It’s pretty much been raining the last two weeks, but out of nowhere the weather turned immaculate the past two days. So the entire family has been out on the farm trying to make up for the work they’ve lost, while I had my buddy Bill visit the house to drink their wine. If I can just make it to winter without growing a conscience, I think I’ll be okay.
Ati – The people of
These may have been the Georgians that made it to America before Columbus, or they could just be a couple religious dudes
Otsi – The only aspect of Georgian culture that native Georgians love to bash is their phekhburti (football). There’s a common joke in
This is a picture that I believe I've used before on this blog, but it's a shot of the Bandza team playing another village. Bandza's team is even worse than the Martvili team, and any Bandzan will tell you so.
Otsadaati – I’ve now watched two games (their match against Israel on my birthday [0-0, a complete snoozer], and their match against Latvia in Riga this past week [1-1, with Latvia snatching a point with a magnificent equalizer in the 90th minute]), and if anything, Kabiashvili and Kaladze look past their prime, while the brightest spots have come from 18-year old Jano Ananidze (tiny and sickly looking, but fast with quick feet and a amazing understanding of the game at such a young age) and Gogita Gogua (the Georgian Arjen Roben; young but already bald, nifty with the ball at his feet, can’t defend worth a damn, and loves to milk a dive). Despite blowing a prime opportunity to help their chances of qualifying for Euro’12 by conceding a point to Latvia this past week, Georgia still hasn’t lost a game in it’s group while picking up draws against group favorites Israel (in Tbilisi) and Greece (in Athens, which was an even bigger point). They have to face ultimate group favorite
This is a nice picture of tourist Max outside the national stadium in Tbilisi, which acts as the home stadium for Dinamo Tbilisi (the best, biggest, and most popular club in Georgia) and is usually packed to the gills for any Euro qualifying matches (including Saakashvili who watches from his Presidential box)
Omotsi – I think it’s because most Georgian football fans are front-runners to begin with. They don’t want to support a loser, and the Georgian National Team has done plenty of losing in its brief history. And though most of the locals will go to Martvili (the town up the road ten kilometers north of us) to watch F.C. Marani play every now and then, they will also freely admit that the team isn’t any good (they play in the second division of Georgian football, so it’s a pretty fair statement). If I ask my students which team they support, it’s always one of four clubs: Barcalona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, or Manchester United. There are a few Liverpool fans (although they don’t even understand that I hate L.F.C since I support Everton), and I see jerseys of
This is Ian's host brother Tsotne, who usually rocks this Barcalona Messi jersey, but he also has a full Kaka Real Madrid kit. Talk about a confused kid.
Ormotsdaati – When I was watching the Georgia/Latvia match with Lasha (my host-father), he never got all that excited like I tend to when watching soccer. For me, it’s the perfect build-up sport; you see the play unravel slowly and can just feel a scoring opportunity coming to a head, but even if the play ends with a shot into the stands, I tend to swell into a frenzy with each subsequent pass. Basically, viewing a game with me is like watching soccer with a teapot. But Lasha just sat back and looked disgusted the entire time. Even when
And this is Tsnotne's little brother Luka, who is always rocking his Gerrard Liverpool jersey, which is probably why he's such a pain in the ass
Samotsi – Speaking of Lasha, I’ve successfully weaned him off of using the n-word when describing someone of African descent. This tends to be a common problem for volunteers, especially those who are of African heritage (if I think its weird to be stared at because I wear button-down shirts and have long hair, I can’t even begin to imagine what some of the other African-American volunteers go through on a daily basis). It’s not the Georgians’ faults, as they aren’t trying to be ignorant or disrespectful, they just consider the word a common term in our vernacular. I’m not exactly sure why they assume that; maybe they show a ton of Tarantino movies and Spike Lee joints on TV here. Or, if my host-brothers affinity for DMX tells me anything, it probably more likely comes from the music they listen to.
Fellow volunteer Tomas, a diehard Newcastle supporter, with his host brother who is a Chelsea suppoprter despite seen here with a Harry Kewell Liverpool jersey. None of it makes any sense...
Samotsdaati - Much like football clubs, Georgian teenagers only listen to three musicians: Eminem, Shakira, and K’naan (and with the latter two, they really only like their World Cup Anthems). Some know The Beatles or a few Rolling Stones songs, but their knowledge of western music is limited and bizarre. The last two weeks, my friend Ian and I have been hanging out with a Georgian buddy of ours named David who is from a village outside of Martvili (where everyone has the same last name as David). David represents the typical 21st-century younger Georgian as he’s always fashionably dressed, has spent a few years living in
This was the lead man for the band that played at the festival in Martvili. The band is pretty well known from Tbilisi and their name translates into The Travellers. I respect any leading man who will spark up a cig in the middle of a religious holliday concert.
Otkhmotsi – When I say David understands English well, I really mean that he knows a few phrases but is eager and willing to learn more. One of his favorite phrases is he is stupid. We were hanging out in the café (the only place to socialize in Martvili outside of Boom, which is the supermarket) with David, his brother Levan, and one of their friends named Nica. I taught them how to play shoulders (a counting game that goes well with drinking), but despite it being a pretty simple game and playing with Georgian numbers instead of English numbers, Nica would constantly mess up, after which David would crack his giant smile and roar out, “He is stupid!” Almost as if that were the only explanation possible: he is stupid, he was born that way, so there’s nothing we can do but laugh.
This is David taking down some beer at the cafe in Martvili. Another possible nickname for this man, David the Drinker
Otkhmotsdaati – David can use the phrase in a serious way as well. Last week we were driving around Martvili and he pulled up next to a younger looking guy in his early twenties. Once they began talking, it quickly escalated to where the conversation only lasted about sixty seconds. After pulling away at a break-neck speed, I asked David what that was all about (as I’ve previously noted here, when Georgians raise their voice, it’s not exactly indicative of an argument), and he basically told me that guy and himself had gotten in a fistfight at the café the week before. When I asked him for what reason, he turned to me with a stern look and said, “That boy is very… very stupid.”
Myself and no-problem David
Atsi – The phrase that David uses the most, even more than he is stupid and it is very bad (with bad emphasized; often used to describe the Georgian National Team), is It is no problem! It usually comes in a sequence like this, “David, can I get a ride home on your motorcycle?” To which David replies, “You need a ride home?” Then his forehead scrunches up like he’s contemplating a math equation, followed by a face one gets when inspiration hits, while answering with a wide smile, “It is no problem!” Ian describes David as the happiest man on earth, which is a pretty fair title, since you almost never see him upset or not smiling like he’s got the run-around on you. But I like to call him no-problem David, because no matter what we want (a ride home, more beer, a meeting with the President) it is always no problem! This is a common attitude that many Georgians have, especially towards guest’s needs, but no one I’ve met encapsulates the pure joy in pleasing someone than no-problem David.