Another Week, Another Year

It’s been a week since my last post. Doesn’t feel like it.

What have I really done this week? Frankly it’s a bit of a blur. I haven’t been sleeping enough and I haven’t been productive enough.

Today I tripped on a metal dowel sticking up out of the sidewalk. It was camouflaged by the ubiquitous grey dust coating Aghmeashenebeli – they’re renovating the entire street from Marjanishvili to Tamar Mepe, and they’ve done a remarkably good job in a very short amount of time, but walking through it is basically walking through an active construction site, with all the attendant risks. Anyway, I fell directly forward, and I put my hands out, but they skidded along the dusty, smooth sidewalk, and I ended up sprawled out and covered in dust but totally unhurt. That was on my way to my Ministry of Education class. On my way back from said class I got chased by a gigantic black dog who hangs out on Uznadze. It was the first time I’ve ever been chased by a dog, and it was more irritating than anything. Sure, the initial shock made me jump out of my skin, but when I realized that it was just trying to scare me off rather than to actually harm me, I had this moment of wondering how long it would be before I found something to climb up on or to use to drive the animal away, and wishing that I was wearing my other jacket (in which I carry a small but hefty stone for exactly this sort of occasion), and then the dog’s owner came and yelled at it and it stopped chasing me, and I was then also irritated that the owner lets the dog chill out on the street with no leash or chain, especially when it’s so aggro.

But what both of these incidents have in common (aside from bruising the fuck out of my ego) is that they were both basically ill fortune. There’s no one to blame, really – I mean, sure, in America I could have sued both the city for leaving a metal dowel sticking out of the sidewalk and the dog owner for not leashing her pet, and I might actually win one or both of the cases – but how many other people walked by that metal dowel and that huge dog that day without falling on their face or getting chased down the street? Probably all of the other ones. I just had an unlucky day.

Yesterday I didn’t do much of anything. Came home after school, dicked around the internet for a while, watched some Hawaii Five-0, went to sleep.

Wednesday I stopped a Georgian man from harassing a Georgian woman at a bus stop – he was clearly drunk, and he kept walking up behind her and standing so close that she was uncomfortable (and this is Georgia, where I have never until Wednesday seen evidence that the people even have personal space) and she kept moving away. Finally around the fourth time she moved I went and interposed myself between them and stared the guy down, and he wandered off down the street, open bottle in hand, presumably to find some other woman to stand behind.

Tuesday I wrote this.

Monday I came home after school, took a nap, woke up and went to teach MES staff, came back home, and then did a bunch of work on getting OpenOffice ready to write another play. I may or may not follow through on that with the actual writing of a play.

Sunday I recovered from my hangover from Saturday night.

Fascinating stuff, really. (/sarcasm) I had to reach back to remember all of it. Next week it will all be gone. Today I read back over some of my older posts, and it seems like it was a different life. I look at some of the things that I mentioned obliquely – stuff that won’t mean much to anyone else but reminds me of stuff that I was doing at the time – and I think, “oh yeah – I haven’t thought of that in months. I probably never would have again if not for this blog post.”

I’ve been really busy – two blogs, two teaching jobs, a relatively crowded social calendar – and I’m getting up to that point where I haven’t stopped to think in a while. I have been working on my summer plans, and it looks like I may not have nearly as much vacation time as I had been expecting, which means that some of the big projects I was putting off… well, I should probably start working on them. I need to index this blog much better. Maybe I should make a commitment to go through, say, five posts a day, tag them, categorize them, and make sure all is in order. I should do the same with the TLG blog. I should spend more time studying Georgian. I managed to download a couple of good grammar books (I’ll try to get links to those files up, too, so other people can find them) but of course I rarely have time to read.

And now school is ending. We’re in finals. The weather is getting hot – something I remember from my own school days in New York, which has a climate nearly identical to Tbilisi’s. When it got really hot, you knew school was waning. You could just feel it in the air. School seemed like it was already half-over – like it was wilting – and all you could think about was that endless summer, just around the corner.

And for me, when school ends this year, it will be a punctuation mark in my life. One full school year in Georgia – September to June. One year of teaching experience. One year of TLG experience. It’s a benchmark. And yet – much like this past week – it has flown by. I don’t have the sensation that a lot of time has passed.

This post is starting to feel like pointless navel-gazing. But this is what it feels like when you’re getting towards the end of your first long period abroad, I guess – you feel different, but you also feel like you’re in some kind of time warp. A school year abroad just works differently than a year at home, from the point of view of how we humans view and narrativize time.

I do feel like I’ve changed a lot. I’m always saying that, and I’m constantly reinventing myself, which maybe you’ll notice if we stay with this blog for a couple of years, if you keep reading and I keep writing, but I think this change is a more drastic and all-encompassing change.

Today underscores that. In New York, I might have let the series of unfortunate events of my day get to me. I might have said, “I’ve had a bad day” and I might have decided to address my bad day by rewarding myself with some treat, either chocolate or junk food or alcohol. Instead, today I thought “I’ve had an unlucky day” and then I set about trying to be at least somewhat productive, knowing that if I keep letting things go like I have this week I’ll fall behind on a number of important projects, which would lead to actual bad days. My outlook on life has changed. My ability to motivate myself on a day to day basis has increased, along with the positivity of my attitude and my overall satisfaction with life.

That’s it – I’ve figured it out. This is the first year that’s passed since I’ve been in High School where I haven’t been worried that my life was passing me by. I don’t feel rushed. I don’t say to myself “what have I done this year” or “I’d better hurry up and start living otherwise I’m going to be old before I know it.” This year – more than any year since I’ve had a say in the matter – I’ve filled my life with so much change and experience and achievement that I don’t feel guilty or stalled or like I have to regret the things I haven’t done. That’s why this year feels different: time itself is no longer weighing on my in quite the same way.


Video: Eagles, Already Gone

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10 Responses to Another Week, Another Year

  1. Bruna K. says:

    I mean that non-sarcastically by the way. I love when people let the outside changes be catalysts for inner changes, and nothing is more important than feeling that satisfaction. Happy for you πŸ™‚

  2. pasumonok says:

    so u’re the reason why my co-workers harass me with questions like:” should I write “must” or “have to” in this case?” whether i go 2 accounts to ask about salaries or purchases 2 beg 4 more stationary?!
    i don’t know what’s worse, me ditching u 4 a movie or u not stopping 2 say “hi” when u’re in the ministry twice a week. πŸ™‚

  3. Brook says:

    Nice post, with a happy ending. We likey πŸ˜€

  4. Louie Davis says:

    This is fantastic; keep it up, man. I’ve been reading since winter and I admire your writing and thought. This entry provided some useful inspiration as well.

  5. Steven Diamond says:

    A year yes, but I find the second cycle of seasons is a stronger indication of being abroad for an extended period of time. Something of a visitor the first year and an expatriate the second.

  6. Pingback: Shoveling Snow and the Tragedy of the Commons | Georgia On My Mind

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