Sora is sorting through a handful of teaching offers, we are already juggling regular Georgian lessons, we have joined a Georgian folk choir, I have joined a men's banya group, and our main concern now is finding time for...anything else. In addition, I have visited with my research organization and begun regular Russian lessons. Before I eleborate on any of this, know that "teaching offers" can evaporate here, the Georgian lessons are beneficial but not magically informative, the choir is an expatriate group which loves wine perhaps too much, and the banya group is simply addictive. We are now very well settled in.
This past weekend we took part in a choral performance in Khobi, Samegrelo region. It is about 5 hours from Tbilisi, on the other side of the country, near the Black Sea. We stayed in a guest house, attended several (singing) supra parties, and the Patriarch of the Georgian Church attended. The performance started late, at 21:15 or so, because the Patriarch was late. It ended at 23:30 and then we still had the supra to attend, so we were up late. Our group sang with astounding mediocrity. During the first song everyone started cheering and the Patriarch was pointing at us. We thought because we were doing well, but it was actually because a stray dog had wandered on stage.
Below are a couple videos of our afternoon rehearsal which were broadcast on National TV. The man being interviewed in the second video is our neighbor and fellow Fulbrighter, Dan, a former Peace Corps volunteer and excellent foreign speaker of Georgian. I am sitting in the back on the right with the basses and Sora is in front-left.
There are also some photos from our trip:
All in all, a great weekend. Coming back from Samogrelo, we passed the South Ossetian border on our North. It was strange feeling so close to "Russia," with their troops still in the hills on our left. We couldn't be that close, though...things have been...working. Visas, transport, etc.
More to come...