02/10/2018 – 12/11/2018
How much a Lari cost?
Last blog I ended with just some common days of getting to know Gerardo and my way around Georgia. Now, during the exploration I stumbled upon a problem: Money. I was getting so excited living in Georgia and the first time living alone that I started spending more than I should. Obviously by the end of both months I was broke, so this will be the topic for this months blog!
I started this month with Tbilisoba on the 6th and 7th of October. This is an annual Georgian celebration for the existence and founding of Tbilisoba, and during this event you can find people dancing, wearing traditional Chokha’s and ofcourse some more barbeques. (If you want to see more about this event, watch this video) Me and Gerardo really enjoyed this event, as 2 foreigners not knowing what is happening it’s exciting to explore on our own. As I said before, I was broke during this time but I did not consider this as a problem. I enjoyed myself not spending anything and walking around. Being broke, especially during these events, made me patient and (I hope) it teaches me how to take care of my money. Now that I am writing this, it sounds like I’m a real spoiled person, but before this EVS I was working all the time which means I always had some money, and the biggest issue is that money does not matter anything to me and I would rather spend it on events/friends/family than save it for anything. After this, being broke (and maybe lazy) made me stay home for the next 2 weeks. On the second week Gerardo even went for a trip to Romania, so I was alone in my home with no money. Sounds like fun right? Actually it was a nice and relaxing time, with me focusing on what I want to achieve here. I became an creative cook during this time, making anything of food from what we had in our fridge at the time. (and yes it actually became something healthy instead of instant ramen 24/7).
The next week Gerardo came back and I started my first Georgian language class. This was a both exciting and challenging at the same time. I was happy that I could write anything in Georgian even though I did not know what it meant. After the first class we already had to know the whole alphabet. How does a person learn 5 different ways to pronounce “kh” (like Khinkali) in around 3 days? But after some more classes I managed to read, speak and write some Georgian. You can ask me how I’m doing and some other basics but when you start a real conversation in Georgian I just start to wonder how you pronounce all those words and stop to pay attention. The best thing I found out about Georgian language is that every Georgian gets so intensively excited when a tall blonde guy like me talks decent Kartuli (the name of the Georgian language) to them. It does not matter where I am from or what I do, when I talk to them in the same language they accept me and want to help me with what I’m asking. They always want to help but the English level in Georgia is not on a high level yet so sometimes it’s better to use the small knowledge of Kartuli you have to ask something.
Besides Gerardo, I did not find a big friend group yet and one of my colleagues said that it is better to have a social group around you to talk to especially when you are living alone and abroad in a new country. And then at the right time one friend asked me to join a halloween party from ESN (erasmus student network) and said that there were more foreigners living in georgia during this party. Me and Gerardo went to the party and dressed up as Mexican Catrina with skulls painted on our face. I remember taking the metro with a skull as face paint and wow, I got stared at A LOT. Normally they look at me because I’m a tall blonde guy (rare in georgia) but now with the face paint it was double. Walking outside the metro and instantly one guy asked me if he could take a selfie with me. Later I met my friends to go to the party, but then a small boy and (probably) his father came to me and the boy wanted to shake my hand but was scared of me. Some minutes later a boy passed by with also probably his father and his father was making jokes like “you can come closer to him, he is not scary” but the little boy was so scared of me that he did not want to come close to me. I did not know that during my EVS I would actually scare children…
Later, after the party and meeting people a normal week happened with more language classes and being broke. But then Saturday 3th of November I took the train to Kobuleti at 8 A.M. to go to a mandatory EVS training. I was not prepared for the training or waking up so early and sitting in the train for 5 hours. After the train ride I met some other volunteers who also came for the training. I did not know what to expect of the people, Kobuleti and the training. But by everything I was unexpectedly amazed. Kobuleti is on the seaside and we had our hotel across the sea, so yes that means sunsets every day on the beach. After the first night I started connecting with the other volunteers and heard all the stories which they experienced during their volunteer work and their lives in Georgia and Armenia. Everyone had stories which you would not expect from the start and made me connect and talk with everyone even more. (ofcourse) During this I was broke as well, but luckily the training gave you a place to sleep and food to eat. I got reimbursed some money from the trip to Kobuleti and immediately spend it (ofcourse) on having fun with the other volunteers. They took me by surprise with how interesting and fun they are. Even after the training I instantly met with some of them and spend the weekend with them, and me being broke which meant walking for an hour just to meet them did not stop any of the fun.
I think this was already one of the best months (I have 10 more to go, but still it’s good) just because of so much happening and meeting so many people with no Lari in my pocket (Lari is the money of Georgia). Not letting being broke stop me and when I even have money to spend on my friends rather than savings. So I ask you all: How much a Lari really cost to you? Is 10 Lari 10 Lari to you? Or does it mean eating 10 Khinkali with your friends?.