Goodbye my lovely Georgian Family

After my last day at school I walked home and began to pack. I had only brought one bag, so it didn’t take long. I joined the family downstairs for the remaining few hours before I left to catch my overnight train with Kanise back to T’bilisi. There was an odd feeling in the room because we all knew that so soon all our lives would change again…for them it would return back to normal – before I had arrived, but there would be an emptiness in the room that I had created and filled for the past 5 months. And for me, I would be returning to the States, a place so completely different from what I’d grown accustomed to here. Even thought I know what I’m returning to, I know it will come as a shock, as it always does, of how much abundance and opportunity we have.

So, together we waited just doing what we always do…watching TV, cooking, Toma doing homework. (But then we totally escaped outside for a few minutes and threw rotten oranges off the backyard cliff – which was totally fun!) Toma and I returned because, after all, it’s freezing here, and soaked up the last moments of what it felt like to be together in this place in all our lives. I made sure Nino had all my contact information and passwords for the email and skype we’d set her up with, and I left my USB internet stick for her as well. I’d been saving a gift from the States for Toma this entire time and was so excited to finally give it to him! It was an Animal Bingo set! If you all remember, he doesn’t really have many toys – so an interactive game like this seemed shinier, brighter, and more exquisite that you or I might think…I could see it in his eyes. He opened it and we began playing immediately. There were a few new animals he didn’t know so I wrote out how to pronounce them in Kartuli phonetics so he could practice when I’m not around. When Tamuna arrived to take me in her car to Kanis’ house, he gently packed it up, making sure each and every piece was in it’s proper place. I knew he was going to love it.

Suddenly, the moment was upon us. I was leaving. This was it. I turned and Nino was already crying, which made me cry as well. I have so much respect for this very strong woman. I’ve watched her work from dawn to dusk to make sure we have enough to eat, make a living at her job, help Toma do his homework and do whatever else the house, land, or kitchen requires of her. She’s raising a son on her own in a developing country doing everything she can to help him move up in life. She wears makeup in a country where this isn’t the most common, she’s danced and lead groups of singing girls to different countries in the area, and she opened her home to me to show Toma what other worlds look like and practice his English. I want her to succeed and I hope one day she gets her chance to rest, because she deserves it all. We gave each other a long hug and I turned to Medico, whose eyes had also filled with tears. I was surprised at how much emotion was coming from her, I suppose I just hadn’t realized that even though we couldn’t speak togehter, I have been a constant part of her life for the past few months as well. I turned to Toma, who for the most part was focusing very hard on trying not to cry. I gave him a hug and said “Chemi dzma,” (my brother) with a watery-eyed smile.

They walked me through the front yard and to the car…where we cried again and had another round of hugs. I got in the car, we drove away, and it all finally felt real. I was leaving Shroma and my Georgian family….until we meet again.

Medico (bebia/grandma), Nino (deda/mother), Toma (dzma/brother) and Me saying our farewells.

Goodbye hugs with Tamuna, my English co-teacher in Shroma.

 

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