Tusheti and the next 9 months

First, let me share that a few weeks ago I went on the trip I’ve been wanting to take since before I arrived in Georgia. I visited Tusheti. Tusheti is an utterly beautiful region of Georgia. I’ve been to some impressive places in Georgia and Tusheti beats them all. I’m not a poet. So, I’m not going to try to do it justice with words. I’ve included some pictures from my trip here and also here’s a pretty cool video I found on youtube. We were there for three nights. I didn’t want to leave. I hope I get to go back. That is all.

Except. I think I should make a pitch here for visiting Georgia. I know my blog may not always reflect the beauty of Georgia. What, with my focus on frustrations with the culture, social issues, and various other pet peeves. However, Georgia is physically probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Truly, I think you could spend a month in this tiny country, no bigger than North Carolina, and never tire of exploring its stunning landscapes and ancient ruins. So, should you ever find yourself with the opportunity to visit Georgia, I hope that you will. First, because you will fall in love. And second, because I really think the future economic success of Georgia lies largely in tourism. And they are starting to realize that. But right now, everything is still super cheap by American standards.

So, that said… Maybe it’s the arrival of fall and its connection to new beginnings (spring has nothing on a lifetime of back to school anticipation). But I’ve been feeling super ready to get back to “real life” lately. I’m excited and hopeful for whatever direction my career (used very loosely here) takes. But mostly, I just want to be a grown up again with the autonomy and choices that come from earning a decent living. I miss having a proper kitchen. I miss cooking fancy. I miss good wine (note: there is good wine here but I can’t afford it). I miss having a variety of vegetables, cheeses, and meats available. I miss the farmer’s market (somehow the bazaar doesn’t really compare because there just isn’t the same level of choice here). I miss starting my Saturday morning walking Chester and listening to NPR. I miss breakfast sandwiches. I miss Wegmans. One might credibly make the assertion that I, perhaps, miss Rochester. But I know that can’t be true! Ultimately, I guess, I miss the good life. And food. I miss food. I always miss food.

But in only nine months, I’ll be leaving Georgia and will get to have all of that again. As I am beginning to see the horizon off in the distance, it is still way too soon to actually do anything in preparation for it. Sadly, I’m not one of those volunteers headed off to a graduate program after Georgia. Thus, I will bide my time until a job search begins to make sense. Which honestly will probably be May since I don’t anticipate being ready to start work until September. So, in the meantime, I’m doing my best to focus on the here and now. And there is PLENTY to focus on. You remember GLOW, that camp we just finished in August? Well, we get to do another one in January! Our donor liked the project so much, they decided to give us more money to repeat it in the winter. In addition to that, we are working on a number of other organizational development projects for GLOW including rebranding, launching a new website, and a number of new programs including an internship program, a small grants program, and expanding the Taking GLOW Home program. Plus, developing all of the organizational structural materials like a charter and, this spring, our very first annual report! So, GLOW is very busy.

And now I’m also working on some new projects with my director too. One is a fundraising project that will open up a lot of doors for our organization to do fundraising in the future for our daycare centers. Fundraising that will rely less on having a Peace Corps volunteer which is great for them as they won’t always have one. Another thing I’m working on with my director is moving this social enterprise project forward. After inching along for many months, it seems as if we are going to start moving at a faster pace. I’m sure there will still be much to do when I leave. But thankfully I’ve now got another PCV partner to help keep things moving when I leave. Which makes me happy. And I’m also working on another little project in which I’m trying to help a few local small businesses develop marketing plans to build and expand their businesses. So, I’m busy. And I’m doing some projects that will hopefully help me find an interesting job when I land back in the States. And I’m learning a lot about what kind of work I find satisfying. I’m looking forward to when I can put that knowledge to work in a job search.

Oh, and I’m also enjoying the next few weeks in Kutaisi without leaving which hasn’t happened in months. I’m looking forward to it. As it has been cold and rainy here for the past week, I don’t want to go anywhere. The next time I venture out of Kutaisi will be to head off on my trip to Wales. I can’t wait for that! I hope to get to enjoy a little of all of the things I mentioned missing above while I’m there. On a shoestring budget, of course.

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