After a strange couple of days here in Tbilisi, I’m cheering myself up this Sunday with endless cups of jasmine tea and memories of Istanbul. Here are some of the textures and colors of the Tomb of Sultan Mahmud, Hagia Sofia, Topkapi Palace, and Blue Mosque.
სუფრა [supra]: A traditional Georgian feast; literally, “table cloth” My first supra was disorienting, not least because of the obscene amounts of wine consumed. Every ten minutes, a man would stand up and philosophize on some topic in Georgian or Russian. Sometimes the other men at the table would stand with him, knowingly instinctively when to to talk and when to clink glasses and when to drink. My wine glass would magically fill to the rim every time I turned my […]
I greeted last spring in Austin, Texas with someone I loved very much. That trip feels like a memory of a past life, given how much has changed since then. From Switzerland to Israel, Russia to Colombia, and finally landing in Georgia. Euphoria to heartbreak to disorientation to fulfillment, and just about everything in between. Along the way, there’s been at least one constant in my life, and that has been Soulshine Traveler. Writing here has cushioned the falls and […]
The pinkish bud has opened, Rushing to the pale-blue violet And, stirred by a light breeze, The lily of the valley has bent over the grass. Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, age 17 (later known as Joseph Stalin) One of the most unnerving things I learned while in Russia last summer was that Joseph Stalin’s reputation isn’t all that bad. I expected that the propaganda, purges, and mass murders during Stalin’s reign would weigh heavily on the collective memory of Russians. But […]
After the opening of a new branch office in Akhalkalaki (and a few glasses of celebratory wine), my coworkers and I paid a visit to the Vardzia cave monasteries. I’d never heard of the caves before that day. Nor had I received the memo that we’d be hiking up the side of a mountain on a work day. Hence, I did not select my shoes accordingly. See photo below of aching-but-smiley woman in four-inch Ann Taylor pumps. The scale of […]
My Georgian friends have been warning me about March. ”It’s crazy,” seems to be the consensus. One day might be balmy and clear, the next rainy with hurricane winds. The lion and the lamb seem to be fighting for territory before April eases us into a hot Tbilisi summer. I spent this first weekend of bipolar Georgian springtime being playful and productive. I sang karaoke for the first time in my life, in both English and Russian (wine seems to […]
“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.” - John Waters A few days ago, my dear friend Roxanne posted her favorite books of 2012 on Stories of Conflict and Love. Admittedly, Roxanne reads better books than I do, but I bake more cookies than she does, so I think we come out even. I loved her idea of wrapping up the year by revisiting the words and ideas […]
My recent days have been filled with intense and scattered bouts of reading (from Jeffrey Sachs to Mary Oliver to US Weekly), the writing and re-writing of lists, the stacking and un-stacking of stuff. How did so much stuff accumulate in my bedroom (and spill into the rest of my poor parents’ house)? Do I really need to keep my notes from Econometrics, fall of 2006? How many cardigans are too many cardigans? And for the love of Zeus, when […]