28 November 2009
After much fanfare, we were able to secure a turkey through a friend. The magic is just incomplete without a turkey, and as I love turkey so much, I simply had to have one. We did it up garlic-style with stuffing and boy was it good. We were able to find pumpkin the night before, and as we sacrificed the pumpkin (so it may have pleased the stomach gods), we disregarded how much work pie-making was going to be. The pies we made turned out OK except that the crust was no good. We could not find N. American pie pans, so we had to make do with what we had. The filling turned out well, and that's all that people want to eat anyway, right? Well, unless we're talking about crust in my family. Below is a shot of Sora looking pumpkin-cidal.
And as we go into this next week with turkey sandwiches and turkey soup, I look forward to the day I can make turkey again...maybe Christmas? Thus ended the best holiday there is. one without materialistic assumptions, religious conotations, ethnic exclusions, nor modern political scores to settle. Though there is always a bone to pick (in this case literally and figuatively) with such a statement, Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday because of its inclusivity and universality among North Americans.
13 November 2009
The post is not very punctual, but I figured it should be written anyway. Our October trip to Borjomi National Park was lovely, complete with wildlife, campfire, and ancient fortresses. We began early, but evidently not early enough, as the Marshrut we needed left by the time we got to the proper metro station. We ended up finding a place on a marshrut with a neighboring destination and proceeded west off into the morning only after an hour of waiting for the arguments about seating, why we weren't going, why the driver didn't have change, etc. to subside. About two hours later, Dan and Liz, our neighbors, and Sora and I arrived at the ranger station. A quick check-in and
Anyway, we left from Likani and went to Queviskhebi. After a steep initial hike, we came to a clearing suitable for camping. we intended to climb a summit if water and daylight allowed, but stayed the night. After breaking camp next morning and heading down out of the park, I took several photos of the mountians and flora around us. Sora and I had to geta photo in a clearing.
On the way down we happily stumbled upon a serene meadow. The gradiet was more preferable than the steep, loose dirt of what we came down.
Of course, we had to get a group shot.
There we found an apple tree with some yummy apples. Very few were wormy, which made a nice treat for lunch.
As we went further into a system of meadows, tall pillars of rock began to rise above usfrom the surrounsign forest.
And on one such pillar were the remains of a fortress, a testament to the history and resilience of this region.
We began to see more wildlife as we descended to the villiage:
And some not-so-wild life:
A great, long trip; and Dan & Liz's first! Now if only those passing by would happen to have space for us...
06 November 2009
My expectations were low. One of the few "institutions" that was carried over from soviet times successfully is that of organizers and bosses to put on shows for outsiders and talk the talk. My experience on my first brief foray into being one of those do-gooders on the gound was quite mediocre.
After visiting the IDP camp we traveled back to Tbilisi to see an orphanage, in part supported by Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, an organization my family has long been involved with. The Group supports families who have and who wish to adopt, as well as sponsors direct aid projects which benefit orphans and related infrastructure. This third photo is one of three siblings who were orphaned. The oldest was able to speak Russian with me, as he lived in Russia for a time, but in general the children could not understand me nor I them.
Some of the kids gather around an American nurse drawing hearts for them:
01 November 2009
Every year there is a festival in the capital called Tbilisiva (Tbilisi Day). Last weekend many streets were closed as crowds swelled in our part of town around performances, vendors, and folk attractions. In old town, a stage was set up below the mosque and trademark old homes with multiple balconies. Group after group performed, each representing a different ethnicity found Georgia. The group in the photo is a Ukrainian women's group.
Kabob fodder in a van and wine in the foreground.
The classic painting re-enacted; a supra on a raft. Our neighborhood in the background.
And one more from our front door: