We talk about children
Thank you Gyorgy (Director of the Teachers Centre) for the dinner. You weren't there so we were a little less formal. We talked about our children, ate cheese, spinach, aubergine, walnuts, trout, new potatoes and fresh plum sauce (the first of the year). I drank dry white wine and ate corn bread while we discussed the post-Soviet regime, the changes and the fear on the streets as children. The scare to post on FB in case it came back at the family.
I talked about Cuba, my visits at different times ('85, 90, 05) and the changing politics, the power of culture and the changes that occurred after the soviet withdrawal. And the beauty of the people and the music. They talked about Stalin and the memory of the death of the whole intellectual class, of the gulags and the terrible memory in families. And yet the beauty of the people and the music.
Then we moved on to discuss the changes after the reforms that sadly then became corrupt.. and then again about our children - our dreams for their future. I talked about the regime in the UK, the sadness that is Brexit and the corruption that is hidden because it is just The Establishment. And how I wonder how our children will find their way.
We ate quince, dried fruit and walnuts and I learnt about the geography of the country. The mountains and ski slopes - and the snow that is so special - so pure that it is good to eat. The role that this special country plays - it could have gone either to the east or the west but centuries ago the kings and queens allied to Russia rather than the arabic islam countries.. and so Georgia became the 'plug' between the east and europe. And it has survived! (Later the next day as I talk outside the beautiful Anchiskhati Basilica with Malkadze, where he has been singing with his choir, he also shares his amazement that somehow the spiritual energy and power of the people has sustained this country).
We drink a little more and I sing my song to these two women who I know a little better. I realise that I do know Georgia because for over 15 years I have sung ' For the love of Georgia' and I like this place, I know it a little - in song and in my heart!
They liked the song - maybe I will arrange it for a choir. We drank green tea and ate the fruit. We continued to share the stories of our children - their past and our hopes for their future.
This is why I travel.