Two weeks into the new semester, and I’ve not yet spent a weekend in Zemo Alvani. Nonetheless, I meet new people and learn more about my environment every day, so my time here has been anything but boring.
I thought you might like to see where I’m living. Here’s a look at the house:
From the outside many Georgian houses look like this. Unless you go inside, you might not realize that the the upper levels of these houses are largely uninhabited. Like the mystery of the outdoor staircase, no one seems to know exactly why this happens, but most houses have these features in common.
From the balcony the view is unsurprisingly spectacular.
The living room is the central room of the house. The bedrooms and kitchen all connect to this second-warmest room in the house. The TV is often on, and I am beginning to understand some of what’s on the news. My new favorite Turkish soap opera is the “Magnificent Century,” a costume drama about the intrigues of Sultan Suleiman’s wives and court.
We spend lots of time in the kitchen, from which the wood stove warms the two main rooms of the house. This “petchie” is a bit stranger even than the normal sheet-metal and rebar boxes that warm most rural Georgian homes. A gas line from the range leads across the floor, into a hole in the side of the petchie, supplementing the wood fire with a steady gas flame. Because of this rather unique innovation, our house is comfortably warm, even several meters away from the petchie. As usual, I am perpetually redefining my understanding of luxury. Opposite this corner are two refrigerators, one of which, a repurposed glass-front beer cooler, is left off and used as a pantry.
Bedrooms are almost exclusively for sleeping, though I use my space to exercise as well. I have a big room, and at night am often thankful for the little space heater. I love every wallpaper I’ve seen here, and the sparkly squiggles on these walls are no exception.
The village, aside from the straight roads and excessive infrastructure, wouldn’t draw too much attention. Here are some of the main sights:
The infamous Stalin memorial, on the village’s main corner.
Zemo Alvani’s other main street.
The location of the old cinema and community center, which now houses a library and hosts occasional performances. The rock is a monument to the village planner.
Slightly outside the village, the local church sits unused. Though it looks as though someone recently lit candles inside, the nearest services are held a few kilometers down he road at the Alaverdi monastery.
Before the sun set, I caught the mountains without a cloudy cover. Earlier in the day the local soccer team practiced here, and sport classes met outside to take advantage of the sun.
So far, I love it here. If you want to see or know specific things, let me know and I can make posts about them!