Gamarjobat from Georgia!
After 16 hours of flying, lots of layovers, and a possible lost luggage scare, I'm here in Tbilisi, Georgia and enjoying (with the help of lots of allergy medicine) my time in the smoke-as-often-and-as-much-as-possible hotel lobby ;)
I'm sure you're expecting a follow-up from PackPossible! so I must confess that I did have a slight scare at the airport; My two 50 lb. bags ended up both weighing more than 50 lbs. Right as I was about to dish out an extra $200 for overweight bags, my new Greenheart teacher friend (a complete stranger at the time since I had only met her two minutes prior), offered to shove some of my weighty books in her carry on. We got everything figured out, slid through security with a surprising ease, and departed O'Hare at 8:45am CDT for many adventures to come.
I was then greeted at the Washington Dulles airport by two fabulous friends and ended up leaving the airport (thank you, 6 hour layover!) to grab lunch. We also had enough time to see Toy Story 3, so the time flew by quickly. I went back through security, enjoyed a farewell cup of java from my last visit to Starbucks on American soil, and boarded the flight for my Economy fare to Amsterdam.
Well...what I thought was Economy. Shortly after I stowed my much-too-heavy bag in the overhead compartment and came to terms with the fact that I would only have a centimeter of leg room, a friendly flight attendant asked me and the two other gals I was traveling with to pick up our belongings and follow her to...Business Class BABY! My new seat was - absolutely no exaggeration - a cushy, reclining, God-must-really-love-me, AMAZINGLY comfortable, Lazy Boy-esque chair equipped with a down comforter, fluffy pillow, and 3-course meal menu. I had shrimp brochetta to start, chicken sate for my main course, a cheese platter and ice cream for dessert, and a very unlimited amount of vino throughout the entire flight. JACKPOT!
Our layover in Amsterdam went as quickly as it arrived and we were soon on flight for Tbilisi. And on that note, I'm off to lunch. I'll report back later with Pt. II of my travels. Be excited; be very, very excited.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I thought after traveling to seven destinations within the past two years would make me what one might consider a "professional" packer; however, as you can see from the abyss that is my bed (left), I clearly have some room for growth in this department. I do have some tips, tricks, and techniques for easier packing, though, and I'll share them here:
Rule #1: Always, always, always start with a list. I know you're likely to avoid taking advice from this chronic list-maker, but I'm serious. It's a must. I even suggest using subtitles ;) If you can compartmentalize your suitcase for maximization of space, you can do so with you packing list. Take the challenge, people! Oh, and being a professional list-maker does not make you over-prepared or over-packed. I'll help you stay over-organized, though, while avoiding those two stigmas!
Rule #2: Roll items of clothing (and any other items with rollable potential) into logs.
Rule #3: Packing is like writing. Write first, set it aside, and come back at a later time (at least two days later). If the writing still reads the absolute way you wanted it, keep it all. If it doesn't, tweak always after you've let it aside for awhile and not only immediately after. So: PACK EARLY! Set your suitcase aside, and unpack/re-pack after a few days have passed. I've packed about 3 times already, and logical Carla has taken many, many, many at one time "necessary" belongings out of her suitcase.
Rule #4: After final stage of Rule #3, cut everything in half again. Laundry is permissible in Georgia, people!
Rule #5: To avoid the headache of trying to pack this very large stack of books (right), do not major in English. That's about all I can say about the book problem.
On a non-packing note: I leave American soil in 6 DAYS and cannot possibly be more excited. I told ya'll that my next posting would be about spiders though (fears...obviously), and a blogger never lies! My fears have nothing to do with moving, traveling, new culture, or "new" family. I've always been a pretty independent soul - a drifter, if you will- so I don't have much anxiety about new journeys. What makes "Packpossible!" slightly impossible is what doesn't fit in a suitcase: my family, my two loving felines, my puppy, my friends, Chicago-style pizza, etc. etc. etc.
So, you see...I do have fears that deal mostly with the fear of what's left behind. The real gift is to be able to distinguish between fear and worry. And worried I am not.
Best of the best,
P.S. I found out that I'll be staying more specifically in the region of Imereti. Google it!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Lucky readers! It's not even August yet and here I am positing again. I've had a lot on my mind lately as I educate myself about my new home and culture, so it's only fair to externalize those thoughts in my favorite form: blog. Now that our geography lesson has come and gone, I'll just be referring to the country as Georgia. It is good, then, that all of my little scholars know exactly where I'm talking about. Still, if the summer has officially invaded the internal currents of all things educational and my strange new home still has you scratching your head, I've attached a photo ;) Here is my shameless warning that another nugget of knowledge is about to be up for the taking. I can't help it...I'm a teacher after all. The photo (right) is the geopolitical region between the borders of Europe and Asia; Georgia is a part of this region and therefore (much to my confusion) is also referred to as Caucasia--something that would have been nice to know whilst searching for guidebooks. So you see, we're all learning a little something here!
So why is the title of "Crazy Carla to the Caucasus" most suitable? Because it's simply a perfect subtitle, if you will, to "The Long Way Around" and the name of my blog in its entirety. Because when I tell my friends and family I am moving to Georgia, although most people have not even an inkling of where to I am referring, they all respond with a similar nonchalance: "Oh, of course you are" or, "You're crazy and we were waiting for some of your post-grad crazy news!" So here I am, excitedly and quite unapologetically moving to another country in less than two weeks!
Here's a thought: What's your superpower? I mean, if you could have one at all...what would it be? Most people take the traditional wish: ability to become invisible, ability to time travel, et cetera. Mine? The ability to have music follow my every stage of life via theme song (you know...like TV...where there perfect song plays in the background to accompany the actions and situational ideology of a character) If you're at all a lyrics person like I am, then it'll be worth your time to watch this video to get a "feel" for the inspiration for my irrationality and constant yearning to explore, dream, and discover:
I'm off to enjoy this cool and windy Chicago afternoon before I must leave it, but I'll be posting again soon. Here's a clue for the subject of my next post: spiders ;)
Monday, August 2, 2010
Count this as my first (of many) blogs this year! Exciting news: I am moving to the Republic of Georgia on August 29, 2010 to teach English overseas with Greenheart Travel. After a professor recommendation, a couple of interviews, and a whole lot of contemplation, I've found myself dusting off my suitcases and brushing up on (the reality: learning for the first time ever!) the Georgian language. Thank you, Rosetta Stone!
For those of you who don't know, Georgia (not the southern state) is located below Russia and above Turkey. I'll be staying, specifically, in the far northwest of the country just a few miles from the Black Sea. I'll be living with a host family and will put my mailing address on the blog and on my Facebook page as soon as I'm sure of exactly where I'll be staying.
My next post will be at the end of August! So: place my blog in your favorites, and me in your prayers! Off I go! Bon voyage!
P.S. The photo above is my new home! Permission to drool. Just not on me ;)