I’ve never really claimed to be a writer or have ever said I was good at grammar. This is just a disclaimer, since this is mainly to document my thoughts and experiences while I’m away from home.
I arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia after a 28 hour trek from Dallas. This included a layover in San Francisco, the land of overpriced organic juices and a REALLY good chocolate bar I snagged before my flight to Istanbul. This flight was 12 hours of having the seat in front of me laid in my lap, and a grumpy baby occasionally playing peekaboo with me. The flight was painfully long, and I needed a shower. We finally landed and then I had to figure out how to navigate a new airport, where a lot of people I ran into didn’t speak English.
I spent my next 6 hours watching people run back and forth between spontaneously changing gates. This was super entertaining to say the least. I approached my gate and I’m met with a lot of Georgians who thought I was Russian (and happy to find out I was American). I even let a man borrow my phone because it had service and it turns out he was the captain of a pretty famous wrestling team. He made sure I got in the first shuttle, the right line, and to my seat. Shout out to the random Georgian man, my mother appreciates you.
I basically take a nap and arrive in Tbilisi, this was nothing in comparison to the flight from Cali to Turkey. My sweet friends patiently and promptly picked me up from the airport at 3am and this is when I get to experience jet lag. We make it back to their place and I slept until the early afternoon.
My friends then drive me over to my Airbnb I had booked for the majority of my trip. It’s a cute little place with a small kitchen, nifty bathroom, and actually requires two keypads to get through the front door and no keys to worry about. I’m a short walk from a walkable touristy area where a lot of people speak English.
I plan to do “check ins” like this more often, and now that I’m more established I can be more diligent in that pursuit. However, I did want to mention things I’ve already learned or noticed while being here, a little over a week now.
- You have to get used to people looking at you funny or just staring. You’re not from here, it’s obvious, and that’s okay.
- It’s okay if you need to sleep until noon for a day or two so your biological clock has some time to recover from the journey.
- People don’t smile at strangers here and I tried to do that, but I couldn’t. So cheers to people thinking “wow that crazy American” 😂
Some other things tend to be more on the serious side.
- Friendships take serious effort. Being over 8,000 miles away will really show you who really does value you and your time. All relationships require give and take, and it’s been heartbreakingly telling of who are only considered friends because of need or convenience. This has been a hard hitting wall while I’ve been here. And yes, there is definitely more than just me being gone for a week and a half, I’m not that crazy.
- Spiritual warefare is more than real. I posted about this on my regular social media but it desires to be here too. Praying out loud alone has, for a lack of better words, made me feel like I belonged in the looney bin. Not because I don’t think someone isn’t listening, but because God can hear me through my thoughts. But after a excruciating nightmare full of gore, loved ones dying, emotionally jogging conversations, and supernatural references I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched and targeted. So after one of the other team members took me for some awesome ice cream, she shared her stories and made me feel less crazy. I came back to my room that evening and had to mentally accept that there was something out there that does want to hurt me in all ways possible, but I, through Christ, have the authority to say no. So, out loud I did this and haven’t had a nightmare or creepy feeling since.
There’s been many other wonderful things that has happened. So if you’re keeping up with me, thank you for your prayers and support. I’ll be posting more updates on the ministry we’ve been doing here very soon!