Today was a day to restore my soul. Lika and Zhura, our driver took me out to the outskirts of Tbilisi. He has a Rav4 and is not afraid to use it as it was intended to be used- 4 wheeling in the Caucasus Mountains was a great adventure!
There is so much history out there! This is part of a church called The Cross, that was was started in the 5th century and finished the 8th. The stones were taken up the mountain by bulls. The perseverence of these people is amazing! That "machine" is a replica of how they raised some of the stones into place. On the way down we passed one of the many trees that people tie material on the limbs and make wishes. I just thanked Jesus for being so good to us.
We drove down the mountain to the original capital of Georgia. They have a church there from the 5th century, with the stone walls built around the 12th century. In this picture you can see the church we visited first, way up at the top.
This is the street we walked on to get into the church.
We stopped on the way back at a little hole in the wall so Zhura could make arrangements for our lunch. We then went to see a museum of one of their famous writers, Chavchavadze.
There is a church, built in 2004, that was built in his honor, and he was made a saint because of all he did for the Georgians. It's really quite amazing that the Georgians were forbidden to have books in their language, sing their songs, communicate in Georgian, and yet their language, their songs, and their culture endured. The sad thing about Chavchavadze is that few listened to him, so they remained under Soviet control. It's better not to talk about these things, though. As I looked at the paintings, I thought about the different artists we studied this year. There is a special way to paint Georgian saints. Wish I had a better pictured, but it is banned/forbidden to take pictures. I did sneak this one from the door. Really like all the colors and patterns! They're still working on the paintings.
We got to visit his house and learn much more about him. Very interesting, I'm really glad we went. These sweet people paid so we could have a guide so I could understand what it was all about!
Back to this hole in the wall. Zhura wanted me to have something better than lobiani, so he arranged this. On the other side of this driveway, was a building with 5 or 6 doors, and one of them was for us. (The picture shows the side that had all the individual buildings) We opened it to find a nicely air conditioned room just large enough to hold a table for six. On this table was something I wasn't sure I was ready to eat, which actually turned out to be mushrooms that were very tasty, 2 whole trout, and Georgian bread. They are too poor to chemically alter their food, and the trout is from the river not too far from the restaurant. The bread is made by placing dough on the walls of a pit in the ground that has coal burning. All of this was on really pretty china. And is just kept coming. A salad with onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, jalapenos, and herbs (all from a farm nearby,) followed by a meat dish that looks like sausage, but doesn't have a casing, has some kind of chili powder on it, and it was very good, too. A special khachapuri with cheese inside and out, fried potatoes, and kinkali, which I managed to eat Georgian style- only spilling 5 drops of juice! It was truly a feast Buddy is disappointed to have missed. We had so much food left over, I was sad to think it would be thrown away. However, they don't do take out. Now for the really sweet part- Zhura said the Georgian tradition is that when a man is with 2 women, he takes care of everything. I think he made that up, but it was very kind.
We met the Hauflers for a while at good old #19 for some time to catch up on what's going on with their little one. They've got some really great help and were treated much better today. thank God for favor! While there, I was mentioning the woes of my cameras- my cell phone battery was dead, my video camera's batteries had died and I'd sent the new ones home with Buddy, my regular camera battery was dead and I'd left the charger home. Wouldn't you know it, the Haufler's translator, Ani, happens to have a camera with the same battery! She took mine home to charge overnight! Just another example of God's faithfulness.
Off to visit Hannah. She and Nika were sitting inside after having a bath. They stay out of the a/c after baths so they don't get sick, I think. Anyway, Hannah was content playing, so I got some more snuggle time with Nika. What a very sweet boy! By the way, Alysha, he is able to stand leaning back on the couch. So, he bears weight and just needs more therapy to help develope his legs. We did have a fun game going. I would put a car on the table and he'd make it fall. Over and over!
Hannah finally decided she wanted to be on my lap. BUT she didn't want me to put the crayons anywhere but the cup. And she didn't want Lika to even hold a crayon. We'll work on that. She'd get down to do something, then come back to climb on my lap. Irma told her I was going to take her with me to America where she'd have a mom and dad, sister, and brothers. She said, "of course!" They are doing a great job preparing her. She even told Hannah that if she needed anything, she should ask me. It is a little confusing, since she calls us both "Da dah." Today was an especially difficult day for Irma, so I was grateful we could visit this evening. When it was time to go, Hannah gave me a kiss, and we were on our way.
Home again for a family phone call, blogging at night, which I haven't done, a chat with my mom, and now I can go to bed.
Looking forward to another great day tomorrow. I'm encouraged to hear all those praying for us, believing that God is faithful and will turn things around for us quickly.
P.S. I keep forgetting to mention that I'd really like to learn Georgian- they have no capitals, no cursive, no phonics rules, just spell it like it sounds. There are some grammer issues to overcome, but for teaching handwriting and spelling, it would be FABULOUS!
I may have mentioned this before, but Bae bo (grandmother) keeps telling Hannah- when to go to America, you need to obey your mom and dad, they will take care of you, etc. So sweet.
Ok, now off to bed. At least I won't be so rushed getting ready in the morning.
And cheers for the Urbans who had court, completed their adoption, and are a good portion of the way home!