Exterior of church under darkening sky -- outskirts of Kareli, Georgia

Mother’s Day

Yesterday evening my host mother Nana asked if I’d like to visit the church, an offer I’d had to turn down a couple times but just then found the strength to set aside my language textbook for a bit. It turned out not to be the big church in town but this sort of chapel farther to the outskirts. An old guy was there knocking down the grass and weeds with his scythe, and he unlocked the place for us, turning on the lights.

Chruch with woman and groundskeeper

Nana took two small tapers, handing one to me, and dropped what looked to be a Lari each into the sheet steel coffer. I figured I must have come to church with my host mom for Mother’s Day (the night before), so I said a prayer for my own mother Ila Wareham, lit the taper and placed it in the sand before the icon of St. George (giorgi, გირგი), patron saint of Georgia.

Icon of St. George, patron saint of Georgia, and lit candles

St. George, patron saint of Georgia

Georgian Orthodox chapel interior

We left, and after the caretaker relocked the door and went back to his grounds work under the darkening sky, we were almost immediately walking past a house from which a woman leaned out the window to chat with Nana. And they’re sisters!

Sisters Nana and Dela

Nana & Dela

So that was an occasion for a second supper and numerous opportunities to turn down (usually successfully) offers of tcha-tcha, the official homemade “white lightning” of Georgia. Having proven I’d eaten enough to feed a horse, we made our way back to the house, a pleasant evening well spent.


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