Unexpected Sadness

I am really not ready to leave Georgia.


I don’t need a vacation yet, after four months. I’m just starting to make real friends here, to spread my social network out, to meet non-TLG expats and English-speaking Georgians, to build relationships with my students and colleagues.

I wouldn’t miss the holiday season with my family for the world. My father’s birthday is December 24th, and in our family we all gather on that day and have dinner and drinks and cake, and then when midnight rolls around, it’s Christmas, and we exchange gifts. My sister is coming from Florida, my cousin from New Orleans, and my other cousin just spent a semester in Australia. The family will be back together for the first time in months. It will be great.

I just really wish I didn’t have to leave Gldani in order to have that.


That’s right, Gldani. A lot of Tbilisians are pretty down on Gldani, but I really love it here. It’s basically its own self-contained city – we have a Populi XL, a giant bazaar, two smaller bazaars (one indoors), a bunch of casinos, a ton of great restaurants, cafes, and საშაურმები (aka shwarma stands), and even a four-story coffee house that serves European-style coffees along with Georgian food, some American food, and even tequila; we have our own carnival, great bakeries, pharmacies, taxis, marshutkas, buses, schools, etc. I never have to walk longer than 15 minutes to get basically anything I need, with the exception of a few imported products that I have to go to Goodwill for – and Goodwill is only a six minute marshutka ride from Downtown Gldani.

I live on what I half-jokingly refer to as a “ranch.” There are fruit trees and chickens and cats and there’s some kind of garden. My street is pretty quiet, and no taxi driver in the city seems to know where it is. But it’s a nice house and it’s just isolated enough to be peaceful but close enough to everything that I don’t have to go far to get what I need. It’s basically this perfect, idyllic oasis of a life, and I really have no desire to go anywhere else.

My house here is really the first home I’ve ever had that’s been mine in any meaningful way. I have all the freedom I need. I have a fully stocked and functional kitchen, washing machine, and bathroom. I have dinner parties and holiday parties here. I have friends who drop by regularly and semi-regularly for visits. I have an insanely comfortable bed. The house is warm and cozy and has electricity and internet. When I think about where I want to be at night, it’s here.

For various reasons I’ve always had ambivalent feelings about my parents’ home in Queens. My parents and I have a very good relationship, but there have been some rocky times, and the biggest conflict we’ve ever had has been over the house where they’ve lived for the last eleven years. I’ll save you the details, but it took literally years before I felt at home there, and even then, living there was a giant pain in the ass because it was really far from the city center, and really far from any of my friends, and really far from where I worked, or went to school… even when my parents and I were getting along perfectly, which was actually pretty often, living in Glendale, Queens was still driving me crazy with anxiety and depression and isolation.

I walked into my house in Gldani tonight for the last time in almost three weeks, and I was overcome by sadness. I know that I’m more prone to sadness when I’m hungover – which I am, after last night’s farewell party – but still. I haven’t really been looking forward to leaving the country, to travelling for 24 hours, to being away from my life for so long. And now I’m feeling homesick for Gldani already.

I was on the marshutka and I could smell shotis puri and qveli and Georgian perfumes and it hit me that I would not be smelling any of these things again for weeks. I know it’s only 16 days, and i’m probably being ridiculous, and once I’m in New York I’ll have a great time – but again, I just don’t want to leave here right now. I wish I could bring my family here for the holidays.

So instead of packing my bags, which I really should be doing, I’m sitting here blogging about how I don’t want to leave. I basically have to go in an hour or two. I should really meet my friend at the train in an hour to ensure that I get to the airport cheaply and on time. An hour… ვაიმე!


This song is incredibly appropriate to how I feel right now:


Goodbye, Georgia! I’ll miss you. I’ll be back.

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5 Responses to Unexpected Sadness

  1. Amanda says:

    I’m sad to leave certain aspects of Florida for the holidays too!! I’ve learned though, to just avoid conversations with people about the fun things they will be doing here while I’m gone. And make plans for great things to do when you come back! I try to always plan something exciting about a month or so in advance so that I’ll always have something to look forward to. Can’t wait to see you, Brother!


  2. Amanda says:

    P.S. I need to leave in a few hours as well, but instead of packing, I am sitting here reading your blog. We’re so related.


  3. chaotic says:

    my reaction after reading:
    ვაიმე, is it really him, or did someone else write it?

    I’m stuck in Germany for the 8th Christmas now and I miss home so badly, I’m not even going out to celebrate New Year’s Eve.

    Happy holidays to you.


  4. Woah, a post where you won’t get Georgians bitching about your bitching about Georgians! 😛


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