Here it finally is, my EVS blog! After having been in Tbilisi for two months now, I have quite some experiences to share. But where to start? Perhaps it’s best to begin by describing my organizational experience, since it’s the very reason I’m here in the first place.
Some of the more crucial parts of CAYNEX are the Erasmus+ projects we engage in, and for which we must write projects beforehand. I was lucky enough to dive right into the deep end, since one of the most important deadlines for submitting youth-project ideas was on the fifth of February. I was working on a project for the Swedish Institute which aims to tackle environmental problems in the Baltic Sea. This was an excellent experience for me, since I was given full responsibility for project-writing and communication with the partners in Sweden and Poland. It was a rather stressful endeavor, but we all took some days off afterwards to put our feet up and just relax. We went to eat the best Khinkali in Georgia (a bold claim, but I stand by it) in Pasanauri and had a weekend away in the winter-wonderland that is Bakuriani. My fellow volunteer Richard and I took the Kukushka (Russian for “little cuckoo”, after the sound the train-whistle makes) back from Bakuriani to Borjomi, an old train that cruises through idyllic wintery landscapes reminiscent of the Polar Express. It even crosses a bridge designed by Gustave Eiffel, commissioned by the Romanovs. Besides the project-writing I’ve joined activities where we assist fewer opportunity families, give workshops to youth in towns where there are little to no extracurricular possibilities, and will be in contact with embassies in Tbilisi for future cooperation.
I’ve been able to make quite some friends during my short time here, some are fellow EVS-volunteers, some I encountered while out on the town, and still others I met through pre-existing networks. It goes to show how open and welcoming the people in Georgia are, and how it rubs off on its visitors and newcomers. One could say it’s easier to meet new people in Georgia than it is to eat Khinkali without spilling the juice! Speaking of visitors, I’ve had a few friends over and discovered different parts of Georgian life with them. I’ve been to several techno-clubs to see what the hype is all about (a musical scene I was never into before, but which is immensely popular in Tbilisi), stumbled upon a real Georgian supra (dinner with lots of toasting involved) in Racha region, and had a blast organizing pot-luck dinners and curry-nights at our apartment.
All in all, I’ve already had a ton of experiences and I’m sure many more will follow in the coming months. Until then, ნახვამდის!