- Posted June 13, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Eye on Georgia
Georgia Has Enchanted Me
I first came to Georgia in 2006. I had heard many tales of rampant crime and dangerous hot-blooded people so I did have some apprehension when I set out on my trip. Little did I know at the time that I would, in fact, quickly fall in love with the country. Despite the widespread poverty that was evident at the time, and improvements to the infrastructure that were then just in their early stages of development, the country and the people truly charmed me.
I visited Georgia again many times over the next three years and each time noticed visible improvements. The city was cleaner as garbage collection was improved, recreation areas such as public basketball courts and football fields began to spring up around the city, the water and electricity service became better with fewer interruptions I could see improvements in the standard of living for the local population.
I decided to move here just over two years ago. I am still amazed at the constant improvements and even after all this time, I am still completely charmed by the natural beauty of this wonderful country and the passionate character of the local population. They love to dance, to sing, to socialize, and to demonstrate the hospitality that is a strong characteristic of their nation.
There are downsides to living in Georgia but these disadvantages are growing me a collection of amusing stories to tell someday. For example, in summer it's very difficult to get a good nights sleep. The communicable, wine-loving Georgians are social drinkers. So when the weather gets hot it's not at all uncommon for the men to gather together on the street and enjoy some liquid refreshment together. For the most part this leads to warm feelings, expressions of how much they treasure their friendships and inevitably a group of men will end up walking down the street in the wee hours of the morning, breaking out in a Georgian song. Their national music is really quite haunting and beautiful but perhaps not quite conveyed as such by a group of highly inebriated men, singing with evident joy and vigor in the middle of the night.
Economic hardship leads to creativity. There is an approximately 13-year-old boy living in the apartment under me who decided last year that he wanted to learn to play the drums in his national Kurdish style. Instead of buying him an expensive drum set, his family got him some plastic buckets. He would regularly crank up his music, get out his buckets and start drumming away in practice sessions. This was not nearly as annoying as it sounds because he actually became a very skillful drummer. Again, however, the only disadvantage was frequent interruptions to my sleep when he would suddenly decide feel the music at midnight. Georgians never complain when their neighbors are noisy - it would be considered highly un-neighborly to call the police over such an incident and result in censure that would far outweigh the immediate advantages. One night last summer in particular, at around one in the morning I heard someone (presumably a drunk) walking down the street playing another horn instrument. I heard a scuffle below me and someone yelling out the window excitedly. About five minutes later my young neighbor and his new drunk friend had collaborated on the street and were now engaged in a very loud concert. The music was excellent but I regret that I didn't appreciate it as such at the time.
Despite small inconveniences, the pace of life, the relaxed vibe, the cleanest air quality I have probably ever breathed after living in large cities, the organic vegetables and fruits available in abundant amounts have led to me enjoying the best health I have had in a long time. I rarely feel stress anymore. My seasonal allergies appear to have disappeared. I feel happier than I have in a long time. Georgia is charming, inviting, and addictive.