For the first time I can remember, I'm not divided - not sprawling my stuff over continents. Everything that was beautiful or important to me at some point in my life is here, making up this chaotic, colorful whole - from the bedspread I had when I was thirteen and living in Paris (Indian, orange, now living on the guest bed), to the one I bought while living in Rome a year later (emerald, fraying, now covering my study chair), to the Venetian masks I made eight years ago (hanging in my bedroom), to the black-and-white photographs in my bathroom (from a Parisian coffee table book entitled "Girls") to the stuffed llama I bought in Piazza Navona shisha pipe once used in a Pirandello play I directed at Oxford. I have the boxes my mother made for me out of antique Bible pages for Christmas, and the Thai box my grandmother couldn't take with her when she moved.
I still gasp when I see Old Tbilisi from across the river, and think I live there. I still smile every time I catch a glimpse of the fortress at night. I eat a (second) dinner at my land-family's and drink tea until midnight. Soon my friend Kam (of blog fame) will be moving in next door, and then we'll transform our shared private terrace into a summer wonderland of flowers and deck-chairs!
I get a bit tetchy when people here (often expats) complain about Georgia - that it's a "backwater," "barbaric," what-have-you, that its nicer bits are filled with nouveaux riches and its less-nice bits are Soviet terrors. I saw Robert Strurua's The Tempest at the Rustaveli Theatre, and in terms of technical skill the actors/direction easily outclassed anything I've seen in England (and the Decameron came second, in recent memory, only to Al Pacino's Merchant of Venice in New York). The food here - both Georgian and haute-European - is phenomenal. There's so much here - especially in Old Tbilisi - that's affordable or free (just walk around), and I hate to think that so much of the public/expat discourse about Tbilisi is what it "needs," what it "lacks," what needs to change. Of course there are serious issues here, as in any country, but there's something dreadfully imperialist about demanding that a developing country fit the paradigm of uniformly "poor/miserable/depressed" - as if the idea that there are plenty of Georgians who don't need "saving" somehow threatens the "first-world-ness" of the expats in question. (Though most of my expat friends here are lovely and non-imperialist!)