Monday, March 22, 2004

The country, not the state

Off to Georgia tomorrow, frantically underpacked, suddenly realizing that I have absolutely no orientation when I arrive - I know the city name, and the name of the currency. I am not entirely sure what the name of my guesthouse is, have nary a clue where to find either my accommodations or my office on a map. I trust that I will be able to get a visa at the airport, since I failed to do so in advance.

I have not taken myself on an overseas spree in two years, and above all, I am terrified that I've gone soft.

It's a very, very foreign country, with an inscrutable language bearing zero resemblance to the Russian I only barely have a grip on anyway. They'll all know Russian, and a few will know English. Americans are fairly well-liked, but Russians are despised. So I'm not entirely sure if it will be more offensive to begin a conversation in English, which they are unlikely to know, or Russian, which they will know but might take offense to.

I've learned "hello," (it's a ridiculous "gamarjoba") so I might just stick with dumb toothy grin and ample gamarjobas. All anxieties aside, and forgetting for a moment all work-related duties, I'm looking forward to the famous wines, the excellent cuisine, and fabled scenery of this strange, troubled country.


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