Ben Sweeney’s Weblog

Got a Fulbright, living in Georgia for a year.


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Oh man, its kind-of late here, and as usual, I did not intend it to be that way, but I just have to write something about this evening.

I went to the banya as usual on Fridays.  It was quite nice, except that I showed up a bit late – traffic was horrible (some Orthodox holiday or something), and when we got there it took a bit to get into our room.

Anyways, the banya was amazing as usual, as was the dinner afterwards.  Someway through all this, I decided to call this number I found in my phone.  I had a good idea that it was some Marine that I met at the Marine Ball last week, and calling, this turned out to be the case.  They were a bit away from where I was, and although I wanted to see what these Marine dudes were up to (talking to them at the Marine Ball was really interesting), I went with my friends to this nice arty bar (which is kind-of rare in Tbilisi).

Almost immediately I peeled off of them.  We got some beers and sat down.  Then I thought I recognized this girl at a table just next to us, so I went over and asked if we had met (I forgot her name).  It turned out to not be who I thought it was, but I did indeed know another person at the table, this Swedish girl who couchsurfed at my place a while ago.  It turns out that she is back to study here.  I met her friends.  My other friends eventually joined us.  We had all kinds of conversations, a lot of it was about LGBT issues actually, as well as British v. American humour and other topics.

Somehow, I managed to peel off of these friends as well eventually, I mean as they all went off home.  My mom called and gave me my official GRE results.  People have been asking if I “passed,” and I guess I can say “Yeah, I did pretty ok, I guess I passed.”

I started talking to some Norwegians.  They are here for some kind of Court thing, they tried explaining it, but I’ve forgotten the details.  By the end of the night, it was just me and some Norwegian dude in this bar, as well as the owner/bartender and his girlfriend.

Eventually the Norwegian decided to go.  I had only stayed out of politeness and interest in the conversation, so I was good to go.  I put on my hat and scarf and blazer and dug some clementines out of my bag and tossed them to the bartender, and left as well.

By the time I left and started walking home I saw this guy walking towards me.  It turned out to be the Norwegian guy.  I walked him to his hotel to make sure he could find it, and on the way we passed by a church.  Our conversation turned to religion.  I told him that I’m Jewish.  Then he told me about his Grandfather.

Apparently 80% of the Norwegian Jewish population was killed during the Holocaust.  His Grandfather was half Jewish and was lined up for a boat to head to a concentration camp/certain death.  Then somehow, the German in charge pulled the Grandfather and his brother out of the line and told them to go home.  And so I got to meet Tage.  (I forget his Grandfather’s last name, but it was something like Judahstein, or something super, super Jewish)

It was a lot to think about walking home.  I saw some people sitting on a curb.  They seemed like clubbing kids.  One of them was black with dreads and clearly foreign, but I’m pretty sure the others were Georgian.  I pulled out my last clementine and tossed it to them.

I caught a cab not far from there.  It was cracked and rattling, and went the wrong way once, but got me home for 4 lari.

I wish I had some more clementines at the moment, but I know I can buy some more tomorrow for a lari a kilo, so its ok.



P.S. looking over this I realized that I did not include some of the best stories I heard this evening, involving this character named E.J.   Its probably better that I didn’t.  But I can tell you if you ask.


Written by bensweeney

November 13, 2009 at 9:27 pm

Posted in update

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