Thursday, May 08, 2008


By the Georgian calendar, Easter was a few weeks ago. People greet one another by saying “Christ is risen” and reply by saying “It is true.”

In my village, the tradition is to head to the graveyard on Easter, gather with friends and family, and toast to your departed relatives and neighbors. People wander the graveyard, dropping by to visit other graves and toast to those they knew. By the time you turn 60 (like my host father) you tend to have known a lot of people who have died and it takes a lot of wine to toast them all. After numerous toasts the graveyard becomes to difficult to navigate through.

Prior to Easter, many Georgians fasted (no meat or dairy) for 40+ days. So this day is also a celebration of all the foods they missed, as you can see from my host mother relishing her piece of khatchapuri (cheese bread).


A lot of you are probably wondering, “Ryan, you’re a poorly dressed bald guy with limited earning potential and a penchant for tacky art and a shabby collection of kitchen magnets. So how is it you convinced Paige to marry you?”

I’m glad you asked. Marriage is not something to be taken lightly. It takes a lot of thought. For instance, one has to decide if the woman sitting beside him is truly the person he wants to wake him up in the middle of the night for the rest of his life to tell him to stop snoring? Is she uniquely qualified to balance the checking account? Can she do my taxes? Those are all important things to consider.

But so is the issue of children. That’s why before we became engaged, we went out and rented this “starter family.” For the low rate of $10 a day, you can test out your parenting skills with these adorable rental children. Paige proved a capable of diaper changer and was able to distract them with key chains when they started to cry. She's quite a catch.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Cultural Exchange Continues

They say that breakfast is the most important meal. A solid breakfast kick starts your metabolism and provides energy for your busy day. But is that still true when breakfast includes three shots of vodka?

Is homemade hooch part of this complete breakfast? It’s hard to say. Luckily, according to tradition in Guria (a region in Georgia), the limit is three shots with breakfast. After all, there’s work to be done that day.

A morning of vodka may sound odd to many of my countrymen, but it’s amazing how easily they can be convinced of the benefits.

Above, my brother questions the logic of combining vodka with his morning toast and jam.

Here Paige explains how the best part of waking up is Folgers AND vodka in your cup.

Stuart accepts this logic as Paige pours him another shot. Stuart mentally prepares his tastebuds and stomach of what's to come.

Having already embraced the vodka breakfast, my dad suddenly feels that he has another toast in him and that he would like to break the Gurian tradition and make it a 4 shot breakfast, after all, he’s on vacation and has no work to do.

And so four shots it was. As you can tell from the photo my mother is kind of laughing, but probably wondering if this is a tradition my father will be bringing back to America with him.