Never-ending chase!

Everything is a chase at the moment with my super active toddler! This kid just loves being nude, so actively avoids me when I’m attempting to get him dressed. Take this morning as example. He was in just a singlet & we had just struggled through the morning nappy change (oh did I mention absolutely hates having his nappy changed???) with some bribery ( ie holding the iPad while I changed him). Then he took off, and I literally chased him around the living room, ducking in and around couches, chairs, tables… It’s pretty funny actually we were both giggling.

So, caught him and popped a nappy on – we only buy the nappy pants that you pull on, it’s just too hard otherwise!! Then we were going out for a walk so told him we needed to get some jeans and a jumper on. Well that resulted in another chase, until I threatened to leave the house without him, putting my coat & boots on, opening the front door and saying “bye bye”…. That got results pretty quick (‘mama? Mama??!!”)!

We go for walks every day, more often now in the pram as we have a lift in our new building! I hadn’t really noticed the trees changing, but looked up while walking down the street yesterday and noticed green leaves sprouting and some of the blossom trees have the white blossoms blooming… It’s really quite beautiful, can’t wait for the next few months to see even more greenery!

Yesterday on our walk, we walked down to have a coffee, then further to Goodwill to pick up a few things for ‘totally-from-scratch pulled pork enchiladas’ as we had a roast pork a few nights back with a massive amount of leftovers! Popped by the park and bubba fell asleep on the walk home…. Meaning I could push the pram in the house and leave him sleep in pram while I attempted to make Tortillas! Wait for it- he slept 1.5hrs in the pram in the lounge room. What?!!!! Was so awesome.

Since this has been sitting in my drafts for 2 days I’ll now write a post with the enchilada & tortilla recipe I used!!! Was yummmmmmm

 

Paliashvili St

Paliashvili St

Coffee stop!

Coffee stop!

Flower stall along Paliashvili St- always such beautiful flowers here!

Flower stall along Paliashvili St- always such beautiful flowers here!

 

 

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Upside Down Apple Tea cake

We had some friends over on Sunday for afternoon tea & I was trying to think of something yummy yet not ridiculously unhealthy to bake…. I decided to upside down an apple tea cake! And…yummmmm! We ate almost the entire cake between the four of us adults (& the 2 toddlers assisted a bit too !)

Here is the recipe for this yummmmmm & so basic cake!

 

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Upside Down Apple Tea Cake

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored & sliced thinly

1 heaped tablespoon butter (I used margarine)

2 tablespoons sugar (*I used raw sugar, many recipes call for caster or brown for the topping but mine was great!)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake :

1/3 cup margarine (or butter)

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup self raising flour (or 1 cup plain/all purpose flour+ 2 teaspoons baking powder)* no SR flour in Tbilisi!

1/3 cup milk

 

Preheat oven to 180c (170c fan forced). Grease 20cm round cake tin- I like to do this with baking paper as it’s easier to flip out cake when cooked.

Place 1 heaped tblspn butter in pan and pop in oven until it’s almost melted. Add in 2 tblspns sugar and 1 tspn cinnamon and spread evenly over bottom of pan. Arrange slices of Apple over this mixture and pop Back in oven while you are making cake mixture.

In mixing bowl or with electric mixer, combine butter/margarine & sugar together until light. Add in egg & vanilla and beat well. Add half the flour and half the milk and beat well. Add in the remaining flour & butter.

Add the cake mixture into the pan with the apples, gently so you don’t mess up the apple arrangement!

Put in oven for 25-30 minutes, test with a skewer after 25mins, if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Take out of oven & flip over onto cooling rack or plate. When cooled you can sprinkle with a little sugar & cinnamon or just leave as is… And serve!

 

enjoy.. I’m off to attempt to make Georgian bread “khachapuri” today so keep an eye out for a post on that!

 

Georgian customs

Today I am attempting to pick up our boxes that we sent from Australia last week via Jetta excess baggage… I tried yesterday and after a couple of hours in between Customs and the Cargo terminal (which are very luckily right next door to each other…) I was told to come back today.

My friend picked Bubba and I up yesterday at 10.30 and we headed out to the airport.. We incredibly found the Cargo terminal on the first go, without any wrong turns – an AMAZING feat. I waited in line for about 10 minutes at the incoming cargo line, received my paperwork and was told to now go to Customs building to sort out the Customs clearance. There were many people in the waiting area in Customs and as I got my ticket (#44) I glanced at the screen – yep, only up to #26… and these aren’t really quick appointments!! So with Bubba already starting to get a bit antsy in the Manduca carrier, we just stood up and waited. Then, as #28 was called up, a lady gave me her #28 and said “here, I’m not using it!” What an Angel!! Pays to have Bubba with me sometimes!!
I handed the operator my paperwork, they tried to use google translate for “Unaccompanied Baggage” without success, then another lady went off into the back area with my papers and my passport…for over half an hour…. The operator kept Bubba entertained by showing him pictures of animals on her computer screen – Did I mention that they loveeee babies over here!?
I asked a few times if everything was ok, “yes fine fine”… then eventually the other lady came back and told me that actually I had to go back to the Cargo building and go to 2nd floor and get an “exportise (????or something to the sounds of this?) invoice”.

SOOOOOO off we trotted to the Cargo building and to the 2nd floor. There is a small Customs clearance office there – they informed me that yes I did need this invoice, it would take 3-4 hours and so I could pick up my cargo tomorrow. But to get such a invoice, I had to go back to the Customs office and get a letter from them saying that I needed a Exportise (??again, sorry have no idea) Invoice. AHHHH. So we went back to the Customs Building, the nice lady at the front desk must have felt sorry for me and did up this letter for me (which had to include all my Australian and Georgian addresses and phone numbers and passport information).

In this time, they were only up to #39 at Customs by the way…

So then back to the Cargo offices, up to level 2, handed in my documents and was told that I could pick up said invoice at 10am tomorrow and then deal with Customs and pick up my cargo.

What a frustrating hour and a half! But thank god for the Manduca, it was a lifesaver today!

I think this is because it’s my first time bringing anything in to Georgia, as from now on, I can just use this invoice/letter without having to go through all this to-do kerfuffle. On another note, we used Jetta excess baggage to send 8 boxes and they have given a great service from Australia- Georgia for a really good rate too!

So in any case, off to the airport in an hour, sans Bubba this time, thank goodness for the babysitter!!

I just want to unpack my nespresso and sewing machines!! 🙂 WISH ME LUCK!!!

 

Moving and Sleeping

I haven’t had time to write in the past week and a half or so as have had wayyyyy too much going on!

In the past week, we’ve moved house and had my mum visit from Australia! Just a quick visit to ‘pop over’ and give big nanna cuddles to Bubba.

Our new apartment is up on the hill with stunning views out over Tbilisi…. and a lovely walk ‘up’ the road … or a shortcut up a steeper set of stairs cut into the side of the hill!

Pretty good transition here – Bubba did had a couple of shocking nights mid-week attempting to get to sleep in his new room (as the first two nights I gave in and he slept in between with us – and I can understand it – who wouldn’t prefer to be cuddled up to mum & dad than cooped up in a cot by yourself).
When he was a newborn, we spent hours rocking him and walking around the house to the music of Bob Marley… and this week proved that Bob Marley still works even at 17 months old! Unfortunately he is loud enough to hear from the street, so I’m sure people were walking past our apartment building thinking that a child was being tortured inside…. he does have quite a set of lungs on him when cranky!

So heres how the week went: (ie. Jacki’s sleep training method. lol.)

Saturday night – slept in our bed (slept in old apartment, cot was in new apartment)

Sunday night – (mum arrived) – bubba slept in our bed (new apartment)

Monday night- (dadda away) – screamed for 15 min. Go in, cuddle, put back to bed. Bob Marley on. Scream 10 more minutes – got hysterical, so cuddled and rocked to Bob Marley til he slept. He woke at 2am, put in bed with me

Tuesday night – (dadda away) – screamed for 10 min, Go in, cuddle, back to bed. Bob Marley on. Scream 10 more minutes – cuddled and rocked to Bob Marley til sleep, put in cot. Woke at 5 am. in bed with me.

Wednesday night – (dadda away) – started screaming so put Bob Marley on iphone in room. Screamed for 5 minutes then slept by himself 🙂 woke at 7.30am

Thursday night – Put in bed and he talked to his Digger then went to sleep.

Friday night and so on – in bed and sleep.

Ahhhh the blissful sound of a baby snoring, cuddled up to his digger.

We are incredibly lucky to have an amazingly sound sleeper – right now there are workmen drilling through the front door – and have been drilling and hammering for 3 hours. In that time (while I was out getting a massage… bliss!) Bubba has put himself to sleep for dadda, and been asleep for 2 hours. What??? I couldn’t sleep through this!! The same happened yesterday as well, we had locksmiths here changing the locks and they needed to drill through the steel (? metal? i don’t know what its made of) door, right at nap time.

But then there are other times when I will tiptoe past his room and he will wake up!

And …. now I can hear “mama!… mama!”  – seems sleeping beauty has awoken…

 

 

Safe driving in Tbilisi

Anyone who has actually been to Tbilisi will laugh at the title of this post – Safe driving in Tbilisi is definitely the exception not the rule here!

We don’t have a car here at the moment, so we are relegated to catching Taxis if we need to go somewhere. In saying this, we have found a couple of regular Taxi drivers who we have on call. One speaks English well but has a old car with no seatbelts in the backseat, another has his English speaking son on speed-dial to communicate with us! I also have a couple of lovely friends who very bravely drive here – apparently if you just expect everyone else to drive badly and expect to get a few beeps here and there it’s quite easy (and helps to have a bigger car than other drivers!)

We often get taxi’s with Bubba, so he sits on our lap in the backseat, or on the seat next to me while I hold on to him. This is quite normal here even in private cars. You will more often than not see young kids standing in the back seat of the car, or looking out the back window while their parents weave in and out of traffic. Seatbelts also seem to be a very casual thing here for backseat passengers.

Today, Bubba and I were out walking, and a car drove past us – I had to do a double take, as the man driving had his young son sitting on his lap, both of them holding the steering wheel whilst driving. Wow. Hadn’t seen that before in a moving vehicle!

Many drivers also consider a red light to be a suggestion rather than a road rule. The green light turns from solid, flashes for a few seconds, then turns to the orange light, then the red light. So although drivers get more than ample notice that there is a red light coming, they seem to use that opportunity to speed up and race through the orange or red light. So, if ever crossing the road, you really need to triple check that all cars are slowing to stop at the lights – and when walking across a 3 or 4 lane road, you also need to continually check that the far lanes have stopped as you are walking across – ( or haven’t started to go again before you have crossed the whole way across!) I am particularly cautious if I have Bub in the pram in front of me!!!

Then, if the cars at the lights haven’t started to go again by the time the green light comes on (ie. if someone is waiting for pedestrians to cross the road), he will be beeped / honked at by almost every car in the line behind him. Everyone is in a rush here while driving – but never on time anywhere – Georgian’s are not known for their punctuality!!

Don’t even get me started about Zebra crossings!!! I don’t know what their intention is here, but cars definately do not think they are a suggestion to slow down and give way to pedestrians!

There was a recent article about how Georgia will need to improve their driving standards (dramatically) if /when they sign an EU Association Agreement – read it HERE.  They have a long way to go, but hopefully in the next few years, driving standards will improve and pedestrians will stop being a target every time they cross the road!

Oh… there is so many examples I could give you of bad driving in Tbilisi, and what people consider a totally acceptable street park here would give you a laugh! But I’ll leave it at that for now and go put the baby to bed. 🙂

 

Tbilisi

It was a dreary day on Sunday but we went out for some sightseeing, taking the aerial cable car (gondola) from the left bank of the river up to the Narikala fortress. Bubba loved going in the gondola, and it is so easy and cheap – can just tap your metrocard and its 1 Lari per person per journey (ie 2 Lari if you go up and back). The ride is over so quickly though!! You also have the option of walking up and down the hill, but we didn’t really feel like carrying bubba up and down a load of stairs since we didn’t take the Manduca carrier with us.

We then wandered around the Chardeni area in the Old Town, which is rife with bars, eateries and little tourist shops. This area will come alive in the summer, with the restaurants starting to uncover & set out their al-fresco areas! I’m planning on taking all my visitors here to wander the streets.

A few (not very good) pics of some of the areas – I STILL haven’t charged my camera so I’m making do with my iPhone.

A gypsy life

One thing  you can’t help but notice when walking or driving around Tbilisi, is the amount of people begging for money on the streets. Many of these are elderly or disabled people, who just sit quietly with a hand out or little cup nearby for you to drop a few coins in – and from what I’ve learned, many of the older women are widows with no children to support them, and have no other way to earn money.

Then there are the gypsies, of whom you will see the women and children on the streets, and they have a much more confronting approach to begging for money. According to some taxi drivers, some of the gypsies are from Armenia, and they come to Georgia because the Georgians are more generous. (**I don’t know if this is true, just what the taxi drivers say!!!***) For example, our taxi driver – who on a good day may earn 100 – 150 Lari (working from 9am til 10pm or midnight, living 45mins from Tbilisi and having to buy fuel as well) will keep “gypsy money” in his door pocket so that he can easily roll down the window and give a gypsy begging from car to car a few coins. When I was thinking about writing this, I had a quick google about gypsies in Tbilisi, and found a few articles  – one here which noted that because many gypsies didn’t have citizenship or any sort of identification papers (including birth certificates), they weren’t able to get any state funding here in Tbilisi, including health care, and the children aren’t able to attend school.

Therefore, they beg on the street. And it can be very confronting if you haven’t seen it before – for example, there is always the same lady in front of the Goodwill supermarket in Vake, sitting down cradling her baby daughter,  sometimes pushing the baby in your face, pleading for money. Then there is the small girl (probably around 4 years old) that lies on a blanket in the middle of the sidewalk on Rustaveli- usually asleep at any time of the day- but during the cold snap when it was minus 6 degrees during the day, she lay there with her eyes open, with a blank stare on her face.  There are often little kids running after you yelling and begging – one little girl was following me the other day, saying something over and over again to me, then started trying to grab my shopping bag while I had Bubba in the baby carrier – lucky she didn’t understand English although I’m sure she has heard worse swear words in her life.

Today, as usual, I had a few encounters with gypsys. One girl stood waiting as I got some money out of an ATM, then started at it, asking for money – I just said “ara (no)” a few times, and on my way. Walked past the little 4 year old sleeping on the ground, then Bubba and I had a lovely walk up Rustaveli and back (lovely as he was in the pram today…). Bubba was getting a bit wriggly and we still had a good half hour walk home, so as I passed a lady selling popcorn I got a small bag for 10 Tetri (less than 10c!!). And let me tell you… trying to grab popcorn out of the drink-cup section on his pram tray & shoving it in his mouth kept him entertained the whole walk home! Winner!

When we reached Rustaveli Metro station, I noticed a little girl sitting on a blanket, with a bowl next to her for money. She couldn’t have been more than 3 years old. Seriously, she did not look anywhere as old as my little nephew and he’s just turned 3. I also do not know any 2 or 3 year olds that will just sit on a blanket for hours on end and not run off and play somewhere. Her mum needs to come teach that trick to my child. Seriously. What do they put in these kid’s water bottles? In any case, she was so dirty and I felt so sorry for her being put in that situation by her parents or siblings, that I gave her the half a bag of popcorn that I still had.

And let me tell you – the look on her face MADE MY DAY.  The popcorn was just for her… and when I looked back a few seconds later, she was scoffing it down, and kicking her legs around like it was the best thing in the world. She couldn’t care less about money, but I knew that popcorn would make her day 🙂

Sorry no photos lately, my camera is dead and I keep forgetting to get the adaptor out of husband’s bag so I can charge it up (also really need it to straighten my hair, it’s so horrible…). City is so beautiful at the moment so I’ll have to take a few pics and post stat!!

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