A smokey night in Kobuleti

It has become a habit to go to my couterpart Nato’s flat on Sunday evening. Yes flat, that is what they call apartments in British English. So I headed over after a long weekend of camaraderie with Alissa (PCV in Khutsubani). I was tired and still generally agitated about the state of things. Nothing terribly specific, just the state of things. I arrive to her third floor apartment and she greets me with a smile. She has purchased some instant coffee, candies and cookies for us to share. She was in a good mood having decided that her life was good as compered to the women she has been reading about. The last time I was in Tbilisi, I  brought back some novels from PC office for her to read. She loves romances and the office is lousy with them. Her first selection is by Jude Deveraux entitled The Summerhouse. She has taken it upon herself to make a list of words she doesn’t understand and write a summary of the events in each chapter. We go over the words, me explaining and often pantomiming the ones not found in the dictionary. This makes her laugh as I am often given to theatrics in the explanation. So Nato, realized that compared to the difficulties in the book, her life is fine. We discuss how every family has problems whether you are married or not. True enough.

I share with her some of my concerns in my living situation and she assures me that I have little to worry about. We share a joke about whether I want to eat the cookies she bought or the candy. Georgians will often ask “You don’t want candy?” (ar ginda conpeti?) or “You’re not hungry?” (ar gshia?) to simply ask, would you like some cookies or are you hungry. This confused me greatly early on as I felt put on the defensive after such a question. She explained that this is just the way it is asked and I haven’t given it a second thought other than when she jokes with me.

We go over her self imposed homework correcting her writing and discussing the book in general. A friend of her brother’s came by and we visited a while deciding, again, that I should have a Georgian husband. Nato and I laughed and she explained that this is a common suggestion.

At 9:30 I have to get going. She expresses her gratitude to me and tells me that she would like to help me. I explain that being able to share with her, in confidence, my cultural confusions is a great help to me.

I head down stairs and out into the darkness watching for the little dog that always barks as I round the corner toward my house. I look down the road and there is a thick haze of smoke. Families are using their wood stoves, petchis, to heat their houses.  The lights glow and as I look down a side street to cars passing, I am reminded of that scene in the Exorcist when Father Merrin stands outside of Regan’s house under the street light. It is very romantic and I can’t help but imagine the streets of a gas lit London. I have been reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and tis the season of A Christmas Carol.

A nice scene that I was inspired to share. I am listening to Georgian radio and have plans to study in the morning. Nato inspires me to reassert my language acquisition efforts.

We had water downstairs when I got home, so life is looking up. Teeth brushed, face washed and time for bed.



~ by kathryncaldwell on 28 November, 2010.

One Response to “A smokey night in Kobuleti”

  1. Always good to have a good friend in the village life.

    And seriously, what’s the deal with the book selection in the office?!

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