Yesterday morning I woke up telling myself it would be a good day. The day before I had used the bathroom in its full capacity and had succeeded. I also learned how to get rid of the mosquitoes, which were flying around my room.
I woke up thinking, “Today, I am going to learn how to use the stove.” I decided to make a fried egg with basil for breakfast. The first step was to find the basil.
During my tour of the house, my host sister explained the layout of the garden. When we passed the basil, I remember noting its red/purple qualities which differed from the basil at home.
I got dressed and walked down stairs, through the archway to the garden. My plan was to pick the leaves I thought looked like basil, smell them, and continue until I found it.
That morning, the grandmother was in the garden collecting apples. I contorted my mouth in the hopes of correctly pronouncing “Peaceful morning” (which sounds like Dee-la Meesh-vee-doe-be-sa ) in Georgian. She smiled and replied. It was a pleasant successful moment that I definitely reveled in, since I haven’t been able to communicate with her. But then it went all wrong.
I bent down to pick a purplely red leaf and she started speaking to me frantically in Georgian.
“Basil? I am looking for basil,” I explained pointing to the plant. I continued to make a motion to pick the leaf, but she was shouting (now, this is debatable, because Georgians speak very loudly).
My host brother quickly walked around the corner asking what was wrong. I explained that I was looking for basil. He looked at me and then at the grandmother. He told me I was trying to pick a flower leaf instead of basil. He then showed me where the basil was.
I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. From the grandmother’s point of view, I must seem like the stupid American that doesn’t know what basil is. Quite frankly, I don’t know what I would do if someone was trying to eat flower leaves. However, I must admit my moments of laughter were tinged with tears, like a surprise pity party for one. I could not even pick basil here without someone’s help? There goes my independence, which I so highly value, for a year. Mais c’est la vie, oui?
As soon as I had gathered my leaves, I scurried off to the kitchen, where my host father explained to me in English how to work the gas stove.
Compared to my TLG friends, I am very lucky to have several host family members, who speak English. I can’t imagine what stories they will have by the end of the year.