Month: December 2014

New Year’s Resolution 2015: Learn Georgian კიდე (again!)

My New Year’s resolution every year for the last five years has been to learn Georgian, and every year my progress has been woeful.

How can I make this time different?

Suggestions welcome.

What has stopped me before ?

  1. My laziness, learning a language is hard work, I like an easy life.
  2. My busy schedule…some days, I have too much to do, to fit in learning Georgian. But only some days. Khato, my wife, is far busier than me, but still finds time to fit in her prayers amidst all her tasks in the day. If I could spend the amount of time learning Georgian as she does praying I’d be making significant progress.
  3. Distractions (especially Facebook), I spend a lot of my spare time on Facebook (often uploading photos) or following obscure threads….that aren’t usually very important.

On January 1, we’re all in. I’m going to do it! A month, a week, or a day later, we’ve backed out.
Nowadays, the word “resolution” almost comes with the understanding that it will fizzle out by February. Better to re-frame the process and call it a goal.

Vague platitudes (“learn Georgian”) are less effective than specific directives (“I will do an exercise from Basic Georgian by Nana Danelia each day”).

Basic Georgian is currently what I am resting my laptop on.

I know where to find my copy of "Basic Georgian"

I know where to find my copy of “Basic Georgian”

Motivation research tells us that three things need to be present to sustain your fire over time: autonomy (you control what you do, rather than letting others dictate it); competence (you have some success the more you do it); relatedness (you share the experience with others). Which means: You can manufacture your own motivation by choosing an action that includes all three elements.

How’s this for a terrible irony: the more you want your goal, the less you’re likely to plan for it, according to a forthcoming paper in the journal Behavioral Science and Policy, that’s because we tend to think good intentions are enough, but an actual plan prevents procrastination. People with plans stick to their goals way more often than those who wing it.

A review of my 2014

2014 is only the second year of my life, when I didn’t spend any time in England (the first was 1998, the worst year of my life, which I spent entirely in Wales).

We only left Georgia once in 2014, way back in January, to visit Ephesus. If you like ruined cities, Ephesus is a must. We spent a week in the area.

Ephesus 093In 2014, I finished teaching at the French School and started working at Opiza school, time will tell if this was a wise decision. I also teach private individuals.

This is me teaching.

This is me teaching.

2014 wasn’t a particularly exceptional year. I turned 50 (as I grow older the years seem to pass more quickly). In the late Summer we visited Qobuleti on the Black Sea coast, for a beach holiday…if it rains in Qobuleti there isn’t much to do (luckily it only rained on one day of our stay).

When it rains in Kobuleti options are severly limited.

When it rains in Kobuleti options are severly limited.

We have a new grandchild, Lazare, born on 1st August. Our oldest grandchild, Ana, started school in September, she still likes it (wonder how long that will last).

Ana ready for school

Ana ready for school

As the time I spent on the metro increased, so did my reading. 29 books read in 2013 and 47 books read in 2014. Highlights included “Cathedral of the Sea” by Ildefonso FalconesIstanbul by Orhan Pamuk and “Dumb Witness” by Agatha Christie.

I took thousands of photos, sharing some on this blog and many more on Facebook.

I added around 240 model cars to my diecast collection and wrote about this in my diecast blog.

Three Corgi Cars from my collection.

Three Corgi Cars from my collection.

My Georgian Language skills made some slow progress, but I really need to resolve once again to learn Georgian seriously and consistently.

I posted 266 posts to this blog in 2014, regularly rising to the Weekly Photo Challenge, reviewing the books I have read, sharing my thoughts on the life of a foreigner in Tbilisi and generally writing about what interested me and I hope may have interested you, too.

I wish you all a Happy New year 2015.

Santas cycling.

Santas cycling.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Yellow (II)

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Yellow.”

Some more images on the “yellow” theme. Yellow is the colour of the buses in Tbilisi. Yellow is the colour of sunlight, here both are captured in the picture.

yellow bus, yellow light

yellow bus, yellow light

Yellow Moskvitch

Yellow Moskvitch

Yellow cars are less common these days because many of the yellow paints used lead, which is harmful.

 

Women's Day...selling daffodils at the station.

Women’s Day…selling daffodils at the station.

My Daily Routine

I don’t like working 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. I have done so in the past, for example, when I worked as a Data Processing Trainee for Kapiti Limited. Then, I just longed for the weekends, which were always too short, I quit after six months. Now I work on six days, Monday to Saturday, but the hours I work each day varies.

My Timetable

My Timetable

I am an English teacher, teaching English as a foreign language,  I teach a mix of students in school and privately, children and adults. I have around 30 lessons on my timetable but don’t teach that many. Although I prefer teaching adult students, as they have more life experience, which I find more interesting, they are often unable to make the lessons, children’s lessons are more reliable.

The day usually begins with Khato, my wonderful wife,  getting up early (6.30 or 6.45) for prayers and preparing breakfast. I get up about an hour later as does Ana, our grand daughter. Khato puts on cartoons for Ana…Korean cartoons in Russian…I don’t know what they are about, some strange creatures who can fly,  but they have a very earwormy jingle. I will put on the computer to check Facebook and WordPress.

Khato gets Ana ready for school while Ana watches cartoons.

Khato gets Ana ready for school while Ana watches cartoons.

Breakfast is usually porridge (good for keeping my cholesterol down) and bread with some spread (jam or peanut butter). After ablutions and packing my “school” bag, I will walk to school (where I teach on Monday and Wednesday) or to the metro to go to my first lesson.

This is me teaching.

This is me teaching.

The school is just ten minutes walk, but my private students in other parts of the city are usually an hour to an hour and a half away (by walking, metro and buses). The metro station is 15 minutes walk. I don’t mind walking, I try to walk at least an hour a day, walking in the day helps me sleep at night, think creatively and I also have the opportunity to take photos en route. I almost always have my camera attached to my belt. It is a compact not a DSLR but it is quite sophisticated (Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ40).  I take photos of a range of subjects: cars, skies, street life, anything which interests me…

The metro is often crowded but I use the time to read. Since taking the metro regularly my reading has increased from two to six books a month, I do most of my reading on the metro, sometimes it can be a danger, if I have a really good book, I might miss my stop.

metro platform, converging lines

metro platform, converging lines

Buses are even more crowded and reading is more difficult (also after dark the lighting isn’t good enough). My lessons take me to different parts of Tbilisi, and I usually allow an hour between each lesson for travelling.

crowded bus

crowded bus

I may come home for lunch, heating up soup from the previous day, Khato makes a delicious vegetable borscht. At home I will drink tea regularly (the coffee for breakfast may be my only coffee in the day, too much coffee and I don’t sleep well).
A lot of my free time is taken up with Facebook, downloading, uploading and editing photos and preparing these blog posts. I also collect diecast cars and make detours on my trips around the city to markets (especially Drybridge Market and Vagzlis Basroba), toy shops and supermarkets, searching for new models. This month I have acquired 18 models already (today is 20th December).

Diecast Acquisitions December 2014

With all the travelling and lessons in the evening my day can finish quite late. On Monday and Friday, I get home around 10.30pm. I will eat, relax and go to bed around midnight. Sunday is kept free from work. I may go to church at 4pm. On the first Wednesday of each month I meet with fellow bibliophiles at Cafe Gallery for Tbilisi English Book Swap, an opportunity to meet and swap books in English.

Tbilisi English Book Swap

Tbilisi English Book Swap

On Tuesdays, I have a large gap in the middle of the day and I will take Ana to the library, so we can both stock up on books.

That folks is my daily routine, my life in a nutshell.

Does Your Mind Wander? Here’s Why That Can Be Your Greatest Asset

I have a wandering mind. I find when I walk, my mind wanders and I get most of my blog ideas from my walks. Here is a Time post about wandering minds.

TIME

Wandering minds are associated with creativity. Popular wisdom tells you to live in the moment.

Huh?

So is it better to be unfocused or focused?

Let’s look at the research.

The Upside of Mind Wandering

You spend up to 8 minutes of every hour daydreaming. Your mind will probably wander for 13% of the time it takes you to read this post. Some of us spend 30-40% of our time daydreaming.

Via The Science of Sin: The Psychology of the Seven Deadlies (and Why They Are So Good For You):

Do you remember what the previous paragraph was about? It’s OK, I’m not offended. Chances are that your mind will wander for up to eight minutes for every hour that you spend reading this book. About 13 percent of the time that people spend reading is spent not reading, but daydreaming or mind-wandering. But reading, by comparison to other…

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Soviet Cars

Ladas were the butt of many jokes, when they were imported to Britain in the seventies and eighties. Most disappeared from UK roads after the Soviet break up, as Russians and others from the former Soviet Union were intent on buying them up.

What do you call a convertible Lada with twin exhausts?

A wheelbarrow

In the early seventies my father had a Moskvitch 427 for a year, he exchanged it shortly after the rear passenger door came open as we were travelling along…we almost lost my sister…but she clung to the back of the front seat for sufficient time to allow my father to stop. I don’t have a photo of his Moskvitch, which was a tan coloured estate with a vinyl roof.

Rusty but running Moskvitch 427

Rusty but running Moskvitch 427

Moving to Tbilisi, I regularly see Ladas and Volgas and less commonly Izh, Moskvitches, Zils and Zaporozhets.

GAZ Chaila M14

GAZ Chaika M14

This Chaika was parked near us for months and then one day it disappeared never to return.

ZIL

ZIL114

GAZ 69

GAZ 69

Lada with Armenian plates

Lada with Armenian plates and Ford badge in grille

Lada Estate

Lada Estate

Walking to the metro takes about 15 minutes and I see at least half a dozen Ladas. The other common Soviet car here is the Volga, these I only knew of from books in England but here they are plentiful.

GAZ Volga 24

GAZ Volga 24

AS026 (2)

GAZ Volga 21

I remember in the Observer’s Book Of Automobiles I had as a child the last car was a Ukranian built Zaporozhets 968M, which closely resembled an NSU Prinz. I had never seen one until I arrived in Georgia, it is not common here but there are a few still about.

Zaporozhets

Zaporozhets

The only Soviet cars I actually own are in 1:43 scale.

Models of cars made in USSR

Models of cars made in USSR