|Cluttered desk=cluttered mind?|
I have to admit, I’m feeling a little bit like George R.R. Martin …you start writing, you publish a few stories, people like them and start anticipating the next installment and then…nothing…for years. Ok, so I am sure that my blog is nowhere near as entertaining, racy or profitable as the Game of Thrones franchise, but I have had a few of my close friends and family tell me that they enjoyed reading about my expat adventures and encouraged me to get back to it. As I have found, however, it is not quite that simple. To write well, I think, you need both time and a good story…and I sort of lost both of those a few years ago. Free time escaped when I returned to working full time and the story….well, I have always followed the conventional wisdom that “if you don’t have anything good to say, keep your gob shut.” That is not to say that there weren’t good things happening in Papua New Guinea, it is just that much of my daily work life was less than note-worthy. In addition, some of the negative stuff was starting to overpower the positive and I had no desire to add any bad juju to my somewhat fragile chi.
Now, however, I find myself once again with days to fill, a new part of the world to explore, and a renewed energy to put thoughts into words. So without further adieu, let me say “gamarjoba” from our new home in Georgia! When explaining where we were heading, especially to folks in the US, I would usually add “Tbilisi, you know…in the Republic of Georgia…you know, former Soviet Republic.” It’s surprising to me how long it took some to realize that we would not be anywhere near Atlanta.
For those of you without a map in front of you, Georgia sits snuggly along the Caucasus mountain range just south of Russia, with its western border on the Black Sea and shared borders with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Historically, Georgians can trace their roots back to the 4th century BCE and the country has been influenced by Persians, Arabs, Mongols and Russians, many of whom at one time or another claimed the region, and the capital city Tbilisi as their own. The current city reflects both the ancient influences as well as more recent Soviet era, particularly in the architecture, the juxtaposition of which makes for extremely interesting sightseeing. However, there is no doubt that Georgia is not Russia, nor any other nation, once you start to dig in to the history, the culture and the people.
|Wine seems to grow on trees!|
And dig in we have…already we have gotten a taste not only of many of the Georgian sites (more on each later) but also the amazing food and wine. Georgians are inordinately proud of both their cuisine and their wines, boasting of being the “cradle of winemaking” with evidence of the world’s oldest viniculture. They have every right to brag…the food is marvelous (particularly khinkhali and khachapuri) and the wines are varied and plentiful. This is a spot where I will clearly need to make an extra effort to stay in my current clothing size. Luckily, there appears to be no end to the walk-able spots of interest, so hopefully I can keep the scales from tipping further in the wrong direction.
I am looking forward to learning more about this historically rich, culturally fascinating country and to share in this blog what I find. I can already see that I have ample material to devote separate blog entries to food and wine, and to better describe “taking the waters” at Borjomi, tackling the ski slopes in Gudauri, the crazy tour guide in Mtskheta, riding on marshrutkas, the Stalin museum (yes, “Uncle Joe” was born in Gori, Georgia)….and we have only been here since mid-November! So unlike George RR Martin, whose Wall-like writer’s block is keeping readers on tenterhooks for publication of The Winds of Winter, I promise not to keep you waiting so long for the next installment.