Catching Up

Hello again; I’m back!

I didn’t intend to temporarily abandon this blog, but between things both taking off and winding down in December, the holidays, a visit from Ben, traveling, and then simply continuing to adapt to the challenges of learning how to live and work in a new country and culture, I found it difficult to sit down and write a blog post (or two or three or four).  However, as the holidays are now over, I don’t have any travel plans in the near future, and the university is not yet back in session, I’m committed to taking some time to post about the past two months that are missing from the blog.  I’m also hoping to do a better job of staying up-to-date throughout the spring semester.  There’s a lot to write about, so I’ll divide different topics into different posts.  This post is just a brief overview and catch up of the last two months.

First, in my last blog post, I mentioned eight activities that I have been involved in so far: professional development workshops, a conference presentation, English “Coffee & Conversation” club, ETAG (English Teachers’ Association of Georgia), Georgian Lessons, class observations, meetings with local schools to set up opportunities to “guest teach,” and teaching an academic writing course.  I wrote about the first three of those in more detail, and said I would save the others for a later post.  This is not that post, but I will write about these once they have begun again in the spring semester and I have more details to share.

December ended up being an unexpectedly busy month.  This was the first month (and only month, actually) that my academic writing class met each week.  Additionally, during the first week of December, I began doing guest lessons in 9th and 10th grade English classes at one of the local schools here in Gori as well as in several English classes taught by my colleagues here at the university.  These “guest lessons” primarily involved me facilitating activities that got students speaking and using the language structures they had been studying.  The Coffee & Conversation club, classroom observations, Georgian lessons, and professional development workshops all continued throughout the month as well.

In addition to professional activities, in December I got to participate in a poetry reading event at the local American Corner that was organized by my colleague Khatuna and featured her students reading both Georgian and American poetry.  Inspired by the cultural tradition of toasts in Georgia, I recited the North Carolina State Toast and shared some images of my home state that made me realize there are more similarities between Georgia and North Carolina than one may initially think: beautiful mountains, beautiful coastline, famous hospitality, and unique wines.  I also saw a Georgian performance of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at Gori’s Eristavi Theatre with my colleague Lana.  I read the script in English before the show in order to be familiar with the story, and the performance was wonderful.

On the 23rd, Ben arrived in Georgia for a two-week Christmas and New Year’s trip.  (More about this in the next post)!  Less than a week after he left, I traveled to Vienna for the English Language Fellow, Europe Region Mid-Year Conference and tacked on a short trip to visit friends in Slovakia after the conference.  I got back to Georgia on Tuesday of this week, which brings us up to the present.  The university isn’t back in session yet, so I should have plenty of time to do more blogging.  Check back soon for more posts, and thanks, as always, for reading.



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