“Georgian people welcome a guest as an angel” – personal experience of resigned US soldier in Georgia
18 January, 2020
“Georgian people welcome a guest as an angel” – personal experience of resigned US soldier in Georgia
Georgia has become an inspiration for many people, from politicians to writers and singers. The latest, for who Georgia has tuned into country of new discoveries is a former US soldier... This is what he tells Georgian Journal.

Why Georgian Culture is distinctive?

The most important thing to remember about culture is that it can many times be subconscious. There is a famous saying that says “People often forget what you say, but people never forget the way you make
them feel.” I have encountered this in many cultures, many times since I left the United States five years ago. You can argue with what someone thinks but you can’t argue with the way a person feels. Culture can be very subjective.

When someone in the Country of Georgia teaches me cultural traditions, I remember two very important things: (1) One is that someone is sharing an intimate part of themselves, (2) the second thing I always remember is the opinion they are giving me is just one opinion. There are vast differences in Cultural opinion in Georgia depending on what region of Georgia you are in and the age of the person you are talking to. There are 17 distinct regions of Georgia: Abkhazeti, Adjara, Guria, Imereti, Kakheti, Kartili. Mingrelia, Mtianeti, Khevi, Khevi, Kheusreti, Pshavi, Antusheti. Racha, lekchumi, Samtshe, Kavakheti, Svaneti. Each region has unique cultural aspects.

Most of my friends in Georgia are younger. Younger people in Georgia are more likely to speak English. Of course this is not always the case, just a general rule of thumb. I am not fluent in Georgian and I speak even less Russian. So connecting with English speakers in Georgia is essential for my psychological health.
New Year illuminations on the Freedom Square in Tbilisi

Always remember the greatest things about Georgian culture. The Georgian people love their families and they welcome a guest as an angel. I highly recommend experiencing a long stay in the beautiful country of Georgia.

What to eat in Georgia?

The cuisine in the country of Georgia is tasty and delicious. Every region of Georgia has its own distinct style of food preparation. Eating and drinking together with friends and family is an important part of Georgian culture.

Georgia has been a country influenced by travelers that have left their mark on Georgian cuisine. Georgia was one of the countries on the silk road so the country has integrated its own cuisine with that of the foreigners passing through.

I live in the capital of Tbilisi so I will share a few encounters I have had with Georgian food.

Khinkali: Its 6 pm on a Friday night. I am at one of the premier and respected Kinkali restaurants in the city of Tbilisi called The House of Khinkali. I order 10 pieces of traditional Khinkali with a glass of red wine. Kinkali is basically a bread dough usually filled with meat although it can be filled with potatoes and other foods. The Khinkali I am having tonight is filled with meat. It is truly delicious!! Some people prefer to just take a bite of the dough and eat the meat inside but I enjoy eating the bread dough and the meat. It is not expensive and I leave the House of Khinkali feeling full and satisfied!!

Khachapuri: a traditional Georgian dish of cheese filled bread. The bread is leavened and allowed to rise and is shaped in various ways, usually with cheese in the middle and a crust which is ripped off and used to dip in the cheese. The filling contains cheese egg and other ingredients. There are several variations including open and closed Khachapuri. You might encounter some alternate names like hachapouri and xachapuri. Georgia is the birthplace of Khachapuri. It is served hot and is usually an appetizer or street food. The main ingredients are usually cheese, egg and bread.
View over river Mtkvari, Radisson Blue Iveria Hotel and Saarbrucken bridge in Tbilisi

Kebabi: various cooked meat dishes with their origins in Middle Eastern cuisine. Many variants are popular around the world. The main ingredient is meat and it is always served hot usually as the main course, sometimes with bread.

"Breakfast Surpra" - Breakfast Supra is a term I use to describe the great breakfasts that are served in the hotels of Tblisi and the hotels in the mountains of the country of Georgia. Today I am downstairs early for breakfast at the Old Hotel Rabati. The cost of breakfast is included with the price I paid for the room. I cannot believe the size of the breakfast they are giving me!! Plates of Tomato, onion and cucumber. Khachpouri, an omelette and plates with three different types of cheeses. Coffee and tea and many plates of jam and bread. It is enough food for 5 people! What a feast!!

There are many other great and delicious Georgian foods. I hope you enjoy tasting them all!!

By Kevin McGeeney

Photos by Shermazana

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