Monday, August 25, 2008

August 21, 2008

Dear Friends and Family,

It's been three months since I left for the Republic of Georgia and needless to say, a lot has happened.

Starting on August 11, the Russian Federation moved troops into South Ossetia to "protect" Russian citizens living in the region. Within hours, Russia began bombing key military and civilian targets in Georgia. One of these targets was the city of Gori, located 20 km north of my village. When the bombing did not stop my fellow volunteers and I fled to the small mountain village of Bakuriani. There, all Peace Corps volunteers and key staff waited for further directions for three days.

Then Russian tanks and troops moved beyond the borders of South Ossetia and took control of most of central Georgia. All Peace Corps volunteers took an eight hour bus ride to a remote border check point with Armenia. After obtaining temporary visas, we travelled another five hours to a small town near the Armenian capital, Yerevan, where we are currently located.

These past two weeks have been the most stressful of my life. Complete uncertainty and ambiguity about the future of Georgia, my host family's safety and my future constantly occupy my mind. It's hard to make plans when everything is in such flux. Some volunteers are making preparations to go back to Georgia as private citizens. I don't see this as an option for myself. All major cities except for the capital have been bombed. The closest city to my village (Khashuri) is still occupied by seven Russian tanks. The only other options, beyond going to Georgia, are to completely reapply to the Peace Corps or go home.

The reapplication process and placement in a new country would take about nine months. Before Georgia, I wasted seven months working a dead-end job, waiting for an assignment. I struggle with whether it is worth reapplying and waiting almost an entire year just for the
chance at another country.

The other option is to go back home. There I would work for a while then enroll in a language school abroad (most likely in the Czech Republic) and become CELTA certified. Then I would teach English professionally in Europe and eventually earn my master's in Education.

....Peace Corps will always be an option for me, but perhaps now is not the right time.

Beyond, just writing to give you all an update on my situation, I also want to thank everyone for their concern. As I said before, this has been an extremely difficult situation for me. Your support has helped me keep grounded during a time when I needed it.

Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia is shutting down for at least a year. They are sending all of the volunteers home in two weeks. Hopefully I will see some of you soon.
Again thanks.


Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm okay

So, Russia has taken over Georgian territory to "force peace" in the conflict zone of South Ossetia.

I've been relocated to Armenia.
I'm not sure what's going to happen.... to Georgia or to me.
When I find out, I'll keep you guys updated.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My permanent site!

My final destination is SAGAREJO, GEORGIA.

A cute little city 45 mins from Tbilisi. It's known for its wine and its very "direct and honest people".

My host family is awesome and my house is a palace.

More info and photos (if I can get them to load) to come...

Monday, July 21, 2008


Well, I've made it to the half-way mark in training!

There's been lots of ups and downs but overall things are moving in the right direction.
I get my permanent site this Friday, which means I'll have a little idea of what I'm getting into.

Here a little idea of what I do 6 days a week:
7:30 wake-up/breakfast
9-1 Georgian language class
1-2 lunch
2-5 teaching practicum
6 dinner
7 homework/crash

If any of you are interested in visiting sometime, here are some
reasons that make it worthwhile to come to Georgia:

1)Georgian is one of the most beautiful languages I have ever heard, though it is the most difficult I've ever tried to learn. There are 3 "k" sounds, 2 "t", dz, tch, ts, and a plethora of other guttural noises I can not make.

2) Beyond the language, the best thing I can say about Georgia is that it's people are some of the most accommodating I have every met! Everywhere I go people go out of their way to make sure the "amerikeli" is taken care of.

3) Then there's the food.
Absolutely delicious. Everything is 100% natural and needs little to no seasoning. My favorite dish thus far is the lobiani (a kind of bean quesadilla if you will).
The average (or my average) meal consists of bread, potato, cucumber, tomato, and beans.
The only thing that I really miss is chicken.

4) The last reason is both adventurous and slightly dangerous: Marshutkas! Public transportation in a van that goes around 80 km per hour...with no seatbelts! Believe me, it's an adrenaline pumping experience to say the least.

I'll try to post pics once I find a computer with a usb outlet.

Till then...

Friday, June 27, 2008

So... no running water or internet!

Well, our first two weeks and Georgia are going well BUT there's no internet except for the in the few major cities... hence I will not be able to blog that often.
Hopefully I'll get more a chance to in about two months and answer everyones emails!
(I'll tell you about how cool Georgia is!)
Also, I'll put up some pictures and maybe video in two months.

So I hope everyone is doing well!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

I don't know what to do with myself!

Only 12 hours until I start training and my long journey to the Republic of Georgia.

My current emotions: scared, excited, nervous

... but I did have an awesome two weeks between Japan and Peace Corps.

Mostly just hanging out with my most awesome high school friends!

Let's see what tomorrow brings!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Probably one of the coolest places I have ever been (and will probably ever go).

Best parts:

Sumo- Kotooshu is the best!
Fancy Chinese dinner with Atsushi
Hanging out with the English Class students :)
Hot baths
Not so good parts:

Rush hour on the Tokyo subway
Air pollution- my lymph nodes were so inflamed it actually hurt
Coming back to the US

Best food:

Soba yaki
Shark fin soup
Tako yaki

Not the greatest tasting stuff:

Ginger- never liked it and came with every meal
Sea urchin- it's like taking a bite out of the ocean
Duck skin sandwich :(

Things I noticed:

-Hardly anyone has dryers. I guess it's more fun spending money on cool cellphones and technology than something as mundane as a clothes dryer.
-PATIENCE. Everyone has patience with one another. There's not pushing, rudeness, shouting, or angry honking.
-Sleeping on the subway is an acceptable way to pass time.
-People like to give gifts (a good thing) but I was overwhelmed with too much kindness :)
What I'm going to miss:

The people- some of the nicest and coolest people I have ever met
Food- delicious
Reliant public transportation!!!

I can't wait until the next time!