June 30, 2019, was my one year anniversary of moving to Georgia. I can’t believe it went by so quickly. The last time I wrote about being in a post for one year I talked about Culture Shock and how much we were still struggling to find our footing. This time it’s a completely different feeling.
There are several things about this tour that make it easier than the last. For one, we have that first tour experience under our belts so we know the warning signs of culture shock and how to manage our feelings. I also maintained my own career this go round and Sean and I haven’t intertwined our work lives so much that we’re sick of each other. Also, when we were in Dushanbe, we only managed to make it home to the U.S. once in our two years. I’ve already been back once, and we will be home the entire month of August. I think breaking up a tour with a visit home is essential. It’s so refreshing to touch base with America and reset.
Sure, there are challenges. Summer is here and in full force. Wednesday was our Independence Day celebration at the embassy and it was blisteringly hot until the sun went down (then I got eaten alive by mosquitos because of course I did). That’s pretty typical. It’s difficult to get out and enjoy the city when after two minutes I’m soaked in sweat and burning in the sun. I still get frustrated when I can’t find things at the grocery store and don’t get me started on driving. I can’t stand it when the taxis can’t find our house – just go to the point on your map for goodness sake! We’ve also had a few issues with the house, which is normal, but still annoying and disruptive.
But one thing that can’t be denied: I love living in Tbilisi. There are so many restaurants, festivals, and just interesting things to explore. Our to-do list keeps getting longer even as we cross things off. We’ve also made it our mission to get out and see as much of the country as possible this summer and fall, and every new town we visit is just as charming and fun as Georgia’s capital.
And of course, there are the people. Georgians are some of the most friendly and welcoming people I’ve ever had the pleasure to interact with. We’ve been invited to weddings, wine harvests, and simply welcomed into people’s homes for informal dinners. We are greeted with a smile, open arms, and excitement when we tell people we live here and aren’t just visiting. They make it so easy to be a guest in their home country, and I’m thankful for that.
I’ve told Sean many times I’m excited for whatever comes next as we look ahead to 2020, but I know I will miss this city when the time comes to leave it. I hope this next year is just as fun and surprising as the first. I’m quite confident it will be even better.