Sunday, October 16, 2011

On the first Saturday of October, the Relief Society Ladies decided to have an activity. We wanted to go away from Tbilisi, but realized the travel expense would be too much. So we decided to go to the botanical garden and then to dinner. The day dawned cold and windy, so we decided to walk to a museum. This is our new freedom bridge that goes to a great park. Here are the 5 of us who chose to walk in the park - Tatiana, me, Nana, Leanna and Nina.

We met up with the rest of the ladies who took the bus at the museum - a happy looking group!

Some of these ladies have lived in Tbilisi a long time and have never gone to the museum. Afterwards we went to the Khingali House and ate Kababi and Khingali. It was a fun outing! From left to right: Reema, Lola, Svtlana, me, Amalya, Nina, Tatiana, Nana and kids Ruben and Tamari.

We have had 2 baptisms this past week. The first is Mari. She has the cutest little 2 year old daughter called Taco! Her Father is E. Reese's first counsilor and her Mom is our piano player. Mari is in my English Conversation group and is doing well at learning English. She is a beautiful woman - inside and out! We are so happy for her choice to join the church. Aleks came to the 'movie night' we had back in July. He speaks 3 languages and is an architect. He is a really sharp guy and has had an amazing conversion. We are so grateful to have him in our branch. The missionaries are now teaching his wife.

We are really blessed to be able to share in the growth of the church in Georgia. It is amazing to be a part of the miraculous change that comes into the lives of those who find the truth and choose to be baptised.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

All Summer long we waited for the squash to come to our little fruit and veggie stands. We never did see a zucinni or yellow crook-neck, but finally a few weeks ago we found a pumpkin looking vegetable. It was so hard to cut, that E. Reese got out his hack saw! I baked it in the microwave and made a rice casserole to put inside. As we ate the casserole, we would scrap the edge of the squash to add to the casserole - it was yummy! When E. Reese was doing the dishes - he washed out the squash shell. It was thin and hard and made a really cute little bowl. We are now on the look out for cute little pumpkin/squashes to eat and make into bowls!

So yesterday we see these strange looking big apple type fruits. We bought 2 and I cut into one to make apple muffins with. It was hard to cut and very tart. Luckily we had one of our Georgian young men over (working on the paper work for his mission call!) Akaki knew what it was in Georgian and got on the computer and found the name in English - quince. I have heard of a quince and now I have seen and tasted one. He said that they usually made a compote with them and then he and E Reese went to the kitchen and made it! Below is our next pumpkin victim, a quince, a jar of quince compote (like jam), and some apples and plums.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On Friday (9/28) our interpreter Mzia called and said that our favorite NGO - Gia - had invited us to a folk festival on Saturday. Georgians do most things on short notice! We met him in Mstkheta and he drove us for almost 2 hours up in the mountains. Some of the roads were gravel and we had to share! This festival was to celebrate the birthday of one of their favorite writer/poets Vazha Pshavela, who lived in this little village. He lived simply and wrote about nature.

This is E. Reese and Gia in front of the poets home.

Mzia and I in the home next to the desk where he would write.

Just outside they were holding traditional wrestling matches. There was live music playing while they wrestled - an accordian and drum.

We missed the bare back horse race - but the horses were ridden there from around the area by young boys. This was the backdrop for the program. The mountains were beautiful.

First we would have singers and then dancers. Then singers again while the dancers changed into new costumes. Each costume represented and different area of Georgia and a different kind of dancing.

This is the traditional couple dancers (remember earlier post?) The women look like they are gliding accross the stage.

The men do all the hard dancing. Here they are involved in a fighting dance with swords and shields.

These were my favorite of course - beautiful red costumes!

There was so much energy - the men were amazing. The women just floated and batted their eyes! We really enjoyed the show.

After the program we were invited by the governor of the area to dinner. It was a traditional Georgian feast on long tables outside. Here we are walking there. Once again we ate with important people and listened to delightful toasts by the Tamada. We sat accross from the High Priest of the Georgian Orthadox Church in that region - he was a humble man who kept giving E. Reese more food. Before we left, they toasted us and thanked us and all of America.

We were trying to get home in time to go to a concert that we had bought tickets for - and we might have made it ...... Gia's car overheated! Lucily we were by a river and there was actually a path that lead down to it. We had a wonderful day and really enjoy experiencing some of the culture of Georgia.