Moj novi blog

Going back to work or studying after 3 months of sheer enjoyment is no piece of cake (can imagine that going back to work after 9 months of maternity leave is even worse…). I’ve been back a good week (‘good’ in its phrasal meaning but definitely ‘bad’ when referring to how much work I have actually managed to do so far) but it feels more like a month already. Where are those days when weeks went by like single days? I’m sure they will come again but right now I feel like a rusty old car that needs some serious work if I wish to drive again. Though, I keep thinking (more or less seriously…) – if all else fails, I can always open a delicious bakery teasing people’s taste buds by giving them delectable home-made breads and cakes. Lana, my architect friend, already offered her professional expertise in designing my shop…I keep looking at wedding and summer photos and this only creates an unwelcome nostalgia especially when the view from my new room offers nothing but grey British skies, no Derek, and no adventures – except academic ones which may not be that bad but you certainly can’t put those in frames – imaginary or those real ones. I shouldn’t really be complaining as I love Oxford and what I’m doing it’s just that summer memories are still so fresh and summer is still only a two-hour flight away (na dohvatu ruke). Oxford is no Caucuses (no amazing and cheap seasonal fruits and/or mountains to die for) but then again Caucuses is no Oxford either (no threat of war here…except academic ones).Derek and I did avoid the big honeymoon adventure which we could have experienced had we stayed in Tbilisi or in Georgia for only a couple of days longer. We ended our honeymoon only two days prior to the start of the war in South Ossetia and thus this blog is about me being still in post-summer trauma and not about my memoirs from a war-torn country. The interesting thing about it is that we were as surprised when we heard about the start of the war in South Ossetia as the international community was and perhaps even the Georgians themselves. True, we don’t speak or read Georgian so we were not informed about domestic politics; I did watch Georgian news in Russian and to my knowledge there was no talk about tensions in the region which would escalate into a full-fledged war; and the locals that we talked to never said anything about the situation except that you can’t go to Ossetia as the border is closed. Of course they might have just forgotten to mention it. Who knows. Upon our return from Azerbaijan at the end of August (about a week before the war started) we did see huge military convoys moving out of Tbilisi…we thought that was a bit strange and perhaps unnecessary but concluded that they must have some kind of training sessions going on. If only we knew…when we were taking photos in Gori of a huge Stalin statue and looking for a café on Stalin Avenue that people will die right on that main square a couple of weeks later; or that bombs will explode in Zugdidi, the town we affectionately called Zugidigi and where we waited for 6 hours (from 5:30 am after an all-night train from Tbilisi) for our marshrutka (minibus) to finally depart for the magnificent Svaneti to where it took us additional 7 hours to drive approximately 100 km of mountain roads and frequent vodka stops.Despite all this, we had great fun in the region. We were a little disappointed at the fact that all three countries do not have a couple more beautiful towns or sights. Two exceptions are Tbilisi, which is amazingly adorable and Baku, which, if you turn a blind eye to perverse wealth and then poverty just around the corner, to the ecological devastation outside the center and if you don’t spend too much time smelling and looking at the Caspian from up close, was surprisingly pretty – however, after mentioning all the downsides of Baku it makes me wonder what is left of Baku to really enjoy in…  But, as with a lot of the trips – tourist and life – it is the people that make the journey unforgettable. We found people in all three countries extremely hospitable but it is the generosity and warmheartedness of particularly some of them that we more or less randomly encountered which will have a special place in our honeymoon memory. Hasmik and Mihran, a couple from Armenia, who welcomed us into their home and hosted us for 5 days in Yerevan; Irine from the hostel in Tbilisi, who gave us presents, did our laundry for free and gave us huge discounts (and a honeymoon suite J for no extra charge) on accommodation; the Azeri couple in Lahic that bought us dinner and a present and a couple in Seki who invited us for tea and lunch after we stopped them on the street to ask about their awesome looking 1963 Volga. And of course, there are Andy and Frank, two Irish guys we met in Yerevan and ended up spending quite a lot of time with in all three capitals of the Caucasus’ states. What is interesting about the region is that there are surprisingly a lot of backpackers. Despite this you keep meeting the same backpackers throughout the region as everybody is on an independent Lonely Planet package tour. It is indeed a small world, the Caucasus.And so it’s Oxford. That is only one of the reasons why I’m so fond of it. After a couple of weeks, new and old students will return, so will Derek and my friends. My motivation is getting better since I started writing this blog and you won’t believe it but the sun did actually come out as I’m finishing writing these lines. After all, happy endings are my favourite endings. 

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26.08.2008 20:36

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