This is a blog post I started mid-April and abandoned for unknown reasons other than things have been a bit crazy and I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and paralyzed by all the upcoming changes. So, here it is, better late than never. A tribute to the beauty of Georgia and the beauty of friendship.
Over the Orthodox Easter weekend, I was able to visit the last great mountainous region I had yet to see, Mestia in Svaneti. Twenty-one out of the 29 G13s (the cohort I came in with) headed to the mountains in this far western region that borders the disputed territory of Abkhazia for one last hurrah together. Earlier in the week, the weather threatened to be cold with constant rain. But luck was on our side and the weather was perfect for hiking. Above are some photos, mostly of our hike to the glacier. It was a sunny day and many of us were stripping off layers and sunburnt by the end. The beauty of the Caucuses never ceases to stun me. I’ll miss being able to travel around this beautiful country.
But this trip had a special resonance since it was the last time we would all be able to spend a significant amount of time together before we all begin to leave in June. This group of people have come to mean a lot to me. Which shouldn’t be surprising given the intensity of the two years we’ve shared together, and yet it still is for me. Two years ago, when we were still all at home and getting ready for this grand adventure, most people were curiously pouring through each other’s facebook pages trying to figure out with whom they were about to spend the next two years. I wasn’t. I wasn’t interested as I assumed that my fellow volunteers wouldn’t likely play a large role in my service. After all, I’m a mid-career volunteer and the majority of my group were in thier mid-twenties. I assumed, following PST, I would go off to my site, focus on integrating, and only see this group at occasional PC conferences. But that hasn’t been the case at all. First, my sitemate Ann is the queen of bringing people together. From Halloween and birthday parties to game nights, she’s the hostess with the mostest. And there is just no way to avoid her since she’s my sitemate. 😉 But another thing I didn’t realize, is that I would come to rely on time with this group as an escape from the every present awkwardness of being a foreigner with rather miserable Georgian skills. As our time here together ticks away, I feel confident that I will stay in touch with many. But we will never have this moment back. So, for the remainder of my time here, I plan to take full advantage of my Peace Corps family.