It hardly seems possible that we are finishing our 7th month in Georgia.  But it is true.  It is also hard to believe that we just celebrated our first PC Thanksgiving…in fact, we had 2 celebrations:  one with all the volunteers gathered in Bazaleti and another with a few PC friends here in Batumi.  Our 1st celebration was with over 100 people at a conference center where we were also joined by the ambassador and his wife after a week of language, safety updates, general sharing of al kinds, and choosing of new committee members.  We had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, beans, gravy, rolls, pumpkin pie, apple crisp and other goodies!  There was also sufficient wine of all varieties ….enough to satisfy everyone.  Can you imagine the clean up?

The Ambassador and his wife serving the volunteers.

A good feast was had by all.


Everyone ready to enjoy full plates of food.

On Turkey Day, we gathered in Batumi with 4 other PC friends and repeated the process.  Only this time, more intimate conversation and less noise.  BUT…the same amount of wine.  (In case you aren’t aware, wine flows freely  in Georgia.  Both store-bought and homemade.)  We ended our smaller meal with a freshly baked apple crisp from my mother’s recipe!  It was yummy!

Amy, Adam, Tami and Richard filling their plates.

Suzanne preparing her apple crisp.

This year we gave thanks for so very many blessing.  Not only all of you who are so generous in reading this blog but for our many new friends, our good health so far and for the family with whom we live.

Winter is coming.  The petchi stove is in the house and working its magic.  However, that magic doesn’t come all the way up to our second floor room.  So, our small electric heater is now doing its best to take the chill off our living space.  From all reports this is a much milder late Autumn than last year.  We understand from many that this time last year there was much snow and extremely cold weather with no sun for many days at a time.

The very best news for us is that we have attained the language level that the PC requires and are free to stop our tutoring.  We will not, however, as we both want to achieve a greater vocabulary and fluency.  So we will continue with a tutor but in a much more relaxed atmosphere and after some time off.

School is getting better but is still a challenge for Suzanne.   In another week, Suzanne will be attending a 3 day workshop on Project Design and Management which will give the skills to write a grant to help fund a project that the school needs.  Tom’s work is developing as he finds his niche with his organization.  He has completed the 1st half of a Capacity Assessment of the organization which will help him develop much-needed trainings.  We both have English Clubs at our work sites.

Among the many fruit trees surrounding our neighborhood are the Mandarin trees. They are ripening now and today we went to watch Meri (host Mom) gathering the harvest.  Their family has quite a lot of trees but they are plentiful throughout the area.  All the children are bringing to school.  We also had a taste of an orange pulled right from the tree which was sweet and juicy with no seeds.  Amazing.

Meri clipping Mandarins from the tree.

Tom and Meri picking fresh Mandarins.

What delicious fruit.

A bountiful harvest, and this is only the beginning.

We close with some pictures of recent days  you might enjoy.  We love hearing your comments and your emails about what is happening in your busy lives.

Enjoying a cup of American style coffee at a McDonalds in Tbilisi.

Lighting a candle in a 7th century Georgian church.

Suzanne enjoys a chat with the Ambassador and our Country Director.

A Tbilisi landmark in lights at night.

All 81 Peace Corps Volunteers in the country of Georgia!

Blessed Advent season to all!

Categories: Uncategorized | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “THANKSGIVING

  1. Sarah & Kelz

    Thanks so much for the update. It sounds like you have had some good Thanksgiving immersion. The Mandarin oranges look especially yummy to me, with all of my citrus interests here. How lovely to have NO SEEDS!.

    We cooked a turkey yesterday to bring to our parish’s first Thanksgiving dinner, designed to be for people who have no local family….so being a “parish family”. It was spectacularly done. So many volunteers and contributors. Each table had a host/hostess who supplied the entire table setting, so everyone had china and silver and a lovely centerpiece. They even had a bag of games we could have played, but we kept up a good conversation all the way through.

    Earlier today we played pickleball….a little cold at first, but then fine. Great fun.

    Tonight we will be seeing a regional production of ANNIE and we are really looking forward to it.

    In 3 weeks we will head to NY, where Matt & fam are also going. We will rent our little house and they will be staying with Becky & fam. The cousins will be having a blast, I’m sure. There will be a lot of us, but Becky’s take on it is, “We’ll get used to it.” I’m planning to basically be the sou chef and help Becky and Shelley make whatever they want. Maybe Kelz & I will make a lasagne or buy pizza or something.
    We will be together for almost 3 weeks. What a blessing.

    How wonderful that you don’t have to face the Christmas frenzy that is the USA at this time of the year. I remember how nice it was when we went to Brazil for three weeks in December. No real hype at all. They way it SHOULD BE. Sigh.

    Love you guys! Thanks for sharing your experience.

    Sarah & Kelz

  2. Wanda Dunphy

    Hello to both of you!! So glad you were able to carry on with our American practice of Thanksgiving. Sue, you look like you have lost weight. Are you doing this on purpose or are they working you so hard that you are just losing? Anyway continued good luck to both of you and congratulations on your language accomplishments. Did you hear about Hurricane Sandy and the devastation that was caused along the Jersey shore and up into New York. Can you belive the NY subways were flooded and people all along the hurricane’s path were without electricity for days on end. Even in my neighborhood the lights were out for days. Chris’ house in Brigantine sustained first floor damage.

  3. Hazel Kutac

    Loved the Rohr book. Those are my values totally. Thanks for the recommendation. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving celebration. We are very glad the election is over and happy that Obama won. Lots of conservative friends not so happy. This is the first Thanksgiving we have spent in White Rock for a long time. Chris and Josie and Nicholas went to San Francisco where Nicholas’ partner is living. Jennifer is in NY going for MS where her boyfriend lives. We had our dear friends (Naivars) over. She has her bad cancer back and is on chemo. We are so torn about this but hope God gives her another 13 years as last time. We have had a very warm autumn, too. Can’t believe you have mandarin oranges by the boxfull. I love those. Wishing you both a Happy Holiday season. Hazel and Ken

    • Marcella Marie Missar

      ML and I LOVE everything you write about and the photos!
      I am so happy for you that you had such a ful-filling Thanksgiving day!ML and I went to media and celebrated with three of our Sisters up ther. I brought the pumpkin and apple pies(Sue Spencer’s apple recipe!)Today ,ML got a new Toyota Corolla. Her first new car; she has had deceased Sisters hand-me-downs for years.Color: Sand beach…she’ll always have the beach with her,she says. We are keeping up with our aging /doctor appts.etc/ heard about Sidney from your sister, Mary. she said that Terry was the “biggest” kid of them all. I love your candle lighting in the 7th c church!!!!!Love,
      Aunt Marcie and ML

  4. Jean and Brian

    Great pictures of your celebration…I remember Peter loved Thanksgiving in the PC…it is an American tradition for sure. You seem to have had a lot of time with the ambassador..he and his wife seem to be taking a real hands on role in Georgia. That is wonderful.

    Sounds like you are getting ready for winter… as are we but I will be more thankful for central heat that’s for sure. Love your pictures of the oranges–they remind me of Arizona… they look yummy.

    All the best… we think of you often.
    Jean and Brian

  5. Lori Kinney

    Holiday blessings upon the two of you and upon all of the friends you have made in Georgia. You are truly doing God’s work! We pray for you each Sunday at mass at the St. John Regis chapel on the Regis University campus. Stay warm:)

  6. Robin Barnhart

    First visit to your blog, glad to hear you’re doing well. As I recall from my days in Frasier CO although it’s hard to get out of bed in the cold, things move quickly once you do.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  7. Helen Marie Hurt

    Ok, so I have your Christmas letter here but no place to send it! Would you believe that I actually got it ready before January 15?! So glad that you could celebrate Thanksgiving and share your apple crisp recipe. I love telling everyone where my friends are and how proud of them I am. I seem to have more friends around the world. Gabe Huck and his wife just returned from 7 years in Damascus founding and running The Iraqi Student Project. I saw him at Loretto Heights Sunday night and told him all about you. So I send his compliments to you for what you are doing. His daughter, Sarah, lives in Aurora. Such a small world becoming smaller. Many wishes and blessings for a sweet Advent season for you both. I look forward to hearing about Advent and Christmas and New Year customs and celebrations in Georgia. God bless and continued prayers. Love – hm

  8. Margie

    Merry Christmas to you! I’m so glad to hear that things are going good for you. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving – one here with the kids here and than I went to Ouray for 10 days. Sounds like your Thanksgiving was pretty good too! Christmas will not be so good – lonely and lots of memories. Had MJ last week and there was actually 6 of us – that was a surprise. Suppose to get snow this week. Think about you a lot and continue to pray. Thanks so much for the B Card – that was really cute.

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