As an alien staying in Tbilisi for seven months, leaving the city wasn’t easy. Since the more I found out about you, the deeper I fell for you. Synchronically, a heartbreak song that resonated with the departure was released. So, if you don’t mind, I’d like to express my admiration for you as a character in the music video.
TEARS is a ballad from a T-pop girl group—4EVE. It’s well-produced but the visual storyline hit me hard. A girl meets a boy, and their affection grows, but he has to leave her because he isn’t from this world. Watching it multiple times, I unapologetically cried, relating myself to the departing (and good-looking) alien. I focused the first three months on resting but promised to get to know you better. Four months later, you fascinated me with your big heart and created a special spot in this freak’s heart.
What I learned about you exceeded the expectations of a guy from a faraway land: history, cultures, politics, regional relationships, aspirations, and, most of all, the people. The guide on a day tour to Lori mentioned a guest was a gift from God for Georgians. That phrase clarified my thought about your hospitality. I was offered food, drinks, joints, and many help. I couldn’t thank you enough for the incident that I fell. It popped into my head when the same guide explained the meaning of the Mother of Georgia statue holding a bowl of wine with one hand (for friends) and a sword (for enemies) with another. Such a reflection of your mentality!
Other aliens would not disagree. I met several foreigners establishing themselves with you. For instance: a barber from Ukraine, a bartender from Lebanon, a dealer from the Middle-east, an online teacher from Germany, an NGO consultant from Canada, and restauranteurs from Thailand. You gave them so many potentials and opportunities also to the people who fled the regional conflicts to you.
The pride in your history and identity was indisputable. You amazed me with how you maintained your unique winemaking, cuisine, language, and ethos. Georgian wine and chacha climbed up to one of my top lists. My favourite dish would be shkmeruli (chicken in garlic and milk sauce.) I’d love to replicate it one day. I watched two age-restricted puppet performances and wept at the end of both shows. I enjoyed decoding the Georgian script and still do.
At the same time, the city transformed. An obvious one was the revamp of Ketevan Dedofali Avenue in Isani where I stayed. Witnessing the development from road construction in September to Christmas decorations in December was awesome.
Above all, I was impressed with the two peaceful gatherings at the Parliament of Georgia. One was the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukrainian. The latter was against Foreign Agent Bills, which was eventually dropped. They demonstrated the spirits, virtues, and solidarity of the people. Some of our ideologies matched.
However, looking from an alien lens, we had some unaligned views. Although Georgian society was progressive (compared to other ex-USSR states), some areas were murky. They were addressed in the post about the first three months. I could elaborate more here. Recycling bins were uncommon. It felt uncomfortable to trash everything in one bag. Most of the local guys on Grindr were cautious. It would be fabulous if perceptions towards LGBTQ+ communities were normalised. Lastly, I needed to make extra efforts to get high because of the peculiar law on cannabis (legal to possess and consume but not for selling.) I spent too much on the substance. But that was on me too. Those issues might not be the priorities. Over time, they could be progressed.
Nonetheless, of all the cities I harboured in my first digital nomad adventure, you were my favourite. An ex-Soviet country was definitely out of my comfort zone. I learned a lot from you. You—Tbilisi—might not get as dramatic as the girl in the video when I left. But I—the alien—was the one who tried not to shed the tears. Now, in my home country, I am recalling my fondness for you in those seven months and feeling blessed I have been to you. There is still a lot more about Georgia to explore. I’d love to do that in the future. Thank you for such extraordinary and memorable experiences.