare own lobio infused with fresh herbs from their own garden. They harvest grapes and sell Temi wine—after all, Gremi is in Kakheti, the wine-producing region. They have a carpentry shop where they build window, railings, tables and other necessary items. They harness the sun energy via solar batteries. They receive small portion of governmental aid and local and international donations.
    The place is so very cool that I can’t describe how cool it is. Eighty people sharing the same home, a home and not an institution. Eighty people!
     The community quietly sits in picturesque valley, surrounded by mountains, Gremi monastery seen from the dormitory widows, Nekresi just a hike away. Nature is breathtaking and I will be definitely taking some foreign guests to show off the views.
     From now on, we will always use their everyday life as example of involvement and inclusion.
Of course week spent in Gremi is not enough to full appreciate it or to notice downfalls, but it definitely made a lasting first impression.
    For five days we worked with the staff, who know a lot through experience, and six German volunteers, who came here to stay for a year and work along with the Temi, like everybody else, enjoying rare hot showers and sharing rooms with others, eating local food and learning Georgian, dedicated and unpretentious, simply nice, fun-loving, hard-working young individuals. Staff is pretty knowledgeable and what is even more important, is accepting and loving.
    Thanks Gremis Temi for your hospitality! I want to come back to you.
P.S. the pic taken form Gremi castle

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cancer


It’s a post-apocalyptic world. We walk up the hill, pass the huge abandoned hospital building, pass the pine trees, cell phone reception is down. “Where could she be?” we wonder, as we try to keep our feet intact—pavement has holes in it, like Misha never happened to this country. Pack of dogs jump out of the pines and I almost expect one of them to have a human limb in its mouth…
After wandering up and down in the dark, lighting our way with cell phones, we reach the hospice. Hubby’s grandmother got moved here today. This is the place where terminally ill cancer patients are placed.
We walk into the building and after-atomic-exposure scenes continue. Sheets, blankets and pillowcases dry on a long railing by the ramp. An A4 paper is scotched to the door with a sign: “Close the Door”. Well, at least there is a door. Last time I felt so depressed, I was walking through an abandoned hotel that became home for refugees from Abkhazia…
The room is divided into six parts via thin curtain. While we sit by hubby’s grandma, I can hear patient on the other side of the curtain coughing and choking. So this is what they see, hear and smell the last moments of their life.
There is one window in the whole room and luckily our patient is placed by it. I keep looking out and thinking, “what if I jump? Can I just jump?” I look down. The parquet floor is scraped and covered in stains. Few minutes later, I catch myself rocking back and forth. As neuropsychologist, I recognize that I start stimulating my vestibular system in order to calm down. It sucks when you can diagnose your own symptoms. You start analyzing everything.
I walk out and see patient records in the hallway, stacked on each other. The whole place screams chaos. They have been moved here from the larger building, what happens now? Do they move somewhere else? Is the large building renovated for cancer patients or is it sold for good?
Ironically, all the ugly Soviet vases that used to “decorate” hospitals are crowded in one corner, by an empty rolling bed. It’s a ghastly sight.
Egoistically, I am thankful that my grandmother is in the states and gets one of the best cancer treatments in the world.
We return home and FB lets me know that my friend’s wife, a girl my age, mother of four (the youngest is just three months old), has a breast cancer. I don’t know what it is lately, but news about people having cancer is everywhere.
So, now I am going to do what I haven’t done for two years of blogging. I am going to ask for money. This girl is going to loose part of her body tomorrow. The family has raised enough money for the surgery, but she still has to go through expensive treatment. Here is a bank account set up for donations:
  თიბისი ბანკის /ქართლის რეგ. ფილიალი TBCBGE22  ანგარიში: GE71TB7080245063600038
 მიმღები: ნინო ვარდიაშვილი
დანიშნულება: მკერდის სიმსივნის სამკურნალო ხარჯები.
საკონტაქტო მობ.: 599 989 545
TBC Bank Kvemo Kartli branch. TBCBGE22 Account: GE71TB7080245063600038
Receiver: Nino Vardiashvili
Purpose: breast cancer treatment expenses
Contact number:  599 989 545

Thank you!

P.S. the pic: creepy vases at the hospice.





Sunday, November 4, 2012

sick

dear readers,
I think I have flu, so sorry, but I just can't make myself write anything this week. I do have an interesting story about Gudiashvili square...so see you soon.
Thanx for still reading my scribble.
p.s. bundled in scarf and drinking lots of fluids (actually, this is a pic of Belgian chocolate I drank in Bruges, but it conveys the meaning well).

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Love Georgian Service

Yesterday I spent five hours learning about old Tbilisi on a wonderful walking tour, I will elaborate on it next time--I really liked it. This scribble is about a post-tour cafe experience.
Five hours of walking. Starving, we walk into a cafe in Abanotubani, a touristy street. It is empty. A girl form the other room walks out and asks us what would we like to order, thought we haven't even seen the menu yet. My friends leave to wash their hands and I can't understand, what am I supposed to do, sit at my table and wait or walk to the waitress who stands by the bar. I catch her attention and walk to her. I order everything except water. At this point another waitress tells me, in a sour voice, to sit down and she will come take my order there. I am like, but I am almost done, can I finish my order? No, I have to sit down. After some time, the girls yell FROM THE BAR what would we drink. Now, did it matter where I told them about my water, sitting or standing up, if they never came to our table?
Scene two. A hungry man walks into the cafe to take food with him. He looks at the menu, orders chebureki, then looks at the bar and notices a way longer menu displayed there, and re-orders pirogi which is not that different from chebureki--both are dough containing meat or potatoes and fried. The mean waitress goes in the kitchen, we can all here cook saying that pirogi will take 30 minutes (chebureki was promised in 10 minutes). Waitress comes out and informs the man that he will have to wait slightly more time, around 20 minutes. He asks, 20 or 30? She answers 20-30. The man is understandably freaked out and orders cheburekis again--reassured they will be ready in ten minutes. Meanwhile, he orders a beer.
Scene three. Big gorilla-like security guys with earphones and all the security gadgets  walk in. They look so scary. They stand in the middle of the cafe and look around. I feel extremely uncomfortable and want to disappear. They are trying to figure out what to do with themselves. They are like extras in a play, a background for main action.A comic relief of muscles and faces with lost expression.
Scene four. at the same time,10 minutes pass and the man does not receive his order or his beer (seriously, it was just us and him in the cafe before the muscle attack,  just give him damn beer). He reminds her several times and then...he explodes.
The man: I want to retreat my order, return my money.
The mean waitress: you can't, you already placed an order.
The man: I do not want your cheburekis anymore. Give me my money back.
The mean waitress: YOU CANNOT AND I WILL NOT GIVE YOUR MONEY BACK!
The man: YOU ARE RUDE AND I DO NOT WANT TO BUY YOUR PRODUCT!
The mean waitress: YOU ARE EVEN RUDER AND YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO TALK TO PEOPLE.
The man: LET ME TALK TO YOUR MANAGER  !
The mean waitress: FINE!
The standing gorilla security: Ummm....we are lost. What is going on?
My hubby: pasumonok, close your mouth.
The mean waitress return with a cook from the kitchen, in apron and hands covered in flour.
The cook: What's the problem?
The man: Firstly, she did not greet me right, I came in and she was eating in another room. Secondly, she confused me about timing of food and what food was available, thirdly, she is rude (I swear he really did tell her this in orderly manner).    
The cook (calmly): I have already began cooking your food, it will be out in two minutes.
The mean waitress: YOU ARE RUDE! YOU ARE RUDE!
The man: Is there a man in this establishment?!
Me: This is sexist. He implies that he can't make these women understand his situation.
Hubby: No, the man is so desperate, he wants to swear at someone and he can't swear at women.
Me: Got it.
The mean waitress keeps screaming. I want to leave, but I realize that we've already placed our order and if we cancel now we will get beaten and trampled over by the screaming harpies of Georgian food industry. Plus, the lost-looking gorilla security still stand in the middle of cafe acting like lost-looking gorilla security. I am afraid to get up and stand by them.
Scene four. The climatic scene.
Cook returns to her kitchen.
The mean waitress keeps insulting her costumer. Finally she yells: Here is your 10 Lari and 30 Tetri!-- and throws the money on bar counter, with change falling to the ground.
The man: YOU ARE LOCATED IN THE CENTER OF TBILISI AND YOUR SERVICE SUCKS!
The mean waitress: YOU SUCK AS A HUMAN BEING!
Everybody else: what?!
The mean waitress: Go, leave the place right now, or your face will get ugly (implication of beating up his face).
Everybody else: WHAT?!  
The man leaves furious. I just blink and drink my water, afraid to move.
Security man: Can we order? And I would like to give you an advice: you cannot talk like that to the costumers.
The mean waitress: But you saw how rude he was!
Other girl comes out and brings security people drinks but no glasses. The mean waitress disappears into a kitchen. New costumers come in. We get our cheburekis--delicious!--we finish our cheburekis, we ask for the bill, we pay the bill, new costumers walk up to the bar counter and demand to place order. Security guys receive their food and their glasses. We leave. The curtain.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Georgian Chronichles

Dear friends,
please visit my second blog this week. I wrote a little summary of recent events.
Also, sorry for lack of pictures. I need to go out in the city and take some new pics.
Here's the beginning:
"End of summer—Tbilisi looks like an archeological site. Due to long-term memory problems of voting population, roads, bridges, buildings are being erected right before the elections, to remember our caring government.  During the Shevardnadze era, road lines got painted only before the elections. Oh, and the stadium in our yard got a face lift too. Happy simple times.
With just enough bridges, people will forget everything that took place in the last four years...
Mid September—videos of prisoners being tortured are released. We loose it.   Demonstrations all over the place. We no longer are able to lie to ourselves, facades have crumbled, and we finally realize what we’ve known all along—we’ve been using humans as means to achieve perceived peace and stability. Everyone is outraged, angry, blaming the government, but really we’re just feeling guilty. Scales tip to anti-Nationalist side dramatically. Ideas, parties, promises, even particular people one votes for is of a lesser importance. The emotion of guilt and embracement dictates “either with us or against us” war mentality. You’re either anti-Natsi or Nazi.  Never mind who is on the other side."
For the rest, please click here http://pik.tv/en/blogs/barabadze/49096-the-georgian-chronicleshttp://pik.tv/en/blogs/barabadze/49096-the-georgian-chronicles

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Election Fever

No, I did not watch the torture videos. I was in the middle of the Hunger Games books and watching prisoners tortured seemed a bit immoral. They have a right for privacy, the incident did not occur for our entertainment. How quickly we turned it into something about us like, we're sick of living in this country; politicians lied to us; ministers should leave their posts; we should get rid of these torturer government through elections; we deserve better. WE.WE.WE. The video served it purpose,stirred some emotions in US, served some political purposes and it is over now. Has anyone considered that those prisoners maybe did not want to become part of the reality show? Do we even know that they are real people or are they just characters on TV? When we were appalled and storming the streets were we sorry for them or for us?
I went to elections feeling dizzy. Till the last moment, I had no idea what I was going to do. Just like eight years ago, I was disgusted by the ruling party but hated the alternative. Then, last time, I crossed out everyone but we still ended up with a party and a president I could not stand. Well, majority voted in their favor, so I couldn't complain. Now, I am having a deja vu. I am hearing the same slogans, the same sentiments, only this time from other party. Once again, I will have to endure government elected by the majority, government I don't support. But really what is the alternative? Staying on the same old dysfunctional course with the same dysfunctional leaders?  
You know, all those people that actually support someone, one way or the other, they believe in something, they're happy. I look around and I am desperate, I am heartbroken and I am helpless. I want to believe in someone, but I can't. I can't,  I can't support a party that employs discarded members of the ruling party, people who deserve no trust, who have done so much wrong in the past. But most of all, I can't support what I don't know. I have no idea what their party platform is. Never did they bother to actually explain what their agenda is, what will they accomplish and how.  All I hear is nationalistic bullshit. Just like I heard it eight years ago from the ruling party. There is no unifying idea. If we gather a focus group of random voters and ask them to express a concept of Georgian Dream in two sentences, we would get different responses. What is it really? Cause I keep hearing different sentiments put on the same scale of importance. Important issued lumped with bogus ones. The same ad promising territorial unity--very important, increased pensions--very important, restored national dignity--what the hell does that even mean, giving farming land back to Georgians--bogus issue and end to gay parades--bogus issue. How will they end something that does not exist? Is that how they are planning to increase pensions too? What is it that they want, besides replacing existing monsters?
On the other hand, I am happy that the party I had to endure  for so long, that the man I never elected is not the sole ruler of the universe anymore.  Here's for trampling over human rights, here's for destroying our media,  here's for giving us false hopes, here's for monopolizing our businesses. please leave us alone. I have just witnessed how bunch of men in from black jeeps beat the crap out of the dream supporters and took their cameras away. In the middle of the day. Right by my house.
It's wrong, it's all wrong, you get there, you look at the ballot and all you  see are clowns.
I am forced to choose sides but for me, it's all catch 22. So yesterday, I made a very odd choice. And for all the conspiracy theorist out there the pen worked. Ink did not disappear--I scribbled something on a piece of paper,took it home and voila, it's still there.That was easy to test.
But really is disappearing ink our biggest problem?

This is how I feel

“You have a morbid aversion to dying. You probably resent the fact that you're at war and might get your head blown off any second."

"I more than resent it, sir. I'm absolutely incensed."

"You have deep-seated survival anxieties. And you don't like ... bullies, snobs, or hypocrites. Subconsciously there are many people you hate."

"Consciously, sir, consciously," Yossarian corrected in an effort to help. "I hate them consciously."

"You're antagonistic to the idea of being robbed, exploited, degraded, humiliated, or deceived. Misery depresses you. Ignorance depresses you. Persecution depresses you. Violence depresses you. Corruption depresses you. You know, it wouldn't surprise me if you're a manic-depressive!"

"Yes, sir. Perhaps I am."

"Don't try to deny it."

"I'm not denying it, sir," said Yossarian, pleased with the miraculous rapport that finally existed between them. "I agree with all you've said.”

Catch 22

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Country-- the Obscene Post


Fuck this country and fuck its leaders.
Fuck its prisons, fuck its justice, fuck its courts.
Fuck its opposition.
Fuck us for pretending that everything was all right, when boys were imprisoned for ten years for stealing cell phones. Well, at least it is safe to walk the streets, we said. At least nobody steals our cell phones, we said.    And what about those, whose lives would be broken forever, cause of a relatively minor offence? How would they act, when stressed and traumatized, they’d leave prisons and colonies? Oh well, ten years is a long time, we’ll deal with them later, we thought.
Fuck this country, with its valleys and its mountains, with its traditions and its supras, with its ancestors and its folk songs. Fuck it, for all its singing and dancing and conformity.
Fuck the wine. Fuck the food. Fuck the democratic Georgia.
Fuck us, for being silent, for ignoring ombudsman’s reports for years, for caring only about our jobs, our lives, our comfort.
Fuck us, that it takes a video of beating and raping to get us out of our houses, to make us draw posters with brooms, for yelling and screaming, and getting it out, though most likely, this is just to silent our conscience, to do something.
What? What? Will anyone be held accountable? Anyone important? Will anyone be investigated, punished? Will they? Has that ever happened before?
people in the video might get prosecuted.  That’s something. But what about others? The ones on top? The puppeteers? Fuck them.
Oh this country, this poor excuse of a country, does it take elections to start airing things?
What, are we angry? Are we protesting? Is this the first time we heard about it? Really?
Fuck tv channels and journalist, fuck whoever controls them, fuck international organizations for supporting reports, fuck our government for concealing negative ones, fuck liars, fuck torturers, fuck the Orwelian world we live in.
Fuck them and fuck us all, me for example, like I did not know, like my friend’s brother hasn’t been in overcrowded prison with not enough beds, where inmates take turns sleeping for several hours on a bed, while others sit on another bed, and others stand in the room and yet some others stand in the courtyard—cause there is not enough space even to stand in a cell.  Like my friend was not imprisoned for no compelling reason, like he was not beaten, like he did not write about it.
Fuck this elections, when you have to choose between horrible and atrocious, fuck them for not giving us chance to vote, to actually go and vote for once, not stare into the ballot, lost between unworthy candidates.    
Why, why should I live here? Why? Fuck it. Fuck it if you stay and endure this and fuck it if you leave and run away.
What is it, Hunger Games? V for Vendetta? What, what kind of absurd theatre is this country?
My country is the country where some people torture other people, while others still yell ”hail  Georgia--gaumarjos”. Hail what?
Fuck my country.   
p.s. I opened facebook and everybody had these black squares as their profile pics. We mourn. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

There is a House in New Orleans...


     Before travelling, I do a thorough research. So, when my mom and I got off the Louis Armstrong airport in New Orleans, I knew exactly that the taxi fare to French Quarter—the famous touristy place where we decided to stay—was $33. It is the most efficient way to get to French Quarter for two people, shuttle costs more and the bus, while being cheap, takes forever.
    In 20 minutes, we found ourselves in French Quarter, looking hungrily at everything, the way you absorb unknown place for the first time. We stayed at a historic hotel called St. Helene. Let this post be a little ad for their nice service. It looked all white and clean, very European (even had square pillows!).
    After we settled our stuff, we wandered around still- unfamiliar streets. We walked upon an oyster bar (sorry bar, I forgot your name) and though I am not a huge fan of any seafood, I really enjoyed Rockefeller oysters, with cheese and spinach. That was our first meal in Louisiana.
     It was also the first time we had to listen to locals. We are, after all, foreigners. Accents are tough to handle.However, our server was nice enough to repeat things to us, until we got it. He even asked if we were mother and daughter and how is that possible (my mom looks young).
     Now, we look a lot alike, except she is prettier. For three days over there, people kept stopping us and asking if we are twins, sisters, coming up to us in restaurants and complimenting how lovely we look and generally stroking our egos. It felt nice.  Not gonna lie.
     I would also like to add that people in New Orleans are very friendly (either hospitable locals or happy drunk tourists) and service is the best I’ve seen in the states.
    After snacking on oysters, we walked in French Quarter, looking at the old colonial buildings. Now, I can’t describe the beauty of cast-iron balconies, 200-year-old houses, street performers, smells, Jazz.  You have to experience it. Little streets look like a movie set for a historic film. If you ignore the skyscrapers in the background, mandatory for every downtown of every state capital, you actually forget where you are. It is America, but then it is not. It has uniqueness that is scraped off in so many other places by franchises, exactly the same suburbia, comfort over style…
     We had dinner in a historic restaurant, Antoine’s, which has been a restaurant for more than a hundred years and was a boarding house before that. The food was excellent (hence the price), but the place seemed a bit …people around us in dinner jackets and dresses… we also wore evening attire, but felt a bit uncomfortable anyway...still it feels special to dine in a restaurant with so much history.
     Afterwards, we went to listen to Jazz at a preservation hall (and this is why you have to research where you want to spend your evenings) and listened to wonderful, raw, energetic music. Certainly a must-do.
Finally, we walked and walked and walked, crossing Bourbon street and mixing with crowd, until we  decided to have a drink  in this interesting-looking cabin with candles lit inside. Later, we discovered that it was the oldest building in French Quarter, where pirates used to plan their  future activities. And the interior of the bar has been untouched since then.
    Pirates! Streets named after French kings! Jazz out of every bar! Where am I? How is this possible?
   Tired and happy we went back to our own house in New Orleans. For tomorrow we would sail on the great river of Mississippi…
P.S.the pic--this is what I mean by beautiful cast-iron balconies. They are everywhere. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Freedom



 Spending my days in tranquility. Riding motorcycles, seeing mountains, reading, getting nightly dose of high altitude mountain air, ahem, and then watching Amelie and Run Lola Run…
Days staying active, nights watching films and philosophy-ing…thinking of nature and films and meaning of life and of purple haze...
Saturday we drove up to a mountain peak. It was so hot everywhere and then we got to alpine zone and started shaking in our coats. The clouds were right above our heads.  We hurried back down on the serpentine road. Then, we walked around adorable historic town, ate in a Polish restaurant, got ice-cream. My favorite, mint ice-cream.
Sunday, my step father took me on a motorcycle ride, we went so fast, we drove to a ridge and saw fossils, dinosaur bones, red rocks.
This is such a pretty state, so much to do, so much to see, not enough time, as always, as always.
Deer everywhere. And bunnies.
Ate sushi for lunch today…
Cleaning my mom’s backyard. Lounging in the sun. Getting tanned and sunburned.
 Missing my hubby. Sad face.
I love getting out of Tbilisi for a while.
Gotta go pack.  Tomorrow we go on a trip to Louisiana. Packing for New Orleans. Researching food and French Quarter.  
Ah, that time in your vacation, when there are more days left ahead, then you’ve already spent.
Freedom. 
How long will it last?
  p.s. the pic: view from the peak we went on Saturday. Pikes peak

Monday, September 3, 2012

CO.


     I am back in Colorado and I am sore. Let’s  start from the beginning.
     So after 6 hours of Tbilisi--London flight, five hours in Heathrow airport, ten hours of transatlantic flight and inspection by customs in the states –where I discovered to my detriment that I actually did take honey comb my aunt gave me for my grandmother. Imagine, round brown ball of sticky stuff. Oh, the customs evil Grinch eyes lit with joy when they saw it—I was put into bed and woken up at an ungodly hour to be taken to the high mountains of the Colorado.   
      For two days we got up before sun and did wonderful things—it was amazing fun as my fav.  British celebrity likes to put it. Conquering and stomping my jet lag, we went fishing on the first day and witnessed an astounding sunrise.  I was not too enthusiastic about killing fish by lying to them that the shiny cylinder on my hook is actually food and that eating it will not result in getting hooked by your lip, so maybe that’s the reason we did not catch any. Well, I did catch one, but it got away before we could force it into the net and torture. However, combination of sleep deprivation, burning sun, rocking boat and cautiously-not-specified element--let’s call it high altitude mountain air, ahem—resulted in  this surreal state of mind, when waves seemed to be made of silver, clouds formed weird shapes, and the cars  on the highway seemed infinitely interesting.    caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars.caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars.
      Dizzy and overheated, I somehow managed to get out of the boat, with sunburned red face and red eyes, looking like a zombie, walking like one, and still thinking about moving cars. And then I had to endure lunch in a crowded restaurant. Talking about being anxious.
      The next day, determined to breath, walk and think like a normal person, I strictly stuck to water and put a sunscreen on my monkey-butt-colored face. I mounted a fourwheeler, the ones we call quadrocycle in Georgia, and rode it up the mountain summit, to the continental divide. There, I marveled, how on that exact spot the states divided into Atlantic and pacific sides, took pics of the Rocky mountains and chased chipmunks. Back on the motorcycle, I was riding over huge rocks and stones and praying for salvation. Have to survive. Have to survive. Have to survive and keep my bottom intact…ouch and ouch and ouch.
      So now, I am laying sleepless in my old room, it is six  a. m. ,everything  hurts and I can’t go back to sleep. But I am content. I think of the silver waves and the nature and peace. I think of the speed and thrill and riding over the mountain summits and energy and adrenaline. I think of different ways to feel life. To go from manicured, wearing high heels public servant to covered-in-dirt motorcycle-riding state of being. To pack all the excitement in this month. I am thinking of life and bacon. Real, crunchy American bacon. Time to get out of bed...
p.s. the pic--one of the places we rode on the fourwheeler.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer in the Ministry

This nice and hot summer afternoon I am sitting in my office, alone. Half of the Ministry is gone on a vacation and I am enjoying the empty hallways, being my own boss, maybe coming to work 20 minutes later than I am supposed to…and though I still have to run around with all kinds of papers, I feel like a tide of calmness has swept through here. I am finally content. I have tons to do, I’ve agreed to write some paper about topics I have to research deeply, I need to paint the door at my house and mend my shoes, but still, life is fine.
A bit exited. A bit scared. On the verge of new beginnings. I am leaving the Ministry! I am leaving this stress! God help me, I am quitting my job and diving into unknown future!
In 22 days, I will be out of here. Probably forever. I can still return in January, but that’s just a backup plan, something that makes me feel like I am not a total looser. However, I really don’t want to leave, make such a big deal out of it, start new life, just to come back in 6 months. But how stupid is it to leave when I finally get a promotion?
 In 22 days, I will be in Denver! Yes!Yes!Yes! I miss it, oh how I miss it, I will go camping, storm the Rocky mountains, get lost in University of Boulder library (my school, my campus, my cafeteria, my youth…was it really that long ago?), do all the clichés I am supposed to do in the states—Starbucks, Wall Mart, Burger King—let me embrace you, capitalist, money-making, evil franchises I would never touch in college, now that you’re far away, I miss you. Victoria’s Secret! Target! Malls! Hamburgers! Pizzas! Mint chocolate ice-creams! Maple syrup! Lucky Charms cereal! F*n Dr. Pepper!!!!!!!
 Colorado! I am so exited! Let me come back to you and hug you!
 So, last days here. Then, a month off. And after that, I am stepping into a horrible in-between-jobs limbo. I am looking for a job…anyone? Help? I will send you my CV…
How often we feel frustrated, threatening to leave, but never leaving, complaining about lack of development, progress, inner growth, now I smile to myself and I think: “I did it! I broke free! I dared and broke free!” I am an idiot.
 Colorado, time to take bunch of online classes, read some books, improve my qualification a bit, come back, start internship with a clinician, go broke…I am starting over. Like I have just graduated from college. It gives me feeling of freedom though. Feeling of power. Like I am controlling my life again. Like I am making my own decisions again. I know that I will regret it later, when lost and frustrated, I will complain about how horrible it feels to sit home, do nothing. But for now, I am enjoying it. Changes…it has been so long. Changes. And this last month here? Doesn’t seem that bad.
pic:bunny hubby gave me. expresses my current emotions.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Bookworm

Thank you Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett for reminding me of what it felt like to read without putting the book down! This weekend, I read “the Good Omens” and felt young again.
The last time I was actually reading (versus staring absent-mindedly in my Nook, in a marshrutka, while on my way home from work), was in college in the US; I had an access to the huge library and I decided to take full advantage of it. Rather than doing research and making my own list, I just went ahead and followed one already approved by smarter people—I decided to read all of the authors that have received a Nobel Prize in literature. So I started with prize-winners from 1905 and finished with 2006. I skipped poets (reading poetry in translation makes no sense) and the university library lacked few authors, or had their work only in original language, but other than that I made my way through a century of literature, some of them better than others, some clearly chosen for political reasons, others being overrated, or underrated, some I liked, some –I didn’t, but basically they were all good books. It gave me material for talking with strangers on planes for years. See, everyone knows their native authors who had won a Nobel Prize.  Thus, I talked about Isaak Bashevis Singer with Jews and Grazia Deledda with Italians.
How sad, out of these 100 books, I can probably name 10 now.  Others were interesting to read, but I barely remember the plot…or the authors…damn.
Additionally, I took classes in American literature, world literature, women writers and Jung in film and literature. Main reasons for choosing those classes were that grades were based on participation and essays, rather than tests, so each semester I had at least one class which required last effort and was actually more fun than hard work. Another reason is that I did not have to buy books for those classes. Again, I took advantage of the library.
Back then, I was commuting for 2 hours (one-way, making 4 hours roundtrip) each day to get to college; when you spend so much time on bus and train, you read, read, read…oh, happy times.
My intellectual development was at its peak in college; I have been degrading since then. I think I have not read as much books in all the years since I’ve graduated, as I did in one year back then! See, I can’t even write in complete sentences that make sense. If this was my college paper, I would get C.
I sense changes in my life. I am thinking of leaving work. I am thinking of developing, learning, growing.  I am planning to take a month off and fly to Denver. And I have discovered that I have to catch up with my Nobel authors—I am 4 authors behind!
God bless the Nook and Torrent system. Truly, this is the best marriage of two cultures: an E-book from abroad and opportunity to download free books at home. I am toying with the idea of conquering the Pulitzer’s prize…
the pic: my purple nook

Monday, July 30, 2012

Arriving to Armenia: Getting Lost and Found

some posts, you write them and you like them. and then they get like 15 views and that's it.
this is one of those posts. i enjoyed writing it. we'll see about the views.
here's the beginning:


As I look back, we just wanted to escape the reality, to stop thinking about my impending surgery and myriad of problems hanging over my head and just run the hell out of Tbilisi.
We left later than usual. That always happens, doesn’t it? You plan to leave at 8 A.M. and end up on the road at 12. Poor hubby had to fight plethora of fellow employers to get out for two days; however,  they relentlessly flowed him through phone, internet and other means of communication, causing us to stop along the way so that he could send data to his execs.  Lately, our life has been one big Trump’s Apprentice and my hubby won the title without any doubt (and if you don’t know what I am talking about, you need to get updated on reality competition shows ASAP).
We crossed Geo border without hustle--did not even get out of the car. Geo customs were nice, took our pics with their webcams, scanned our passports and let us through in several seconds, despite the fact that oneof my friends kept giggling like crazy and I thought they would check her alcohol intoxication level, which they did not and she was not drunk anyway. Lesson number 1: if you feel like crossing Georgian border drunk--go ahead, they don’t care.
for more, please visit my other blog at :
come on, just click on it, don't be lazy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When I was 17


Yesterday, I was showing my friend pics of my exchange year in the states; I realized how much I missed it. Ten years ago, I spent a year in Utah as a foreign exchange student. Yes.  I was FES.

I went back to visit my host family later, while being student of one of the most liberal colleges in America. It’s interesting how perspective changes when you go back and look at the places you’ve lived in, compare it to your present life and see the changes that took place within. Because when I was 16, I felt very comfortable in American high school, following the rules of that given society (and trust me, there were lot of rules, from omnipresent dress code and to no tea or coffee) and later, I complete  re-evaluated my  attitudes towards politics, popularity, people, human rights, sex, drugs, everything.

As much as I think I’ve retained my core inner self-- I still value friendship, romance, humor, I like big crowds, new people and new places--intellectually I am a completely different entity.  Look at me now, marching with gays in Tbilisi, pushing for legalization of certain plants, bashing established religion, and look at me 10 years ago, religious, making such a big deal of getting kissed that  I dragged it till I was seventeen, too scared to discuss sex, judgmental, just plain tacky, what else? And of course, I had to go to states to first find myself as a good girl Utah high school and then as a rebel in college. Cause nothing  in Georgia stimulates one to reflect on own values, understand what do we  like, want, believe, we  just go with the flow. Or maybe, everything is too familiar.

 How do we change so much but still same? Why do people claim that most of our morals are formed during our teenage years, when we grow up and retain almost nothing of that time? And if we do, we look immature and retarded. What are we really, how stable are we and will I be laughing at my current beliefs 10 years from now? Does it mean that everything I stand for now is arbitrary?

Along with all the questions, I was swept with nostalgia. I started thinking about my host family,  my host sister, my friends, my first crush and my first boy and I just felt so grateful that I’ve met this people, that they allowed me to be part of their lives, that they supported me when everything seemed so much more important than it was…like will he call me, do I look nice in these jeans,  what happens if I say this? Do I fit in, am I unique? Will I go to prom? I mean, do you remember how important it was to go to prom?

Funny huh? Don’t make fun of it though. It hurt then.

When I was seventeen, it was a very good year. It was a very good year of confronting to the society, being overly emotional and constantly establishing myself. But damn it, it was a very good year. And I miss it.
p.s. pic: engaging in what seemed like a very American activity: gathering leaves with my host family.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Reality Crisis



The other day I found myself walking in a park, coming to terms with reality.
Am I in some stupid melodrama?
Welcome to an episode of House M.D.: my grandmother has stage 4 cancer. Thank you the deity up above, that she is in U.S. What if she was here, how could we help her, with no decent medical help, no insurance, no expertise?
She’s starting a curse of chemo, as soon as she recovers from her unsuccessful surgery (they couldn’t cut the tumor out).
Should I write about this?  Some things are too private. Especially, when they concern others.
So, let’s come back to me then. I can write about me, right? Right?! I have cyst growing in my ovaries and we’re cutting it out next week. Hopefully, I will start ovulating after that. Or I won’t. I don’t care anymore. Some people don’t have legs, some people don’t have hair, and some don’t have well-developed eggs.  Fuck it.
Remember Sex and City, Charlotte couldn’t have kids because she was “reproductionally challenged”? Doesn’t seem so funny anymore. Are you crying yet? Oh, this is such a pity-me post!
I am over crabby stage. I laugh and generally try to be in good mood, but I can’t fall asleep. I should look for some night reading material, instead of staring into the darkness. Oh, and these mood swings.  In the beginning of the post I was sad, then I started laughing at all the pathos and now I am getting angry. Sometimes I walk around in the street and sing aloud. I am trying to bring my temper up with tacky music. ..“oh, my darling, I hunger for you touch…are you still miiiiiiiiiiiiine?”
How do I deal with my Anxiety? Non-stop watching of the latest Celebrity Apprentice. I come home from work, crawl into my bed and watch Donald Trump. What would I do without my reality TV? Please don’t take it away from me. Ever.   Unfortunately, Celebrity Apprentice is over and now I am spending evenings reading about my favorite contestants and watching their appearances on different comedy shows.  Oh, and I discovered some interesting new stars, for example, since I am anti-American Idol (me, the queen of reality TV! I just don’t like music contests), I don’t know any of the Idol people, and all the sudden some guy named Clay Aiken from season 2 of the Idol almost won the Apprentice (he should’ve, should’ve won! F u Trump!). Here’s to new era of endlessly reading his bios and listening to his songs (ick. cheesy pop songs. great voice though)!
When stressed, some people drink, some smoke, some eat. I have stopped eating, sleeping and never found consolation in alcohol.  So I watch rich white old man ask bunch of have-been-celebrities lead projects and scratch each other’s eyes out, while listening to Unchained Melody sang by cute pasty southern gay guy, who was robbed of his reality TV winner regalia twice. What, is this obsession unhealthy?! Damn right! Who is healthy anyway?!
Oh, I know, I know, my life is not a melodrama. It is one big sappy reality TV show. Cause it is too stupid for anything more interesting.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

When Ur Husband is Smarter than U

when your husband is smarter than you...you either turn into a jealous bitch or support him and his team and become their groupie. Or you can just be irrelevant bu that sucks. Let me explain. We're playing quiz game team called "what when where". We actually have a wonderful team. Additionally to our team, hubby is on another team that plays this game on TV.
 So now we have two celebrities in my house-hubby and Gaia the cat. Hubby-cause he is on Tv, Gaia--cause she is cool.
 After endless assembling in my house to practice answering questions, eating potato chips and scaring the hell out of Gaia with their arguing, the TV team got on screen for the first time. The dress code for the TV game is formal evening wear and guys looked ridiculous in tuxes. I rented a black lace dress and for the first time ever used red lipstick. Turned out-you can draw fuller lips with red lipstick, and lie that your mouth looks prettier than in real life!
 The almost lost (the score was 3:5 and the game is over after 6 points), but finally, correctly answered three questions, making it 4:5 , then 5:5 and finally winning with the score of 6:5! Damn it, it was painful to watch!

 So, all those evening of cleaning up crumbs from my carpet after their practices paid off! They won and last Wednesday, we all gathered to watch the show air and made fun of their faces.
 We have another practice today, not with the celebrity TV people, but our real team, cause tomorrow is tournament of Georgia, and we should end up in top 5 teams, damn it, no matter how many kilos of potato chips it takes!
 When your husband is smarter than you, you stuff him with carbs and hope he gets fat.
 the pic: hubby celebrating his win after the show

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sairme Getaway


Summer time and the living is easy, or so we want to think, and I forced my husband to work less last Saturday (to make him quit working is impossible; damn you cell phones with internet).  After finding out that Lake Lopota resort in Kakheti costs more than staying in the center of Istambul, I called reasonably-priced Sairme resort and booked a room with a balcony—it’s always nice to have a balcony.
Under rampant sounds of Gogol Bordello, we made a detour to Kutaisi, to visit my favorite road-side restoraunt, Khutorok. It is owned and operated by local Ukrainians. Everything I’ve tasted there is delicious and cheap. Salads cost up to 5 Lari and the most expensive meat entrée is around 10-15 lari. If you are order lunch for two, it will cost probably 15 Lari for both appetizers and entrees.  “Khutorok” is the king of my favorite restoraunts – hole in the wall places that look cheap, but serve  tasty food made form natural ingredients…the sour cream they brought us, itwas so dense, twe stuck a spoon in the middle and it did not fall...yum.
We left Kutaisi full and happy and went back to Bagdadi, where we saw poet Mayakovski’s house, and hubby even read his poem on the deck.  Mayakovski was cool. Once, he was talking to his readers and stated : “I feel Russian among Russian people and Georgian among Georgian people”, someone from the audience yelled: “and among stupid people?”, to which he replied “and among the stupid people, I find myself for the first time”.
Back on the road, which suddenly got so pretty. Trees were trying to hold branches and extended over the road, reaching towards each other, this one river criss-crossed bridges beneath us, every turn seemed curvier than the one before, our stomachs were desprate, our eyes—content; The lords of the road, brown and Dzen cows, chillaxed in the middle of the way, calmly looking at cars honking at them, probably thinking: “only fools hurry, why are these people in cars upsetting the perfect peace of the universe?” and refusing to move; someone spread white sheets to dry between the pines in the forest, like some commercial of Tide Alpine Freshness... Once we got to Sairme, I made it my priority to breathe deep and breathe a lot, cause the air smelled like trees. It just did. 
Doorman opened doors for us and brought our backpacks upstairs and I tipped him 2 Lari, feeling very uncomfortable and proud at the same time--I did something I’ve only seen in movies. The room was O.K., remodeled soviet hotel, with two beds apart  ( I broke one of them trying to put two beds together and we had to fix it and sleep separately). We walked in the park, we sat on the benches, hubby drank healthy mineral water, we went to the spa, hubby had  massage, then we dipped ourselves in the tub of mineral water, then we ate the most boring, dietary dinner provided by the hotel (it is actually a sanatorium, meaning  people stay there to improve their health so we were fed carrots and oatmeal), then we kissed in the forest like we were still teenagers that can’t find a place to make out, since they do not have room of their own, and we remembered how we met and got all sentimental.  Cue to hurried exit to our hotel (because, now we had a room of our own), and afterwards hubby lounging himself on the balcony (see, balconies are cool!), and smoking a cigar, ruining the effect of tree air and healthy dinner. 
We left the next morning and headed to this city full of smoke and of cars and of work and of all things boring and usual and un-Sairmean.
P.S. pic: forest in sairme

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Tests

(Next passage was written two weeks ago) As I was administering SAT tests today, looking at the poor kids sweating through the hours of math and chemistry, I thought how long has it been since I've taken a test, read research or article, wrote an academic paper. Recently, I wrote an article for Identity mag (which no one read) and due to no time and the fact that I haven't written a paper in, let's see, 5 years, I failed to produce good work. Do you sometimes feel like college gives you some info and then you loose it, bit by bit, as you walk through your career? On the other hand, when you are in academic environment, you are forced to think, write, consider and reconsider. I almost want to take an SAT test, I almost want to take any test, to get good scores, to feel successful again, like I felt in school, in college, to feel that I am doing good,that I am doing really good, that I am not just a stupid assistant in a stupid project, that I am not replaceable. Damn, I need to take an online course or something! (next passage was written one week ago) after a week of this rant, the foreign coordinators of my project visited Tbilisi. I informed them that I was going to leave as soon as the current project is over. The next day they have requested a private talk with me. They offered me to be a partner to my manager, in salary and in position, for the next project. I was very flattered and uterly surprised (honestly, I thought they would offer me small raise and ask me to stay where I am ) and I requested for some time to think and explore the market. Thus, in nearest future I might stop being an assistant and I will have my own assistant :-) On the other hand, I don't want to stay here, political stuff, civil service, rules, stupid ways of doing things and making decisions, overall policy. I want to start afresh with new people, prove new points, show my long-lost sides,motivation, creativity. Also, if I stay in project administration now, most likely, I would not be able to change career, do something practical (once upon a time my M.A. diploma proclaimed that I was a neurpsychologist). I will be stuck managing projects and will have no real profession. But I don't know. I might get sold. After all, I was offered more than double of my current pay. I have time till October. New and exiting, or same old, only further on the career ladder? Just when I have decided that I am tired of it all, I have to rethink everything. I guess this is the test I have been asking. And I guess I passed the pre-test--I got the promotion offer. (Nest passage is being written now) Looks like I am whining and then bragging. Really, I am just lost. Oh, and I have to take care of this blog. No pics for two weeks, irregular length of posts, my other blog not updated...gotta get back to writing!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Trip to Karabakh: Stuck in Reverse

Last Month, I saw a film “Trip to Karabakh: the Last Return”. It is the last (thank you, god!) part of a trilogy of the Karabakh films. The first one, based on a good book by Aka Morchiladze, was fine. It reflected the mood of the 90’s. The second one was rumored to be crap, never saw it, and the third one was supposed to be funny. And it was, but for all the wrong reasons. I was told that it describers inadequacy of a “dzveli bichi”, who has spent last 15 years in prison and consequently is out of touch with modern new and refined Georgia.. I thought it would be funny how he would try to use his old street skills and get puzzled responses, his ignorance ofhow facebook, cell phones, his amazement at our wonderful life with good roads, running water, constant electricity and the joy and merriment of democratic Georgia. Instead, I go this: The guy comes out of the prison (product placement in his hand) and gets into altercation with the police. Not aware that disrespecting police is unhealthy now, he swears at the officers. Back to prison for a year. Out again(product placement). Painstakingly long shots of him discovering his house in dust (views of renovated old Tbilisi). Boring shots of him visiting parents’ grave. Boring shots of him visiting his dead friend’s girl and showing her the cross he is supposed to give to her son—cause he wants to be his godfather. The mother (sex worker in the 1st film) is a translator now. She is totally psyched to see that an ex-convict, who was involved in drugs and guns and all that shit of the 90s is here for her son. She even underlines how her son needs a father figure. Several product placements along the road. Prison guy visits dead friend’s son who—oh the new mysterious time-- studies in a school where smoking is now prohibited. Dead friend’s son is in a principle’s room cause he broke something, the guy tries to rescue his godson-to-be, promises to repair what is broken, only to find that this godson-to-be broke into a computer program and now principal is happy that the boy has illegally helped school get the program that otherwise would cost more than the school’s budget (!). It is a joke on breaking, get it? No? The prison guy thought that the boy has actually broken something and could not get all the computer talk! got it?! A joke! Oh, all this time, the student and principal are staring into a comp display that has translate.ge on it. This hacker is a genius! He figured out how to access a free online Georgian-English dictionary. Shots of some other product placement for no reason. Prison guy visits old friend, who is still in the drug- dealing business. Together, they visit the dead friend’s grave. Also, godfather-to –be brings the dead friends’ son to his drug dealer friend. Where the hell is the boy’s mother and why is she OK that her son hangs out with ex-convict and a drug dealer?! BUT , they are friends of her son’s dead father, so it totally makes sense that they took the boys upbringing into their manly hands. Drug dealer leaves to Karabakh to deal some more drugs and gives our protagonist bunch of money. Cause this is what friends do. Prison guy uses them to make some more money in a –product placement—bookmaker. Then he watches TV with his godson-to-be (this two hang out together all the time now), where he is tricked into believing that two goals took place instead of one, via the miracle of rewinding TV (product placement). At the same time, there is a parallel plotline of the godson loving the girl who loves him back, but is a daughter of politician/dead friend’s killer. Prospective godfather and politician oppose the love story. Also, non-English speaking, crappy-looking, acting-like-it-is-still-nineties dude (our prison guy) hooks up with a TLG teacher and after seeing him twice, she of course gets drunk and they have sex (implied). The only funny moment of the film when misguided by the directions that Radisson is nice glass building, the prison guys tries to pay for the hotel room in a newly-built police station. Get it, police stations are glassy and shiny and new-looking!!! Horny teenagers elope with the help of the prison guy, who sends them—you will never guess—to Karabakh, to his drug-dealing friend, because that is such a safe place to go for the newlyweds!!! Next morning, the killer politician forces prison guy to drive toward Karabakh, in order to get his daughter back (I mean wouldn’t you be mad if your daughter ran off with the son of a guy you killed and was helped by his ex-convict friend to escape to a war zone to the drug dealer friend?!). In a climactic moment, prison guy, who is driving with killer politician pointing gun at him, steers the car into abyss, thus sacrificing himself in the name of love of the horny teenagers. The film ends with said teenagers looking at the graves of never-to-be-godfather guy and killer politician/father-of-the-bride, who are buried side by side (!) and then walk away, hugging. Thus, love has conquered all, enemies are friends (dead though). This film felt so 1. Boring 2. Dated 3. Boring 4. Ridiculous 5. Offensive that I got surprised, I thought we were over this kind of bullshit. here we are claiming that prisoners, thieves and drug dealers are no longer protagonists in our country, only to betaken 20 years back by this characters. oh, and the gender relations. Just precious. Let the drug dealers raise my kid, as long as he are male. and, don’t we all know that American teachers come here to fuck Georgian men? Talk about going back in time…

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gay Not-Parade

Something important happened today. Today is an international day against homophobia. NGO Identity organizes a march on Rustaveli st. Around 40 people gather by Philarmonia by 1 P.M. and we start walking promptly. Crowd of journalists literally document every step we make. Obviously, not everybody wants to be close-captioned like that, risking to appear in tomorrow’s Asaval-Dasavali under statement like “pervert faggots trying to destroy our motherland”. But, if you came here, you have to be ready for public exposure—after all, you are making a statement! All the bebias comment on what a pity it is that such nice young people are gay, some males swear, some people grab their phones to get this weird procession on camera. It is quite an event! I can already see tomorrow's news: "The First Ever Gay Pride Parade!" Only, this is no parade. Just a peaceful walk. Picture this: leading the procession, a herd of people with mics and cameras, trying to walk backwards and still maintain balance, in order to capture colorful crowd of flags and posters approaching them; the marchers, trying to ignore swearing, and not to step on occasional cameraman who is right in their face, surrounded by curious bystanders and innocent pedestrians who are trying to figure out how to get out of this mess. Three police cars are parked by philarmonia in case of altercations. Enough to cause a sensation. but wait… All the sudden, out of nowhere, a priest emerges. Are they patrolling the streets just in case something “indecent” takes place? He starts arguing with the walking crowd, which is O.K., but then, a dozen of bearded young men apparate out of thin air; these men start proving their point to anyone they can corner, rather violently. Rainbow flags keep moving, cameras greedily suck the tension, there is some arguing, some stupidity, “Look, he yelled at me, he is aggressive, look! How can you call yourself a liberal after this?!”- asserts one of the bearded death eaters, after some marcher can't stand all the swearing and answers back. The pure-breeds with beards form a chain (by brotherly holding hands)and declare that they won’t let us pass and carry out such degrading activities, and though the moment is pretty serious, all I can hear is “wizard, thou shall not pass!” Several people call the police, who all the sudden do not know where Rustaveli is and require long and detailed description. The marchers, stuck in traffic, are now experiencing a whole cascade of negative emotions bestowed upon them by bystanders who probably wanted to yell before, but felt that walking and yelling at the same time takes too much effort.Now they are feasting. Vegetable-sellers transform themselves into harpies, vomiting profanities. A woman with half-eaten ice-cream exercises screams worthy of a rock concert. The marchers are trapped. In front of them—-bearded defenders of nation’s purity. Behind them and amongst them--men with cameras and girls with mics. Around them--women screeching “sazizgrebo, sazizgrebo”. I--frantically trying to answer work calls and explaining that I am out for my lunch break. and then… and then I had to leave. and I do not know how it all ends. I don’t know if the marchers were beaten, ridiculed or if they kept on marching. I don’t know if the bearded men disapparated, or tore apart the posters. no news on any news channel yet. 3 P.M., May 17th.I am sitting here and writing. This is history in making. ...Please, God, let it be peaceful. Please, God, don’t let them hurt my friends. To be continued... Pic1: the chain of bearded men, journalists and the activists pic2: Poster" Love Is Love"