Arriving in Tbilisi
The first thing we notice as we leave the airport is the heat. It is 3:20 am and we were hoping for a refreshing breeze after the exhausting flight. Instead, we get 25 degrees Celcius...
The first thing we notice as we leave the airport is the heat. It is 3:20 am and we were hoping for a refreshing breeze after the exhausting flight. Instead, we get 25 degrees Celcius.
We are welcomed with a glooming smile and open arms. Our first introduction to the Georgian kindness we will get to experience many more times to come. Bubbly and friendly as we have gotten to know her online, our coordinator welcomes us to our new home. A former volunteer is on her side, who is about to leave the place we will be staying at for the next year. The sparkle in her eyes as she tells us to enjoy every second of what lies ahead, promises a new world, full of joy.
I can't take my eyes off the windows, while our taxi drives through Tbilisi at night. The streets are well lit by lanterns, we drive by many parks and unusual-looking buildings. A contrast of old and new - old town churches, soviet skyscrapers and modern architecture.
I don't know what I had expected for the apartment I would be staying at but I can say that it was not that.
We stop in front of a run-down skyscraper. Loose cables are hanging from the walls and the facade must have seen better days as well. We are taken to the entry at the back of our house, surrounded by a badly lit courtyard. The main door has to be unlocked with a three-digit code. With a phone flashlight, we get a glimpse of the hallway. The steps of the stairs are broken, a lattice door locks the way to the basement. There is an elevator which my flatmate and I occupy with at least 60kg worth of baggage. As the doors close (not even fully), we look at each other and I know the both of us feel equally uneasy. As we reach our floor and wait in the dark, I cannot help but feel scared for a quick second. This place is nothing like what I am used to.
Luckily, the inside of our flat looks welcoming and friendly. At 5am we fall into our new beds, exhausted and excited for the upcoming year.
Yes, some things were different than expected, but with the sun of a new day, I can already see the charm of that. It takes a little time to adjust, yet slowly bur surely, you fall in love with that difference.