Sometimes you learn new Georgian words from a street sign, a menu or in conversation. Other times you look them up. Such as “shetsdoma” (შეცდომა), which means “mistake.”

It’s a good word to learn when you’ve locked yourself out of your apartment and have to call your landlord, who then drives three hours one way to let you in and explain – again – how to properly operate the multiple doors and locks for which there are a full ring of keys.

Luckily, our landlord is a friend, and also one of the nicest men in Georgia.

It was an honest mistake to close the inner of two solid metal doors behind us as we met and talked with our neighbor for the first time, mindlessly pulling on the doorknob while putting our complete concentration into communication.

It’s a good example of the effort it sometimes takes to do simple things while traveling or living abroad. This isn’t unique to Georgia or to us, I’m certain. But simple things aren’t always… well, simple.

Like knowing which minibus (marshrutka) to hop on as you try to read the signs in the window:


Or which button to push to get to your floor on the elevator:

Or understanding why the bus zoomed past you while you were standing at the bus stop:


Dozens of things happen every day that require attention and concentration, things that we take for granted in the States.

But that’s what makes living abroad an adventure. It’s a cycle of constant learning, continuous improvement. These experiences become badges of honor, stories of triumph over adversity. They separate the tourists from those trying to assimilate. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Which is a good thing, because I can’t.