My Blog List

Monday, November 26, 2012


  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


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


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 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).