Thursday night, Tatia, Saba, and Khatuna (my host mother) left for Tbilisi, not quite sure when they would return – the predicted day was Wednesday. Before they left, we had a little supra for them, though it wasn’t much fun since they both had stomachaches and did not want to eat anything. Tatia and Saba really liked the gifts, but I felt badly about them being sick on their birthdays. Anyhow, they left shortly after the supra to go to Tbilisi – Tamuna and I rode along to the bus station with them. Thus began our long weekend without a mother in the house. (unfortunately, I have no pictures to add, since I lent my camera to Tatia to take photos and video of Saba’s karate competition)
In the morning of course, we had school, which went quite regularly. I have the first lesson on Fridays, so it was an early morning, and I was a little sleepy from staying up late the night before to take the travelers to the station. Khatuna had made quite a bit of food ahead of time that could be reheated and become easy meals for us, but I knew that it wouldn’t last for too long with 4+ men plus Tamuna and I, eating three meals per day, so after school I went to town to buy some groceries. It was somewhat tricky to think of American foods that I could make from the supplies at our market (not much, since so many ingredients that I am used to using for cooking at home are not sold in Georgia). I bought potatoes, eggs, apples, meat, tomato paste, pasta, etc., thinking I’d make hashbrown potatoes with scrambled eggs, and some sort of spaghetti with meat sauce, and who knows what else.
In any case, I didn’t need to start cooking until Saturday, which was nice. However, I still was in charge of cleaning, heating up food, making coffee and fires, taking care of Tamuna, and the like. Friday night, we had eight of us for dinner, since the neighbors came to visit, too. As I was working in the kitchen, it occurred to me that they don’t have a single potholder (or anything of the sort) so I crocheted a set for them while I was waiting for the food to heat up. This is something about Georgia that most of us foreigners notice (maybe it’s just in farm homes?), that Georgian housewives have hands of steel. They can stick them in boiling water or on searing-hot pans and not wince a bit. I, on the other hand (the one that doesn’t like to be burnt), am a wimp on so many levels, in comparison to people here. Perhaps this comes with years of burning themselves – they have lost all senses in their hands.
On Saturday morning I woke up to find everyone already up (and I didn’t wake up late, either). Anyhow, my host sister made sweet pasta for breakfast, and after I ate, I cleaned up the table. Since the food that Khatuna had left for us was practically gone, I began thinking about what I would make next. We had a chicken in the freezer, and I had potatoes: the verdict? Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. It turned out pretty well actually, and my family really liked the whole thing. There was one bite of potatoes left at the end, and a little bit of gravy. There were two or three little pieces of chicken to go with this. I was really glad about this! We also took out crazy straws to add a bit of fun to the meal, perhaps to the annoyance of the working men who were eating with us, but they were very cool about it and sipped their pepsi from their curly straws. I decided to make peanut butter cookies after dinner, which Tamuna helped me with – stirring, rolling the dough into balls, and pressing them with a fork. They turned out really well, and they certainly didn’t last long, either.
I stayed up late cleaning up after all seven of us ate dinner, took some time to talk to my mother on Skype, and went to bed. I succeeded, this time, in waking up before my family, so I made scrambled eggs and such, which they also seemed to enjoy. Tamuna and I decided to go into town, to buy groceries and to have some girl time for the day – kind of a “sisters” day. We did manicures, went to a play rehearsal, bought more groceries, at ice cream and other tasty snacks, talked to friends, and finally went home to find all of the cookies gone and that I noticed that I needed to make more food. I began the spaghetti sauce task, while roasting another chicken for lunch, and preparing dough for a pie crust. Meanwhile, the men were working and Tamuna watching TV inside. Before lunch, I managed to finish the dough, and to sautee the onions and garlic for the sauce. We had seven again for that meal, and so there were lots of dishes to be done.
After all of this, I began cutting apples for the pie, and combining ingredients for the spaghetti sauce. I finished everything just in time for dinner, which was another big turnout, of course. The pie was saved for the next day, as I had promised to bring pie to my school to share with the teachers. After I cleaned up again, I was able to go up to my room to talk to my family on Skype, and fall fast asleep. In the morning, I was woken with a surprise – the travelers had returned on the night train from Tbilisi! Thank goodness – I was pretty worn out from the weekend. I truly appreciate my host mother and all mothers (especially you, mom and grandma), and as it is that time of year, Happy early Mothers’ Day to all of you out there who are mothers!
Saba won third place in his karate competition! He did very well, but was beaten by two kids in his age group that were much larger than himself. He got a nice medal and a certificate – he was so proud. My host mother bought glasses for the first time (for reading). Tatia didn’t need new glasses according to the eye doctor, so she came back just the same.