Friday, September 14, 2007

Are you there, America? It's me, Dan. Or: Remember, there was that book about a girl named Margaret and God? Yeah, I thought the joke was stupid, too.

Oh, hello. Didn't see you there. If you're wondering what happened to my last post (if you're NOT wondering what happened to my last post because you didn't see it, please proceed to the next paragraph as if nothing ever happened. Thank you.), which was lengthy and filled with information but also filled with apparently poor sarcasm, it no longer exists. My girlfriend read it and texted me that she thought I might get in trouble, and then my mom read it and told me that it sucked. I don't think I would have gotten in any trouble for it, but it definitely might have sucked, so I decided to take it down to be safe in case there are other women in my life about whom I've forgotten who might have added themselves to the Less Than Amused list. Forget that it happened, unless you read it and thoroughly enjoyed it, in which case please tell your friends and forward my e-mail address to Random House Publishing.

So, proceeding from the assumption that you did not see my last post: I am, finally, at my permanent site, and have been for three weeks now. It is a village (large by village standards, I suppose, but in what I am told is the poorest region of Georgia) in western Georgia, and I work at an NGO that, thankfully, has internet access -- the only internet access in at least 30km, I believe. The first few weeks have been a constant struggle for acclimation; going from four hours a day of language class to an organization where almost nobody speaks much English is like hitting a home run against a blind 10 year old softball pitcher and then getting hit in the face by a Roger Clemens fastball. Work is very, very difficult, and will continue to be for the indeterminate future until my language gets up to speed. All of my NGO-volunteer-mates are also having difficulty acclimating -- though our problems are all slightly different, being in different situations -- and we're all glad to be able to talk about it with each other and to know that, however often difficult it may be, that difficulty is probably not indicative of a larger problem. It's just the way this thing goes.

But, looking at things big picture, I think I'm getting used to my assignment relatively quickly and relatively well. The people in my town are extremely friendly, and I am in the middle of a double-wedding week; my director's brother married the sister of another employee at my organization last Sunday, and much merriment was had by all (I drank wine out of a ceramic horn that was shoved at me by this employee AND out of this bowl-on-a-stick thing the best man gave me, and that was pretty much the end of my brain's vain attempt to stay coherent for the entire evening). I have another wedding this weekend that will hopefully be as enjoyable during the festivities but with a better ending (I got home after the last one, realized I'd lost my keys somewhere, and had to break into my own room).

To tell the untold story of the photo in the previous post (which doesn't seem to be visible in thumbnail form for some reason, but it is if you click on it, if you have not yet discovered this): this was taken a few weekends ago, still during training, when we went to a village near our town to play basketball with some other trainees. Turns out that 20 Georgian men were waiting for us with great fanfare, and we engaged in a "Friendship Match." For this friendship match, we received diplomas (you can see a couple people holding theirs in the photo). I had a great time, except for the part where one of the Georgian men slammed the ball into my finger (Georgians play dirty in basketball. This is not a culturally insensitive statement. This is merely fact), causing a delayed swelling (I had not noticed it yet when we took this photo) that turned out to be one of the worst sprains I've ever had. The finger was immobile for about a week. To prove my statement about Georgians true, I offer this evidence: my injury was neither the first nor the most serious one sustained by a trainee during a basketball game with Georgians. I am not judging anyone. Perhaps Americans simply play pickup basketball like blind ten year old softball pitchers.

Anyway, I hope to have many exciting stories to share on this blog soon. I have had many exciting things happen to me already, but I always forget them before I post them, because I did a LOT of drugs in the 60s (note to any official persons reading this blog: this is a joke! I don't even know what the 60s ARE, because I am illiterate.)(note to any official persons reading this blog: that was also a joke! It's Kelly Uphoff, who is stationed in Gori, who is illiterate and hasn't told anybody because she doesn't want to get Ad Sepped)(note to everyone who doesn't know what Ad Sepped means: you know what, this joke is stale, and don't even worry about it). I will, as I eternally promise and rarely deliver, attempt to share more of them in the near future. And I hope to have photos online next Saturday, when I'm finally in the capital with (I hope) fast enough internet access. As for now, I attempted to load a single amusing photo of a Georgian man without a shirt playing a guitar for us, but I failed. How like life, friends.

1 comment:

Lauren OT said...

Moving to Georgia is way more exciting than moving to D.C. (obvious statement). Hope you are well Dan, and Chad and I think about you often, in concervsations like this:

Lauren: I think our cat needs company, I'll go look on craigslist.
Lauren: We could get a cat, a ferret, or some more hermitcrabs.
Chad: HELL NO. Those things are kinda creepy.
Lauren: I cna't remember why you got into the crab thing in the first place.
Chad: I think Dan wanted a pet. Oh wait, someone thought it was a funny joke to give Dan "crabs."
Lauren: Haha, Dan's in Georgiathecountrynotthestate, poor bloke.

Anyways, stay well, and ps if you had made it to our wedding we would have let you drink wine out airplane wing tank! J/k that would result in a great photoop, but probably also kidney failure.

Oh yes: