Let me first give some introductory information. This post is going to be dealing with my first working day in school. Still it is called ‘Qart’uli Suphra’. Qart’uli means ‘Georgian’. Suphra means ‘Party’. I suppose now you know where this is going.
My host dad said he wanted to drive me to the school the first time, so I got with him to his workplace, before I was going to meet my teachers at 11. At 10.40 he asked me if I want coffee. I said “No, we have to go the school.” He responded “No, everybody in Georgia is late anyway.” I insisted. At least at my first working day I wanted to serve the German stereotype of being super punctual.
At 11 there was no teacher there (My dad threw a smart, knowing look at me), so we went into the school principals office. Nice, big guy in his fifties, wearing sunglasses while working. Why not. At 11.30 the first teacher showed up, introducing herself and talking to me about what was more or less small talk topics for one hour. I told her that my school principal has to decide, which grades I should teach. She did not react, but ten minutes later simply told me that she wants me to teach higher grades, 11 and 12. And 7. Why 7, you would ask then? Turned out she had a son in grade seven. Big surprise. Well, why not. If there is a need for me teaching in 11, 12 and 7, those are my numbers.
More teachers randomly dropped in and out, before we went to the foreign language teachers office. Not without getting loads of interested attention of other teachers (female only) in the school, of course. My new colleagues then provided me with the school books for the given grades in the library, where I met a young, enthusiastic teacher who could only say Hello and Thanks but at the latest from the moment she saw me seriously wants to learn English. Getting the books eventually turned out to be kind of the only professional thing we did today. Besides telling my new colleague how I learned English, so she can make her 17 year old daughter to improve her English. And getting this one warning buy another teacher: “You are a very somehand boy, our girls will really like you.” Thanks for the compliment.
An one hour interview (about religion, family, Georgian food, Georgia, Batumi, my host family’s situation, again family…) and extensive reflection in Georgian on what I told them later, I became witness of one Russian teacher preparing magic coffee. Why magic? She filled coffee, water and LOADS of sugar into a water boiler just to recognize there was a power black out again. That made her rush out with the water boiler to somewhere. Five minutes later she came back with boiled coffee. Must be a miracle.
I was so naive to tell them in my interview all kinds of food I like (incl. Georgian wine). Shortly after the coffee I was told we are going to have lunch. Ok, why not. It was already something after 1.30 pm. Five minutes later I found myself within a real Georgian party (Qartuli suphra) with loads of homemade wine (in plastic water bottles), loads of homemade vodka “Chacha” (again in plastic water bottles, i kindly refused), my school principal as toastmaster and LOOOAAAADS of food I told them I like. Plus small fried birds and “fresh” fish as my principal LOVES hunting and fishing. Plus random men coming out of nowhere, joining us drinking. Plus “Tchame, tchame, tchame” (eat, eat, eat). And no way to refuse to have a toast. Taking only nips was allowed though. Surprisingly.
I like that my teachers and my principal are nice, open and happy that I am going to join them for on year. Still, at around 3.30 pm I wasn’t too unhappy that my first working day ended. I kindly refused to have another coffee (all this coffee with always at least 2 spoons of sugar in one cup is going to make me sick one day) and got out. Not without getting a hearty hug and kiss on my cheek from my principal, of course.
In the evening we went to pick up my new small sisters from the aunt of my host mum. Of course, this supposed to be a 20 minute trip went into another small Georgian suphra including interview. The family consists of one mum and four daughters. Later three more girls, friends of the daughters joined. Also, a bottle of “Tbilisuri”, a 45 % Cogniac, joined us. A real Georgian would now think something like “Oh boy. What an opportunity to marry him off.” But as I wrote earlier, my host family knows about my relationship status and is not getting tired to share it with basically everybody.
But this actual fact is not going to stop real Georgian people from making up wedding plans, including my teachers, my family and those girls. My girlfriend is coming to visit me by the end of the year in Batumi. And this is probably the most fast spreading information in all of Batumi. So they came up with an alternative quickly: We can celebrate a qart’uli kortsili (Georgian wedding) in December with you and you girlfriend! And keep in mind that real Georgian weddings happen to be parties of 400 – 1000 guests.
What if I might would like to be my and my future wife’s parents + relatives + friends to be at my wedding, I asked. No problem, they answered. They can all come.
Sorry, again no photos of the school today. But another few impressions of Batumi at day time. More to come of course!