Friday, September 17, 2010

Meh da Shen

Gamarjoba! I’m back online! Sorry I haven't been very active on here and this post is so delayed, but when the odds of having power, Internet, and alone time all at once are slim to none, that’s just what happens.

September 13th

The tiny village of Tsatsqvi has been power-less for 3 days now – so it’s been pretty interesting around here. My Georgian family has been going through some major changes in the past week. I’d rather not go into all the dirty details but the result was that I was left in the village with only bebia for two days. Now, I know two days doesn’t sound like a long time but just imagine: your in a village without power(this means no computer, internet, television, hot water or light, of course), the livestock on the road could very well out-number the human population, and you living with an 83-year-old woman who doesn’t speak more than five words of English(most of these words being some variation of eat!) My Georgian is on par with a 5-year-old, at best, so the conversation is pretty limited and mostly consisting of dynamic facial expressions and make shift sign language. Finally, bebia’s 53-year-old daughter has just eloped and flown the coop, leaving her alone for probably the first time in her life. Except for me.

Meh da shen, she keeps saying to me as we keep each other company, me and you. I can tell she isn’t used to having such an empty house and I’m sure she’s wondering what the heck she is going to do with me. The first day is pretty consumed with cleaning up the aftermath of the wedding supra. I wash about 100 dishes by hand while bebia dries and puts everything back in place. We take a few breaks from the cleaning and she motions for me to nap with her on the downstairs bed. Oh, Stepana. Meh da shen. She pats my hand and lets out a laugh. Neighbors stop by throughout the day to congratulate her on her daughter’s marriage. With each visit the food and booze are brought back out and we clean up after them again and again. There are a few tearful moments throughout the day as she says her daughter’s name. Oh, Mari. Oh, Mari Mari. At this point I’m still completely in the dark on when the rest of the family will return. Things are not looking good.

By 9 o’clock we’re both exhausted so we go to bed early. Not to mention, there is nothing to do after dark when you have no light. At about 11 o’clock I’m woken up by a huge crack of thunder! We’re having a hell of a storm but I go back to sleep. At about 11:30 I’m woken up again – bebia is in my bed. It would have been shocking if it were the first time this had happened but it’s actually was not. I haven’t quite decided if she thinks I’m scared of storms or if she’s scared. She’s normally in and out within 15 or so minutes. She makes sure all my windows are secured, pats my head, lays down with me for a bit then makes the rounds to the other rooms. But this time there was no one else. Oh, Stepana. Meh da shen, meeeh da shen. She was in and out about five times before she just decided to stay. My bed is actually two twins pushed together so it's pretty roomy and neither of us take up much space. At about 6 am I'm woken up again when she comes in with a bucket. Stepana, pissy? The smell of urine wafts into the room. Ara, bebia. Madlobt. No thanks.

By this point there's no going back to sleep. It’s still pouring rain and continues to do so for most of the day. I can’t go anywhere. I sit outside under a roofed section of the driveway and watch as bebia milks the cow with a raincoat draped over her head. The rain finally takes a break and I make a break for it. I love bebia and I feel like we have a stronger bond after our two days together, but I really needed to get out of here. I ask bebia if she needs anything since I’m headed into town. She hands me a empty glass bottle that says something in Russian and has a picture of a cow on the front. Marketi. Paia, paia! It’s for the cow. I can’t wait for the reaction of the storeowners as an American whips that out of her bag. Just another day in Georgia.

The rest of the family did return and all is going back to normal. We just started school this week. Details and stories to come very soon. Also, I promise I'm trying to get some pictures of the family up here. I just tried to upload a picture of bebia and I and gave up after 10 minutes of loading. Talk to you soon. X's and O's.


  1. beautifully written! I love reading these, and love even more seeing the photos... bebia and the family are truly the stuff of great fiction, but your truths about them are far more amusing and touching than any novel.

    can't wait to hear more!

  2. a lovely, lovely post! quite a different experience from what i go through here and you're taking it all it in the best possible manner. see you soon!

  3. :))) I loved it :))
    Brilliant :)
    Consider me laughing and crying with you :D :D

    P.S. Say hello to Natela :D
    P.P.S. I am Georgian and I find it fascinating to see this country with your eyes :D

  4. I was touched to tears while reading your blog. You are definitely gifted person, who loves people and gets their affection in return. Great panorama of the life in the rural Georgia. Thanks.:)

  5. communicate -