Georgia is a part of our lives now, and I just don’t see that ever changing.
After we decided to close the food cart — but before we broke the news — I remember sitting with McKinze and a friend at the wonderful Mediterranean Exploration Company in Portland, enjoying their rich youvetsi over happy hour, mulling over The Big Question:
We already knew we were going to dive deep into the spice business and do special events. But we also thought it would be soooooooo much fun to take a big chunk of time — maybe six months?! — to go back to Georgia.
To live there. To have a Georgian apartment, in a Georgian neighborhood. To travel to all the corners of the country we never explored during our Peace Corps service.
To eat food beyond khinkali, khachapuri and pkhali. To drink wine from a qvevri and from a Fanta bottle.
To cook with accomplished Georgian chefs as well as home cooks who are just proud of what they make and happy to share.
Most of all, to learn.
I think most people who have been in the Peace Corps would say that they learned more from their host country friends & families than they ever could have taught. That’s certainly true for us. We’ve been so fortunate and are so grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to try to share just a little piece of our experience with all of you through Kargi Gogo.
Well, six months turned into three, but we’re going — Monday! As we prepare to leave, I’m reminded of a conversation we had in Tbilisi last year with the dean of San Diego State University’s Tbilisi campus. (They’re doing some amazing work bringing an American degree program to Tbilisi — check them out here.) He had only been in Georgia a short time at that point but was already in love.
He told us a story about trying to describe Georgia to his friends and family back home: “It’s hard to put into words — it just gets in you.”
Indeed it does.
We have a lot of goals for this trip, both personal and professional. But the truth is, we don’t know exactly what will unfold. That’s a little scary but a lot more exciting. Adventure. New places. New friends. New foods, new wines… definitely a lot of learning.
We appreciate you following along.
P.S. Worry not, you can still get your Georgian spices delivered while we’re gone. We’ll even be rolling out some new things over the next few weeks!