Published: December 7th 2011November 10th 2011
I’m feeling suitably rough on Monday morning and I really don’t want to be at school. Today I am incredibly grateful that lessons are only 45 minutes long. After my first lesson I settle down in the computer room to wait for the dreaded phone call from Korea. My brain doesn’t work that well at the best of times and when I’m hungover it’s a fucking disaster but, having said that, I think it could have gone worse. Either way, they said they’d let me know within a couple of days so this weekend I’ll either be celebrating or drowning my sorrows! I somehow make it through another lesson, and the daily routine of drinking coffee with Maia, before making my excuses and walking home in the cold and the rain. Since the weather turned I absolutely love coming home. School is something of an ordeal simply because there’s no discernible difference between the temperature outside and that inside. We teach in coats, scarfs and gloves but when I get home I can change into warm clothes, have a hot meal and curl up in my chair beside the wood stove. It’s heaven. On Tuesday I pluck up the courage to break the news to Eka that I’d like to go to Tbilisi for the weekend, which means I will miss the wedding. I know she’s disappointed but I think she understands. I also have a hankering for a long weekend so Eka says she will ask our Director if I can take Friday off. I speak to Ara and he says he’s going up to Tbilisi on Wednesday night in search of snow so I will probably meet him there on Thursday but now I’m torn. Gala keeps telling me how amazing the wedding is going to be, what the food’s going to be like and how it’s being held in the restaurant where the president always eats when he comes to Zugdidi and there’s part of me that thinks I could leave on Thursday night, spend two nights in Tbilisi, which is effectively a weekend anyway, and then come back in time for the wedding on Saturday night. But on the other hand I don’t want to commit to doing that in case I get caught up in some crazy, and yet now fairly typical, adventure with the others. I guess I’ll wait and see what happens, but I really do want to make it to the wedding so that’s plan A at the moment. Although this also means I will have to spend precious time in Tbilisi looking for shoes as mine were ruined at the last wedding. School was even worse on Tuesday. I only have two lessons which means I spend most of the day sitting in the staffroom, freezing cold, thoroughly miserable and just wanting to go home. I spend the evening teaching Gio and Mari containers and their relation to uncountable nouns. They’re getting pretty good and it doesn’t take too long for them to grasp it.
On Wednesday I love my school (see how fickle I am?!) I come in in the morning and somebody has brought in a heater for me. Again I don’t have many lessons on a Wednesday but when I’m not in class I’m huddled next to the heater in the staff room. I had no idea before this how miserable being cold makes me! So I’m sitting by my heater and one of the teachers brings me a cup of coffee and I feel thoroughly spoilt. It’s going to be so strange to go back to England and not be waited on hand and foot. I think I may have to have a word with my friends. Then Maia takes me to the kitchen for coffee and there’s bread and honey and jam made from those little green fruits I’m obsessed with. I ate about half a loaf of bread and start to worry about how I’m going to eat lunch! Now, food is always good in our house, but Eka’s mother coming to stay has changed things slightly because Eka is at work all day, whereas her mother just seems to stay at home and prepare food for us and, trust me, there is nothing like coming home to a hot meal when it’s freezing outside. Today, for example, we eat steaming hot plates of mashed corn. Everybody gets their own individual plate of it into which they push homemade smoked cheese to be eaten later. You have a separate plate that you spoon the rest of your food onto, in this case firstly a hot bean sauce followed by lumps of cheese (that have the consistency of tender chicken) in this amazing herby sauce. You then take forkfuls of the corn and dip it into whatever sauce is on your plate. At the end you eat the smoked cheese which has been heated to gooeyness by the corn mixture. All this is accompanied by homemade peach juice which is absolutely divine. Once you’ve finished your glass you eat the peach slices from the bottom. I did have a little word with myself about cutting back though. I think I must be eating about two loaves of bread a day and what was originally a healthy layer of insulation is getting a little out of hand. I decide that the trick is to eat as slowly as possible because every time I finish whatever’s on my plate I’m told to eat again. Decision made. So what did we have for breakfast on Thursday morning? Chocolate cake, smothered in cream and chocolate sauce. I swear, it’s a fucking conspiracy.