Monday, November 15, 2010

GNJB Glossary of Terms

I’ve been wanting to get up a glossary of terms for quite some time, but am now only getting around to it. I realize some readers may not be religiously following this blog, and that I often use a term or a phrase that may feel like second nature to me, but is not easily definable to the casual reader. So here it is, the GNJB Georgian Glossary.

LashaHost-father – I don’t really know how to define Lasha, since he’s certainly not old enough to be my father as he’s probably only about thirty-five. He feels more like a watchful older brother, but Rezo (my host-grandfather) looks too old to be considered a father. It’s quite the conundrum.

But Lasha is hilarious in every way. He’s short, stout, has extremely short arms, and a square jaw that makes him look like a rock’em-sock’em-robot. He works on the family farm doing anything and everything (including acting as midwife to the pregnant cows), but also makes a living (or lack thereof) through sports betting, or as I like to call it, Georgian day-trading. He knows very little English, but loves to use the few phrases he does know as much as possible, including telling me good evening when I see him first thing in the morning.

Lasha also loves to keep up with current events, particularly politics, and he has no problem telling me how much of a liar, deceiver, or fibster Saakashvili is despite the fact that I continually tell him that Misha is my defacto boss. But despite these objections, I love to humor him by responding with boghzi when he yells out Saakashvili’s name to me, which in Lasha’s Georgian-English dictionary translates to fornicator or adulterer, but more accurately means bitch.

Ira (Irina)Host-mother – Ira is Lasha’s Russian bride, and my host-mother. Ira is from Moscow, and they met when Lasha was working there in the mid-ninety’s. She definitely feels more like a mother than a sister, since she does everything for me (cooking, laundry, and cleaning my room when I go away on weekends). She knows a little more English than Lasha, is absurdly kind and patient with me, and is always busy doing something (cooking, cleaning, or even helping out on the farm). I almost never see her eat, and if I do, just like for the mother from A Christmas Story, it’s never a warm or fresh meal.

Ira speaks both Russian and Georgian; strictly Georgian with me, but a mixture of Russian and Georgian with the boys. Probably my favorite part about Ira is when Lasha says something funny or goofy (usually about Saakashvili being a fornicator of some sorts), she just chuckles sweetly and says, “Oh, Lasha.” It’s so damn cute and endearing.

Rezi (Reziko) Host-brother  – Rezi is the oldest boy (fifteen) and is named after his grandfather (Lasha’s father) Rezo. Rezi is much more like his Mother in that he’s an extremely hard worker, but does it without complaint. He’s the quieter of the two boys, and I love him for that. As I’ve had times where I’ve wanted to throttle Luke (who I’ll get to), I’ve never had anything but admiration for Rezi. He’s an especially good kid, despite his sneaking up on me while I’m at the computer and scaring the bejesus out of me.

LukaHost-brother – Luka is the younger brother (twelve), extremely smart (too smart for his own good), and drives me crazy. He works hard, but never stops complaining about it. He’s also developed a terrible whiney tone when he wants to let people know about his displeasure (and he is often displeased). But Luka is also terribly funny, because he’s full of energy and loves to put on a show. He’s a bit odd; as one moment he can be singing and dancing to a Lady Gaga song, and then the next moment he’ll turn into a fifty year-old man by slapping his knee in an uproar over something funny on the TV.

RezoHost-Grandfather – I’ve already gone into much detail about this man they call Babua, but I still can’t really put my finger on what he thinks of me. Sometimes I see him and he’s all smiles jabbering at me in Megruli (the official dialect to our region, of which I only understand a few phrases), and then the next time I see him he looks at me in wonderment like he’s never seen me before. But he’s still highly entertaining to observe nonetheless.

LeilaHost-Grandmother – Leila is extremely warm and loving, much like Grandmothers the world over. She’s also led a pretty interesting life as she worked at the pharmacy in Martvili for over thirty years, has traveled to India, and is currently visiting her daughter’s family in Belgium. Not your typical Georgian grandmother, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still milk the cows in the morning and go around pinching every young boy’s cheek.

Tamari (Tamrika)Bandza School’s English Teacher – As some TLGers have been calling them, Tamari is my counterpart. She speaks and understands English very well for someone who has never had much contact with native English speakers. She is absurdly easy to get along with and definitely more open to progressive ideas than others. I feel like for some other TLGers, their Georgian-English teachers have really been the make or break for them, so I’m extremely thankful to be working with someone like Tamari.

Bandza – The name of my village, which is located in the Martvili district of the Samegrelo region. Bandza is fairly large for a village, as there are several markets in the center of town, a hotel, and a Sunday bazaar. Many other TLGers who are in villages don’t have nearly as many amenities as I’m afforded in Bandza. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t get the business from anyone and everyone about living in Bandza. Most people know Bandza because it’s at the crossroads between four somewhat substantial towns in Samegrelo (Khoni, Martvili, Senaki, and Abasha). But the adjective bandzi is the Georgian equivalent of lame. So it would compare to me living in an American town named Lame-o.  Never ceases to entertain any Georgian when I tell them I live in Bandza.

Martvili – Martvili is the town ten kilometers up the road from me. It’s a legitimate town, with a supermarket, a café, my bank’s local branch, a park with a fountain, and a beautiful Monastery that sits atop the hill in the middle of town. Friend of the blog and fellow TLGer Ian teaches at one of the three schools there, while No-Problem David is from a village a few kilometers outside of town. Martvili is usually where I go when I want to unwind or do some shopping. As I tell Ian, it’s the Paris  of the Martvili district.

Samegrelo – The region in which most of the TLGers from my group are stationed. Half in the mountains, half in the only low-lands of Georgia, Samegrelo affords some pretty impressive views of the mountains to the north and south thanks to plains that run through the southern half of the region. Samegrelo also has it’s own language Megruli, which I mentioned above. People from Samegrelo love it when a foreigner can spout out even the smallest amount of Megruli, so even the few phrases I know come in handy when meeting a Megrelian. Mutcherek (how are you)?

TLGTeach and Learn Georgia – My program that is run from the Ministry of Education in Tbilisi. You can read more about it by clicking on the link in my sidebar, but basically it’s a government program that’s goal is to make English the official second-language of Georgia within five years. They plan on placing upwards of one thousand English speakers throughout the schools of Georgia  by next year. I’ve already said more than I should on a public forum regarding TLG, but it’s an extremely aggressive plan and endeavor that has given us TLGers every opportunity to shape and mold the program to whatever we deem necessary given our situations.

Now I know many of you may not have learnt anything within that post, but it had to be done. I promise another post sometime this week regarding Georgian men and their cars (I know, I’ve been promising that for quite sometime, but this time it’s for real). But I’m still really busy, especially since Ian and I are planning and playing in a Bandza/Martvili basketball game on Thursday. This time, it’s for blood.

Unfortunately, no pictures for the time being since my internet is acting woefully slow. Soon, though.

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