My Second Thanksgiving in Georgia

This week is Thanksgiving week. As Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I thought I’d write a post about the many things I’m thankful for. Living in Georgia isn’t always easy, so I think it is important to sometimes reflect on the things that I appreciate in my life. So, here they are in no particular order:

  • The opportunity to break away from my ordinary life and plunge myself into a world in which I often feel uncomfortable and even irritated at times. But those are the spaces where we grow. And I’m lucky to have this opportunity.
  • The kindness and generosity of my neighbors and colleagues who take care of me, check up on me, and make my days a little brighter.
  • My site mate Ann who also checks up on me, takes care of me, and makes sure I don’t retreat too far into solitude. And is just a great friend. My experience here would be completely different, and diminished without her. Thanks to her extroverted ways, I have friends here. I imagine that without her, my life in Kutaisi would resemble that of a hermit. But maybe I would have learned that coveted skill of being able to stare at the wall for hours. Alas, we’ll never know.
  • Having my own apartment that allows me to have solitude and peace when I need it. And I need it often.
  • John. He never fails to make me smile (or laugh). His weirdness ensures I will never be bored and life will never be ordinary. Can’t wait for more adventures with him.
  • The opportunity to travel. I love adventures and I’ve had many this year. In Georgia: Vardzia, Kazbegi, and Tusheti; outside of Georgia: Yerevan, Wales, London, and Warsaw. Here’s to a lot more travel in the coming year.
  • My Peace Corps family. I’ve built some great friendships with some really amazing people here. In seven months we’ll all be going on to new things. That will be a bittersweet time. But I can’t wait to see what they do in the world. And I’m already looking forward to the reunions. But in the meantime, I’m also thankful to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with them, not once, but three times! Last week, we celebrated with all of the Peace Corps volunteers, staff, and even the American Ambassador at our annual All Volunteer conference. On Thursday, Ann and I will celebrate with some of our friends in Kutaisi. And on Saturday, I will celebrate with a few of my volunteer friends in Kobuleti (the beach).
  • My family and friends back home. Through skype, facebook and care packages, they help me feel connected to home and I can’t wait to see them all within the next year. Special shout out to my friend Jack who took my plea for help with accountability super seriously earlier this year and has checked in with me every single Thursday since. That is dedication, my friend! Also, a special shout out to my family and friends who helped support my organization’s project to renovate our daycare center for children with disabilities this year!
  • A certain genius named Matt at the Cardiff Apple Store who singlehandedly made my vacation, helped keep me in the Peace Corps, and made me a lifelong mac customer by giving me a brand new laptop for FREE!
  • To being almost done. I won’t deny that I officially began the countdown about two months ago. I’ve got a lot to do between now and then. A lot of work I will be proud of. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m also ready to leave. And the next bullet partially explains why.
  • Being an American woman. I know that the United States is far from perfect on many fronts including gender equality. However, I can’t help but be grateful that I was born in a country that allows women to reject oppressive social norms without too many consequences. Truly thankful that no one in the States ever utters the phrase, “It’s our tradition” to justify oppression.
  • The opportunity to work on GLOW to help young girls in Georgia become leaders, learn about gender issues, and make change in Georgia.
  • New beginnings. For me, joining the Peace Corps wasn’t just about doing something I’d dreamt about since college. It was also about setting my life on a new course. And having some adventures along the way. One never knows what to expect from their Peace Corps experience. But I can say with confidence that I have gotten out of it most of what I had hoped to gain. I have new work experience that should serve me well in my job search when I get home. I’ve got a better understanding of what it is that I might want to do. I’ve had some great adventures. And most of all, I’ve been happy for the first time in quite a while. The lows may be a bit lower here, but the highs are definitely higher. I’ve had a lot of fun. And I’ve learned a lot about myself. Looking forward to the next chapter.
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4 thoughts on “My Second Thanksgiving in Georgia

  1. Betsy, what a nice, upbeat posting. I can only imagine what it’s like to live in an oppressive society. Actually, I can’t imagine it. But you’re doing a stellar job of coping and growing. Happy Thanksgiving (also my favorite holiday). BTW, I got a new dog: A 5-year-old cockapoo (a rescue). He’s a great dog. His name is Dexter.

  2. Very thoughtful post Betsy, I’m glad that you are doing well. Also, very funny pic of you and John. I cannot wait to meet him. Much love and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Rachel

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