School finally started. And although I mainly had to improvise, it was actually really fun, I enjoyed it alot. The students are pretty motivated and my teachers are really nice to work with.
In the beginning it was a bit unorganized though. As I wrote, I did not have the opportunity to prepare anything, because we did not have the time tables, I did not know which grades I would be teaching, there was no national curriculum and there was no teacher when I went to school.
Anyway, when I came to school (Without having showered since Sunday night, because we still had no running water. I put loads of Deo on, but still felt really gross) on Wednesday my English teachers showed up a few minutes before the lesson starts. When I supposed we would talk about what is going on, they definitely proved me wrong: Five minutes later I found myself in a grade 7 class to teach for about two lessons. Without a lesson plan, with no clue what grade 7 students would expect or what their level was and without any material. The student’s did not have books neither.
Eventually, it turned out they would mainly run the lessons themselves – by asking me all kinds of questions about myself. In our second lesson I started to ask them questions about themself, so they get a bit of speaking practise. In the next excersice they asked their neighbour in English if he or she liked the mountains or the seaside more and tell me afterwards what their neighbour likes more. When those lessons were over my teacher told me I could just head home due to lack of timetables. So my first day went pretty smooth and was more fun than expected, especially considering being totally unprepared.
Thursday and Friday consisted basically of the same, although with more lessons. I was dragged in grades 11 and 12 to answer all the same questions over and over again: Where are you from? Are you married? Do you have a girlfriend? Do you haev a sister? Is she married? Do you like Georgia? How do you like Batumi? Do you like our food? What is the surname of your host family? What is your full name?
By the way, in one 12th class, when I answered the questions if I had a girlfriend with “Yes, I am having a girlfriend”, the girls got really disappointed and started to talk to my teacher in Georgian, what she finally translated in English: “One of the girls [pointing at her] said you are really handsome. They don’t really like you anymore, because you are having a girlfriend.” And then she seriously said: “That you are having a girlfriend is really bad. For the students, it is really bad.” This is WEIRD.
Anyway, this week there is this Batumi International Art House Film Festival and I’ve been there a bunch of times already. It’s for free and they play really good movies in English or with at least English subtitles. I finally met Keti again (the Georgian girl who proposed me the program and urged me to apply) and a few other local TLG people I did not know yet and even a few of the local Peace Corps guys.
So far I’ve seen “Certified Copy” by Abbas Kiarostami (Iran), “Zbigniew Rybczynski’s Retroperspective” (Poland), “The Dolls” by Chingiz Rasulzade (Azerbaijan), “Close-Up” again by Abbas Kiarostami. Yesterday we have seen “Osama” by Siddiq Barmak, a really touching and intense movie about the female gender role under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The other one we have seen yesterday was a seriously one-sided (if not biased) movie about the 2008 war in Georgia, heavily critizising Russia and the EU. It probably has not been wrong or anything, it simply let out a few facts which would let the situation look a bit different. For example it showed intense pictures of shellings of Georgian cities, dead people lieing on the streets and destroyed buildings in Georgia. But it did not even mention the beforehand shellings of Tskhinvali by any means. It was kind of ok though to get a certainly close picture of the Georgian perspective and about the presidents behaviour.
Before we went to the cinema yesterday, my host family took me to an exhibition of a disabled painter and photographer here in Georgia with stunning photos and paintings, to say the least. He also spoke a bit German, which was nice.
In front of the cinema, a German guy said Hi to us, when he heard us talking English. He is cycling through the lower Armenian and Georgian Caucasus from Yerevan to Batumi and back and just arrived in Batumi yesterday. It was a nice surprise and he basically was the first German I really met in Georgia (beside that piano guy I had a 1 minute chat with). I joined us in the cinema and the cafe tonight, were we met a bunch of Peace Corps guys and also a few TLGs from Batumi and also a few visitors from my group.
On the Taxi ride back home I again used my whole repertoire of Georgian words to talk to the taxi driver so I can improve my speaking skills and also make him kind of like me, so he doesn’t extra charge me as a foreigner. That worked 100% of the times so far.
Enough writing, here are a few pictures of my exploration of the city a couple of days ago. Pictures of my family will follow 😀 😀
PS: They have superfast mosquitoes here. It took me 3 days to hit one of them and 2 other days to hit the other one in my room, which already had loads of blood (probably mine) in it. I’m getting better!