A wonderful party!

Hispanic Group in the International Women’s Association; copyright Keith Kenney, 2011.

The Tbilisi International Women’s Association has a Hispanic group, and this group invited Susanna (and I, as her husband) to lunch today. As you can see in the photo, at least 17 women attended, as well as their husbands, and many of the couples had children. This crowd represents some of the elite of Tbilisi’s international community, including employees at the World Bank, UNESCO, an international school, and so on. The women or their husbands come from Germany, Sweden, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Spain, Belarus, and other places. The person who grilled the meat was the head chef at the Marriott Hotel.

Our upstairs neighbors were gracious to drive us to Mtskheta for the party. Although Susanna had already met some of the women, I arrived knowing no one, but left knowing everyone, or so it seems. When I go to this type of party, with people from the embassies, international NGOs, and entrepreneurs, it seems as if they have excellent social skills; they have interesting travel experiences; and they work in jobs where they can really have an impact. I find such people exhilarating. Others may moan about “small talk” and superficiality, but I think that we are all in a new place, for one to three years, and we all want to make friends, have fun, and share tips about what to see and do. I love it.

Our host’s son poses with the family’s two Caucasian Shepherd dogs; copyright Keith Kenney, 2011.

I wouldn’t want to spend allllllll of my time with the ex-pat community. It generally is a privileged group and it can be disconnected from the very people it tries to assist. I value my time and connections with Georgians equally. On a sunny, windy Saturday afternoon, with great food and wine, in a comfortable home, I enjoyed myself.

View from the deck in the backyard of our host’s home in Mtskheta; copyright Keith Kenney, 2011.

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About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

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