Yesterday I met my new host family. While of course it’s difficult to get a distinct impression of a group of people after a single night, there are a few things that really stood out that make me think that this will be a really positive experience and yet another awesome living situation for me.
First of all, before I even met the family I found out that they live around the corner from my school. I could hardly believe it when I found the street on the internet – a host family who lived a block away from my school, from Elvis, from Maharaja, and a scarce few minutes from the Rustaveli Metro.
Then the nerves kicked in. What if they had a pet that I was allergic to? What if they were all chain-smokers? What if my room was infested with insects? Or mold? Or chain-smoking allergenic fungal insects?
I arrived at the Ministry of Education at 5pm. I was put into a car with a driver who spoke four words of English. So much for an introduction. I began contemplating as follows: “what’s the worst that can happen? The situation is intolerable in some way so I just leave. I have plenty of places to stay in Tbilisi while I get things sorted out.” Heart in my throat, I struggled to remain calm during the grueling three minute drive from the Ministry to my new neighborhood.
We pulled up in an alley in Vera and the driver called my new host mother. After a few words in Georgian, she came out to meet us. She seemed nice, and she led me into a quiet courtyard off the main alley. Down three stone stairs we went, and my host sister showed up. They explained that I would be living in this garden apartment with their “neighbor” and that they would be living upstairs.
The apartment, I found out, is shared with a Georgian man who is my age, and his mother. So it’s sort of like I have a host family, but also sort of like I just have roommates. The most important implication of this is that I have my own key and my own entryway and can thus enter and leave my homestay at any time without disturbing my host family.
Thus it seems like I’ll be getting a bunch of extra freedom. It seems like I’ll be able to use the kitchen without much interference and without stepping on any toes. It seems like I might be able to entertain company from time to time without having to bother my host family – although of course I’ll get permission first, obviously. It seems like I will have much more privacy than I had previously expected. Considering that I was thinking about getting my own apartment, this is actually a really great compromise.
Yesterday I took a walk to school just to time it. Three minutes there, four minutes back. I think I could run it out in two. That’s actually as close as I’ve ever lived to a job, excepting when I lived and worked in the same place, as I did at Buckswood School.
Also, and I can’t stress this enough, my host family gave me a bunch of really, really good cake. They seem helpful and accommodating and I think we’ll all get along nicely. Also, cake!
This year is going to rule.
(Video: Edward Maya and Mia Martina, Stereo Love)