Once upon a time, 4.5 years and 3 countries ago, I set out to live and teach in a far-flung Eurasian republic known as Georgia to its outsiders, Saqartvelo [საქართველო] to those who call it home. (No, literally, Saqartvelo means “home of the qartveli”, which is the name for Georgian people.)
I miss it and I don’t. It was maybe the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life to date. It set me on the path I’m still on today. It provided me with some of the best and worst times I’ve ever had abroad and it sparked in me the desire to keep going. I’ve been back since, for a wedding. It was wonderful, in some ways it felt like going home again. I’m sure that my path will wind its way back a few more times before I’m through with all this living stuff. Georgia changed me. I hope I played some small part in changing it.
Today I met a K2 volunteer who worked for the same program as I did there; she arrived and started a semester after me. Our paths never crossed while living there. Still, it was really nice to be able to reflect back on all this for a few minutes. Switching from “Përshëndetje” to “გამარჯობა” was surreal and a little brain-breaking but lovely.
(My tattoo says “family”, her’s says “forward”. Curious parties can Google Translate the rest.)