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Visiting The Republic of Georgia

March 23, 2018

March 16-20th: The Republic of Georgia is a country that some people would not think of as a holiday travel destination. It was certainly not on my radar until I had the privilege of hosting some groups of beautiful dancers from that country. Their visit peaked my interest and I considered the possibility of visiting this unknown place. It seemed like traveling there would be an unfulfilled dream and the likelihood of it happening would be remote at best. But in the course of a few months the impossible became possible and plans were being made to see the land that intrigued me and visit the people that had captured my heart.

There are a few people missing from these pictures that I was not able to see while in Georgia but before I continue here are the young men and women and their dance teachers that took us around on our journey… (click on the picture to see the whole thing).

Onise, Tato, Tengo and Vako (top left to right then bottom left to right):

I hope you can remember their names… George, George (little George), George (Napo), George (#2)… šŸ˜³šŸ˜‰

Sallo, Lile, Ani, Sallo, Mari… And then 3 of the 5 girls… absolutely beautiful young women!

Alex and Gagi (brothers), David, the wonderful teachers (Irma and Paata)… the wonderful man on the left of me drove us around everywhere.

Erekle (Erik) and Giga (and erik’s girlfriend)… these 2 young men stayed with us a few years ago:

Ok… now we can go on… šŸ˜‰

My husband Corom and I grew to love the 25 members of the dance team (on 2 separate occasions with 2 separate dance groups). When I had a chance to visit them in their own land, I accepted the opportunity and made arrangements with one of the dance team members. My aunt and I took an inexpensive if not very inconvenient red-eye flight to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. It was a lot to ask of a dear dance team member to meet us at 5:30 in the morning. He and others graciously offered regardless of the time of arrival. The most overwhelming and heartwarming sight was to see 13 of the dancers waiting and holding up an “I love you Jena” sign as we got off the plane.

Those darling young people and a few dads had traveled two hours in the middle of the night to be there for us! That was just the beginning of their efforts to show love and affection for us.

The 1st half of the day we spent our time in their capital, Tbilisi. We walked around at the early morning hours before the city became alive. It was beautiful! The Georgians took us on a tram ride that was an extremely steep incline up a mountain (it freaked me out but so fun). There were lots of pictures taken, lots of sightseeing and lots of laughs… mainly because I’m so funny! šŸ˜‚

And then we ate (this was our 1st eating experience here and definitely not the last… oh how the Georgians can eat and it was all great food)!

After the tour of Tbilisi, my Aunt and I, headed to one of the villages with the young man we were staying with (Onise). They took us in as if we were family. Throughout the next few days, we had many of the dancers in and out of the house all hours of the day and night. It was great!

We walked around onise’s village/neighborhood with the other boys before the “dinner party”… all the while, scouting out places to run. šŸ˜‰

It was fun to dive right into their culture and traditions with making food/treats, chores, laundry, dancing, eating and being with the ones you love. Onise’s mom showed us where/how they make bread and the way they BBQ. The bread dough goes into that cement kiln. The food/bread was wonderful!

I had the opportunity to milk a cow, Ride on a donkey trailer, pet the pigs they raise to eat, visited the pastures they bring their cows to, and ate LOTS more food…

Paata, the dance instructor, rented a bus for a couple of days and took us around to beautiful destinations. We explored the villages there, played in parks and had a great time at their restaurants (dancing and eating of course šŸ˜‰). Their churches here are amazing!

We visited the Greek Orthodox Church on Sunday (the LDS/Mormon church was too far for us to travel), and we were able to visit the school there in Onise’s village…

The picture above with Vako and Onise planting the flowers… Irma (Onise’s mom) picked those in the mountain and the boys planted it the garden at their house and named it after my Aunt Georgia and I. šŸ˜˜

We had the opportunity to attend their dance studio and watch one of their practices. Beauty beyond words! I can not even express the hard work and dedication that went into their practice. (Not that great of pictures because I had to screenshot the video)…

We went to Alex and Gagi’s father’s winery. It was fascinating to see how it all works!

Tengo, Onise and his dad (Tato met up later) drove us the 2 hours back to Tbilisi the night before our flight. We were able to stop off at a few other destinations to enjoy more beauties of Georgia. There is one thing to say about the Georgian men… they are always helping you with your bags/backpacks, always made sure Aunt Georgia was ok with the hikes/walks, helping every step of the way. Extremely polite and concerned over our needs.

We had the privilege of going out to dinner with 2 others from the group a few years ago on the last night we were here. We had a very pleasant night eating and visiting with Erekle and Giga (and Erekle’s girlfriend). Great young men!

Our time has come to an end here in Georgia. šŸ˜” I was extremely sad and hope to bring Corom (and the girls if possible) back for another visit. These sweet young men helped us back to the airport and we were soon on our back to Greece.

As beautiful and interesting and unique as the landscape of Georgia is, it cannot match the beauty of its people! There generosity of spirit, their hospitality and their exuberant personalities can not be compared to anyone else. Their circumstances are humble but they are willing to do anything to please you. There love and acceptance was overwhelming and we fell in love immediately!

Now for my running!!! I don’t know why I decided to book a trip right in the middle of my training! šŸ˜³ This 1st week in another country that is 10 hours ahead did not help. I did get out 5 days this week, ran 1 speed workout and a 11 1/2 mile run as my long run. Georgia was a beautiful place to run in. (I did run 2 days in Greece… Greece was hard to run in because it is so busy with cars.)

Corom and the kids at home are having fun andsurviving! Corom did go on a hiking trip weekend with his friends while the girls hung out with G-goat (grandma). They had a fun St. Patrick’s day. The rest of the week… survivor mode. šŸ˜‰

Some pictures of different foods we ate and of more beautiful sites…

From → Running

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