Thursday, August 26th, 2010 - Day 13
Today was incredibly difficult in my new hometown of Abasha, Georgia, and yet sitting here in the town square, I can't help but feel some sort of relief. For the most part, I enjoy the traditions of Georgian culture. But there are several reservations I have towards acclimating entirely into their society.
After living with my host family for nearly four days, I told them I was moving out and into the Educational Director's apartment for having violated by contract by asking for money. As the official story goes, I met my family four days ago and was introduced to my new living conditions. I had a father, a mother, and a pregnant married sister. Soon after showing me my new room, they asked for roughly half of my salary, which of course I was neither obliged to hand over nor determined to do so. This naturally caused some uncomfortableness amongst the Director who was translating and the host family members. Strangely enough, I didn't feel too bad in denying them the extra funds. I wasn't exactly their monthly pay-check, like some foster child they needed for the extra cash flow. Rude. I know. Either way, I left that situation as quickly as possible. The downside, of course, is that both the father and mother work as teachers in the same school as me. Talk about your awkward moments....
In any case, the people here mix familial ties and professionalism so much so that your vice-directors, teachers, and staff are more than likely somehow related to you. This would never happen in America, which really isn't the problem. The uncomfortable feelings arise when you have to challenge your faculty for not properly fulfilling their duties. I feel as if there are no boundaries or distinctions. This, by no means, creates an efficient and productive school, much less society.
When I'm not thrown into these odd situations, I find walking to the town square helps to calm my nerves. Sitting on these green, plastic lawn chairs outside the only pub in a 10km radius seems to be my main form of relaxation. It may not be a Starbucks or a Panera or even a fast-food joint, but it's the best part of my week.
Sometimes, I wish I could sit in front of this water fountain for hours and just work on my writing. And then it hits me. I'm not here to really teach or even really work on my writing. I'm here to figure out me. As cliche as it might seem, I can't really move forward in my professional life, much less my personal life, without first experiencing a few struggles, some awkward situations, and more than my share of strange, Georgian customs.
looking past the green, plastic lawn chairs,
xo xo m