The Nature of a Broom

After thousands of years of industrial and technological advancements it boggles my mind why people would chose to continue to sweep their floors with brooms which require them to bend over. Today I watched my deda laboriously sweep the entire game room, which judging by the amount of dust, cobwebs and insect carcasses that were piled up by the end, probably hadn’t been done in quite a while. (I don’t think I’d be sweeping my floor that often either if it was that hard every time!)

During my trip to Vardzia, I had asked Leo our host and guide this question: Why are Georgian brooms so unnecessarily short? He didn’t take offence but rather reveled in the chance to explain his culture to me. After a moment of thoughtful reflection he said, “Well, The Nature is this long. So the broom is this long.”

It makes sense. And I have to applaud his ability to convey this concept in such a simple way in a second language. The Nature  (meaning the reeds or sticks) are only a certain length so the brooms, in theory, must also be this length.

After a few days alone in my village and knowing I’ll be facing many more hours of solitude this coming week, I’ve found myself in a more reflective mood….and Leo’s wise words keep coming back to me.

I suppose we could ask why anything is the way it is, and his answer would still hold true. It’s The Nature of it. Be it a broom, a mountain, a culture, or a person. It’s just its nature. To just be what it is, and do what it does.

So, why do I do what I do? More specifically, why am I in this small remote village in a corner of the world very few people know about, teaching children English?  I suppose you’d have to look at my actions to find some sort of answer…

Yes, I have played “the tourist” at times but I also want to make some sort of a difference before I leave here. If it’s the new whiteboards – great, if it’s the Special English Notebooks the kids can look back on – great, if it’s showing my co-teacher new and creative ways to teach her classes – great. But even those things only scratch the surface….

Maybe “make a difference” is the wrong phrase. Maybe what I’m trying to say it that I want my actions to matter and help those around me, wherever I find myself.  Yes, I think that might be it. And this is just another example of why I identify with the word optimist.

I am so lucky to be in a place surrounded by people who make this easy for me. Right now, I am Shroma’s English Teacher. I belong to them and they are proud of me – I’ve seen them talk about me in front of others, which is why I know this is true. Their eyes light up, their chins protrude, their voices get louder and sometimes they even stroke me from forehead to boob to belly. (This was a little uncomfortable at first, but whatever…it’s the Georgian way.)

I don’t think I would have had to do much to earn their approval, but I’m the type that plunges in and does everything as best as I am able to do. It’s just The Nature in me I suppose. I hope that by living, teaching and volunteering here I am able to make a positive difference in their lives. I hope by writing these words on a somewhat regular basis (remember I’m on GMT time) that I improve your life in some way as well. If you know anyone who would enjoy my words, please feel free to spread the love.

My time in Georgia is half way over. I can’t believe the time has flown so fast. Part of me feels like I just arrived, the other part of me feels like I’ve been here much longer – or maybe have just returned after a long trip away….possibly lifetimes.

I’m looking forward to the coming months, the workdays as well as the weekends. My time in Georgia is short and this fills me with a sense of urgency to do and live and see and be as much as I can while I am here. I’m glad you are on the journey with me, and I hope The Nature in you is doing what it was designed to do, wherever you may be.

A Georgian broom in all it’s glory.

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