Though I heard this statement “all life-changing things happen all of a sudden,” I didn’t believe in it until it actually happened.
I was sitting at the conference dedicated to social media marketing, writing down the main points of a speaker’s speech. As usual, at 8 pm I decided to check my email box. You can’t imagine my face as instead of irritating notifications I saw the letter from an Austrian NGO (non-governmental organization). It was written there that I was chosen as a participant in a short Erasmus+ training course in Georgia! In 2 weeks I was flying to the country of the sea, mountains and delicious food.
I took 2 additional days before the training course for exploring the capital of the country – Tbilisi and then went to the main location – Lagodekhi, a small town with a national park.
Georgia welcomed me with the sun and friendly people. And I couldn’t ask for more. Before going to the country, I reached Couchsurfing to find a host in Georgia and succeeded in 1 hour. My host was away from the city until evening this day so I have the whole day for my own.
I started the trip at the city center and downtown.
Before going there I needed to grab some food as my stomach was completely empty. I went to the local restaurant and ordered khachapuri and khinkali with cheese and cottage cheese. The waiter told me as a vegetarian, I would suffer in Georgia as it’s a country where people are big fans of meat. Spoiler: I didn’t.
After finishing my lunch, I walked through the main Tbilisi destinations and enjoyed authentic streets. Nevertheless, food in my stomach made the process of climbing to high Georgian points quite tough. 🙂
In the evening my host picked me up by his car and as an amazing tour guide made a tour around evening Tbilisi. I ended up this cool and long day in a family restaurant with a tasty dinner and good home-made wine.
During my second day in Georgia, I met the group of the fellows with whom I was supposed to spend the next 2 weeks. It was an international group with people from Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, Ukraine, Hungary, Italy, and Austria.
Our communication was usually in English but with some guys I spoke my native language Russian and practiced the second foreign language – Italian with friends from Italy.
On a bus we went from Tbilisi to Lagodekhi and had our welcome evening. The following days were full of new acquaintances, educational programs, and nature exploring. We lived on the territory of The National Lagodekhi park and every morning I used to wake with a beautiful green view.
One day we heard there was a waterfall nearby and decided to visit this place. We woke up at 5am and went hiking. As I haven’t hiked before, it was a little bit difficult in spite of the level of my physical training. 🙂
We helped each other during tough places and from my perspective made one of the best team building exercises ever!
I fell in love with the place where we lived and woke up early in the morning to walk in the forest and explore the location. Air was so good that from time to time I had a headache. During these morning walkins, various thoughts and insights were coming to my mind. Isn’t it a meditation?
During weekends we had the opportunity to explore Signagi, a town in the region of Kakheti. With a group of my close friends we went away from the city centre and were lucky to find an abandoned church and a castle with an amazing view. We climbed on a huge fence, petted cats and ate wild grapes. Such a memorable experience! Even though my stomach didn’t tell me ‘thanks’ for unwashed grapes and I spent the next several days with food poisoning. 🙂
These 2 weeks passed by super quickly and it was time to come back. Luckily, I had 2 more days in Tbilisi before returning to my home country. With the participants of the program, we walked a lot around Tbilisi and enjoyed our time and youth.
To conclude, Georgia in my heart forever. I keep in touch with the organizers of the program, participants, and my lovely host. The host who shared with me the most innermost moments of his life and who is looking forward to seeing me after lockdown.
The author of the article is Nastassia, a management student, freelancer, healthy lifestyle supporter and traveler.