Mackenzie King is currently teaching English in Tbilisi, Georgia.
When I started looking for jobs in Tbilisi, Georgia, I was going out on a limb. I had never visited the country before and had only heard a few second-hand accounts from tourists in Moscow. But I felt ready to take a chance. I already had over nine months of Moscow under my belt, so how hard could Georgia be?
When I first arrived, I was struck by the beauty of the city. Streets lined with tall trees, shielding pedestrians from the hot summer sun, winding stairs leading to ornate balconies laced with grape vines, intricate carvings and sculptures on every wall, trees laden with pomegranates hidden in Italian courtyards, and the river carving cliffs through the center of the city.
I’ve spent the past nine months living and working in Tbilisi and I don’t regret a single moment of it. I’ve had some of the best food of my life, met some of the sweetest kindest people, and have felt right at home. Georgian hospitality is real. My first day of work, I became helplessly lost and a cleaning lady spent almost an hour with me, helping me find my way. We spoke to maybe a dozen people and a random office allowed us to use their computer to figure out the correct address. Her act of kindness went above and beyond anything I would expect. There is a sense of chaos in Tbilisi, with the crazy driving, line cutting, and terrible walkers (seriously, people in Tbilisi are bad at walking. Paul Salopek from National Geographic will explain it better than me http://outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/11/sidewalk-jungle/) But people here mean well and almost anyone will help you with just about anything you ask. Sometimes this kindness almost borders on naiveté and disarms me. But that’s just how things are here and I love it.
I’m not ready to leave this place quite yet, as there is still much of the Georgian countryside left for me to explore. Georgia is a gem, perhaps unpolished in the eyes of some, but brilliant nonetheless.