Nearly two days after arriving in Tbilisi, Georgia, I think I’m finally ready to write this post. My group has swelled to thirteen: seven Americans, two New Zealanders, two Canadians, one Brit, and one South African. So far we’ve undergone a walking tour of some of the more fashionable parts of Tbilisi, had about three hours of Georgian class, and four hours of something called Methodology. We’re all very tired but glad to have the comparative ease of spending time in the nice hotel with loads of wrestlers. No joke—most of the other guests are wrestlers; evidently wrestling is a very popular sport in Georgia and people come from all over the world to compete.
Please take a look at my Picasa album, which shows lots of pictures I took of the city. Most were taken on the walking tour, but just for balance, I also included a few photos of the crumbling post-Soviet sections of the city.
What’s fascinating about these more rundown sections is how much it seems to be under construction—nothing seems to have been written off as ruined. There are developments everywhere and tons of workers at tons of construction sites. I see piles of bricks that look like they’ve endured five years of rain since they’ve been set up, yet they stand next to the sidewalk, ready for a laborer to take them in hand and reside a wall. The country—or at least the city—seems to be in a perpetual state of expansion.
So far the program has been excellent. In addition to a mostly painless flight process—amazingly both my checked bags came out the other side despite great stress about weight restrictions—our group leaders are also both very helpful with showing us nuances about money and social expectations. It’s all a lot of information to take in in only a week—we’re entering into a whole new bureaucracy, after all—and they’ve done a great job of easing us into things.
I believe I will get my location assignment tomorrow, until then I know only that I will be working with Georgian police officers for the summer.