This post will touch on a few different subjects: Georgia update, Istanbul update, and General update:
Georgia update: School ended (our) Christmas Eve. I'm glad for it. I am ready to begin anew. With all the trainings I have been to and my counterparts being busy, I haven't had time to get much done. This will be a good break for me to get my head back in the game and come up with some future goals. Now I just have to get motivated. On Christmas Eve, I hopped on a public transit to go across the country to the capital, Tbilisi. I stayed the night there, not having done much. Christmas Day I spent with volunteers in the town we had many of our trainings in, Telavi. It was a wonderful time with great food and friends. I went back to my site the next day.
Istanbul Update: It was a great city. I only took a few pictures but I'll be sure to (eventually) get those up. Most likely, I'll just steal the ones my two travel companions took and post them as my own. The food was good. Because Istanbul is pretty modern and tourist-friendly, there were some Startbucks and Pizza Huts. We took advantage of both. With Starbucks, I went 4 times in 5 days. I couldn't get enough. There were many tourists. I probably heard a dozen different languages being spoken. Many of the shopkeepers knew English (also Arabic, French, and some others) so it was easy to get around (as long as it was a tourist-area).
The plane ended up leaving an hour late. We were waiting for more passengers. I assumed they were VIPs. Since our airport was smaller and further away, it took longer than expected to get into the actual city. It was believed to have been rush hour traffic.
The hostel one of my friends and I booked was not in operation. We didn't find that out until we got to our other friend's hostel and asked for directions. The receptionist at our friend's hostel called the owner of the one we intended to stay at for directions. The owner informed us that the hostel was
closed for repairs. He said that there was no way that we could have booked with him because he stopped accepting reservations months ago. He gave us a hostel of his friend's who had an extra room. It was almost double what we originally planned on paying but us being in an unknown city 3 days before the New Year, we didn't have much of a choice. We only stayed there one night because the hostel next door had a late cancellation. We were able to save some money and the hostel was a much better choice. Once we moved to the new hostel, the rest of the trip was smooth sailing.I definitely recommend it.
General Update: I'm alive and well and going to enjoy my break. Hope all is well with you all. I miss you.