The Land of the Restless

Some important facts:

1. Tamar, our coordinator, encouraged us to share some true facts about our lives that not everyone might know. True facts! She opened by talking about WINNING SURVIVOR, thereby making all of us unable to top her. There was exactly one season of Survivor: Georgia edition. She won it. Mira, chicos:


2.Previously I’d heard that Georgia got its name from St Jerome, who peaced out from the Caucasus and was like, “They seem to revere St. George there.” Which seems plausible, because in Georgian, the name of the country is საქართველო, or “Sakartvelo,” which means “That place where Karvelians live.” Yeah turns out the actual name comes from the persian word گرگ, “gurgia,” which  means wolf. Which makes sense–a few volunteers who have been around awhile came in to talk to us, and one of them complained about all those damn wolves.

Tamar is the wolf.

3. During the long orientations, we were warned six distinct times about drinking. Six. Your family, they told us, will want you to keep drinking, and don’t be afraid to be rude in refusing/waiting until they are drunk and pouring the nice kakheti wine under the table. You must drink at every toast. Hold the glass with your right hand. Do not drink the Chacha. Do not take the drinking horn.

Also, the Patrios Katolikos permitted Georgians to drink beer at toasts.

4. Two days ago we climbed a goddamn fortress in the middle of the night. It was covered in ice and we got to scramble over a bunch of old ruins at the top, and there was a big tarp and underneath were probably a family of gypsies.

5. One of the slides during safety training:


  • Automobile VS Pedestrian accidents
  • Will cars stop at stoplights?
  • Watch the dogs
  • Gypsies

6. The strays here. I saw a dog with two legs outside the hotel, gnawing at one of its stumps.  Last night, on our way to the store, a dog slammed the fence next to us, barking like crazy. They roam and look for food. We have been told to assume they are rabid. No one takes care of them. It makes me uncomfortable.


I’m in the village of Buknari, near the town Chokhat’auri, in the province of Guria. “Guria” is famous for its humorous people, horseriding, and straw hats. It translates as “The Land of the Restless,” which is more or less perfect. I’m situated in a river delta, maybe 4 miles away from 20ish mountain monasteries, and 10 miles away from the black sea. Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

A sobering thought, though, is that we’re going to be making more than the local teachers (400 Lari to their 200, which is like $120). I mean, I know zero about those kids. They’re clearly the experts here. Though apparently, I learned, they commonly think that we’re getting paid bazillions of thousands of dollars!!!!!!! to go here and are like wtf? when they learn of our relative salary. Also hopefully when they get the mandatory state training Saakashvili will up teacher’s salaries to like 1000/month, which is closer to where they belong.

There will be an internet blackout for awhile, as the whole electricity/availability of internet thing is discovered, and then I will be making a long trek to Kutaisi all of 30 miles away whoaaaaaaaaaaa to buy an internet stick. So. This is the last post for a few days (or at least until I hastily compose something from the hotel as a goodbye.)

Pax in Terra, homonids.


  1. Sharman Piper said:

    So what are some phrases you can say in Georgian? Do you know anything about your host family? How many days a week is school? Are you going to be able to get together every so often with your fellow trainees-teachers?

  2. All will be revealed. I had a week of georgian language classes, so I think I’ll be able to navigate pretty well, and I’ve got a boss phrasebook.

    And YES, travel is easy and encouraged, and all my friends are placed within 50 miles or so. Because Georgia is actually tiny.

  3. Mzuri said:

    Tamar never told *us* that! Damn!

  4. Sharman Piper said:

    I see your town is famous for, among other things, horseriding. Will you sing the horserider’s song?

    • GOOD QUESTION. YES, although the one song I know is actually from Imereti, the neighboring province to the east. Though I’m sure they know it everywhere. Justin even found a weird jazzy version of it on youtube.

  5. pirate said:

    Maybe they will greet you with this song

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