- Jack Hubbell
A Two Week Escape. Part 1
Updated: Jan 6, 2021
A two week escape. Part 1
The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways and possibly forever, However, I refuse to believe that no good can come of this. I know it’s a hard sell and the tragedy that it has brought to many families across the globe is immeasurable, but my takeaway from this has really shifted my focus of what matters in life in a positive way.
For two weeks we had a hard lockdown where there would be no travel in or out of the city (Tbilisi). I was lucky enough to be locked down in a house outside of the city limits with one of the best families you can imagine. It’s a large country house that was now a home to a larger band of unique souls. My friend Saba, his wife Doduna, their daughter Kira, his wife’s sister Nuki and their parents Shota and Lali, their daughters nanny Keti, and Mako. To be honest I’m still not sure how Mako is related to everyone.
I spent the first night in the neighboring property. Lali had purchased this to be a storefront, but wasn’t about to rent it out anytime soon; in light of the pandemic. This gave me my own place to stay, which ruled.
Robes were the style and practically the only style. From the outside one might think we were in a cult. In the morning I would walk to the house in a Kimono and find Nuki enjoying a cigarette and a cup of coffee. Breakfast would nearly be ready. Weather permitting, we would gather around the table on the back porch and dig in to the spread before us. Shota would constantly tap my arm and say to me Habi (that’s what he calls me). Eating! Habi good eating and good drinking. It’s one of those cultural things to make sure the guest is always taken care of, but it made me feel welcome and I certainly put on some weight.
There was nothing to do, and everything to do, but mostly there was the environment that allowed you to appreciate what was around you. One day after breakfast it was decided that we should start cleaning the sediment/mash out of the homemade wine, and transfer it to other containers to be turned into Chacha. Chacha, is a traditional Georgian beverage somewhat akin to moonshine, but made in a similar fashion to Greek Grappa. Gathered in a clearing next to the grape vines in the backyard, we siphoned out the wine into more permanent containers and then scrubbed out the jugs after the mash was set aside.
Shota asked me if I wanted to try it. I certainly wasn’t about to decline. He filled up a pint sized glass of white wine and handed it to me. This was a lot more of a taste than I was expecting, but as I continued to sample more wine, moving jugs around became much more fun. It was a family activity in the beautiful sunshine in a beautiful place out in the country. For the first time in a while I really remembered how to look at what was going on around me. The mountains in the background suddenly looked so much more real and inspiring. I looked down at Saba and Doduna’s 3 year old daughter; trying to help clean the jugs with a sponge someone had set down. She started to speak to me, but I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I looked at Saba.
“What’s she saying. It doesn’t sound like Georgian.” I asked as the little human kept babbling on to me.
“We don’t know either. She’s trying to speak English to you. That’s what English sounds like to her.”
I looked back down at Kira and my heart melted as she continued to try and explain to me what was going on inside her little head. I tried to think of what here memories of this time might be like when we talk about it in years to come. A fresh mind in a crazy world, exploring and testing the boundaries of her small universe. If I could only take one thing away from this COVID time, it would probably be just to try and look at life like that more.
“Drinking Habi! Drinking!”
Right on cue, Shota handed me another pint of wine.