Sunday, November 22, 2009

Georgia: Sunrise, Wishes, and Supras

I ate raw pistachios as I watched the sunrise over Tbilisi, Georgia.  I was told that this building once housed Georgian refugees from the war in Abkhazia (during the 1990s) and wondered what they too thought of the view.  I am sure it was spectacular - even minus the bright light on the horizon - the Sameba (Trinity) Cathedral, which wasn't completed until 2004.

As I was sitting there, I realized something.  I may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I am very clear on who I want to be. There was some satisfaction in that, since I think it is the more important of the two.

This was reinforced to me later in the day when we went to visit the 6th century Jvari Monastery that sits at a place where the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers meet.

There was a "wishing tree" in this place where the rivers both connect and diverge.  So it seemed that many people were here before me, tying ribbons, scraps of material, and pieces of paper - along with their prayers and dreams - to the branches blowing in the wind.  Did they ask for strength to take a path-less-traveled?, health for their families?, or merely give thanks for all they had already been given?  I contemplated both their dreams and mine as I stood at the rivers' edge.

How do Georgians give thanks?  One way is through a Supra - complete with a Tamada (toastmaster).  This celebration involves eating, eating, toasting, and eating some more (and then toasting some more).  There is an art to this process, which involves a particular order (which I have not yet figured out!) for toasting one's family, friends, health, country, peace...The table is full to start the meal and the plates of food pile up one-on-top-of-the-other as the eating continues - until the entire table is teetering and beyond overflowing.

Can you imagine that I experienced not one, but TWO Supras in one day??!!!!!  (Thus my need for a three-day Juice Fast!)  It should be noted that all the food was fresh, non-processed, and healthy - oh, the difference that it makes in the taste.  (I stuck to the vegetarian options - like eggplant topped with walnut paste - so delicious!)

Dinner ended with big plates of fruit.  (See the green fruit on the right. It looked like cucumber and tasted like a candy sourball.  Made me realize that the chemical flavors we have "invented" and introduced into our diets actually come from a source in nature.  Um, why not eat the original?)

A good day, a good week, and good lessons learned.  

Georgians, I toast to you - "To your families, to your health, to your country, to peace."  While I may not have the order right, I offer you my thanks and gratitude for all your kindness.


The Robertsons of Mumbai said...

Well, now I am so jealous that you got to visit an Orthodox monastery! I'm needing me some church, stat, man! :)

I have heard of those wishing trees, but never actually seen one - the photo looks wonderful! How fun!

All that food looks good and is making me hungry!

Travel Raw said...

JMSR, Thanks! It was fun! :)

Anonymous said...

The pictures are beautiful of the rivers coming together and the wishing tree and all the dreams it must hold! Thank you for sharing.