Life Update: Georgia in the Pandemic, Valuable Lessons and Shemomechama

(Two of my favorite Georgian heroes carved into stone in the famous Sno Valley – Vazha Pshavela and Ilia Chavchavadze.)

Hey! It’s been a while First off, I just want to say that wherever you are in the world, I hope you’re taking care during these absolutely bizarre and unpredictable times. A lot (and I mean a lot) has happened in the past year or so since I put together an update. I’ve been putting this post off because A.) I don’t particularly enjoy writing about myself and B.) I’ve just been plain old busy. Here goes!

Life in Tbilisi

When we lived in Spain, we moved quite a bit. Barcelona for a few months, Moncofar for a month or so, Valencia for a few months, and finally the longest – Las Gabias. As much as I loved seeing Spain from many angles, we were both ready to relax for a second. So we signed the dotted line and booked our apartment in Tbilisi for one year. The plan was to stay here for a year(ish) and head back west where we’d ultimately make it to Mexico City or Santiago de Chile for a while. But hey, plans are made to be changed, right? We fell for Tbilisi almost instantly. It’s such an incredibly unique, fun, and interesting city oozing with quirky bohemian charm and a patchwork of history just waiting to be explored. It’s a place that’s small enough (1 million) that it doesn’t feel too bustled and large enough that there are several different neighborhoods, each more unique than the last. We live in Saburtalo, a cozy little spot in the northern half of Tbilisi. Our apartment is just a 10-minute walk from the metro and the cities old hippodrome, which is now a big green area perfect for Ollie. When I walk down the back street behind our apartment, I’m met with a big, grinny, “gamarjoba!” from the ladies at the hair salon (miqvars, Eka da Marina!), a gritty nod from the man in the tone shop whos shotis puri I can smell from a block away and a sweet smile from the lady who feeds the cats in the alley between Tamarashvili and Kazbegi. Then I land at Delisi, where a silver-haired bebia named Nana always saves the prettiest flowers for me, and a rosy-cheeked onyx haired garden lady is eager to load me up with the usual. Then, there’s friends. When you travel a lot, you’re bound to meet a few folks who come and go. In Spain, it seemed like we were constantly bouncing in and out of people’s lives, and in turn, people were in and out of ours. Despite living in a country known for its elaborate celebrations, colorful nightlife, and friendly locals, we actually spent very little time socializing. But here, it’s just – different. On the one hand, the expat community is extremely developed, diverse, and well connected – there’s never a shortage of social events going on around the city. On the other hand, I’ve made so many quality friendships with Georgians that I know I will cherish for the rest of my life. We even have a Georgian Grandma! Anyway, the big picture is we have friends. And good friends. The kind that stick around and are your biggest cheerleaders