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!

 

 

Customs part Deux

Get ready to feel frustrated reading this!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday – I was heading off to customs / cargo terminal for the 2nd day in a row to hopefully, fingers crossed, pick up my boxes that had been sent from Australia via a Door to Airport service. I’ve picked up things from customs in other countries before so was expecting it to be an easy enough task…

Day 2, Tuesday: My lovely friend picked me up, this time bringing her iPad with books and magazines loaded on it in preparation… Thank goodness Bubba was home with the babysitter today!

Arrived at Lasare Cargo terminal at 10.45, as had been informed to come back to the specific office (Customs Clearance office on Lvl2) anytime after 10am to collect my paperwork. Weeelll it must’ve been coffee or smoko time, as there was not a soul in the office. A lady & man were chatting outside the office and just glanced at us as we looked around for someone, then stood in the office waiting. Then they walked inside and sat down and ignored us! Then another girl came in and sat at her desk and ignored us as well, so I asked her about my documents, which she then got up and found buried in a pile of folders. Ok! Step 1, Done… off to the Customs offices! I glanced at the few papers and there was a detailed list of our belongings on it (all in Georgian but my Janome sewing machine was listed in English so that clued me in) – and they had ‘valued’ everything somehow as well…

At Customs, I took a number and it thankfully was a lot quieter than the day before – was at the same operator (as the previous day) within a few minutes.  She then proceeded to open an excel spreadsheet and copy the list of items (and values) into excel…. then working between 3 different spreadsheets, had to find a specific code for each item on the list and enter that in as a new column. Obviously all in Georgian so I watched with fascination, but guessed a few… ie: “metalicus carco” – was guessing that was Bubba’s metal ride on car he got for his birthday…
Anyway… so this took quite a while. After she found all the different codes for every item in our baggage, then moved onto the Customs system and had to enter all our details and all the codes in to this system (along with the values for each item). This was with a few breaks to go out the back and ask a few questions, talk on the phone, check facebook .. etc etc.
Finallyyyyy this was all done (after 1.5hrs), she printed out documents, I signed a few things, then was directed to go to the little bank teller, pay him the customs charges (which included 300 GEL just for their service fee!?), wait 10 minutes while he inputted that data into his bank computer…. sign 4 sets of the same paperwork (3 of my signatures on each page?)…. then back again to the customs lady’s desk.
Back at the customs desk she then entered something (I’m guessing) to say I’d paid the charges, gave me documents to release my boxes, and DONE with customs after almost 2 hours.

So happy as larry, (and soooo over it…) off we trotted to the Cargo building again. Gave in my paperwork to the Incoming Cargo desk,  then had to go to their cash desk to pay the Lasare Cargo charges (as they’d stored my cargo for 2 days – which I did know about in advance!) then back to the Incoming Cargo desk to give the stamped (PAID!) paper, and after this, she told me to go to the dock with car so we could FINALLY pick up our boxes!
So easiest part of the day was getting boxes loaded into the car (all ripped and taped back up from their very thorough search!) and driving off home.

Honestly. What an experience. I recommend a door to door service or sending someone who you don’t like very much to go pick up your cargo from Tbilisi Customs.

But….. now we have our nespresso machine, I have my sewing machines and Bubba has all his toys! He won’t let his toy mower out of his sight 🙂

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…

 

 

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!!

x

The elusive highchair

When moving to a place such as Tbilisi, it really makes you cherish things that you take for granted in Australia.

When wandering down to your local cafe in Australia, you really just take for granted, and assume (usually rightly so) that they will have a highchair or two ready for you. Definately at shopping centres and any of the suburban cafes/restaurants. Possibly not in a busy mid-city cafe, or a fancy-pants restaurant (but really, if I’ve got a baby old enough to be in a high chair, even this clingy mama would be leaving my baby at home for that occasion…).

Finding a highchair in a cafe over here is like searching for a hidden treasure. At the music class we attend on a Friday, I sat around with the other ex-pat mums and had a discussion on which few cafes & restaurants in town were owners of such a treasure. I actually went to a cafe the other day on the sole basis that I saw a highchair through the window whilst walking past. It could have served me a weak, lukewarm disgusting coffee and it would have tasted like a million dollars because my never-stops-moving toddler sat still – IN THE ONE PLACE – and ate his bread roll QUIETLY. AHHHH-MAZZZINNNNGGG! This was the FIRST time that this has happened (in a cafe..) since we have been in Tbilisi.

Usually what happens at a coffee shop: Me trying to get toddler to sit still on chair, then chasing said toddler around cafe, attempting to stop him from going behind the counter, gulping down my Americano coffee while he spills croissant and milk everywhere. It’s not relaxing. At all. It’s just a coffee fix. And the croissant or bread roll is the bribe to try and get him to sit still long enough for me to drink coffee.

Funny story.. A few weeks ago, I told my husband I was exhausted as I don’t get a single chance during the day to just relax. He says to me – ‘but didn’t you go for coffee today? That’s relaxing.’ He got a massive death stare, ‘THAT? That is not relaxing, that was getting coffee’.  So last Saturday, Dadda and Bubba went out for their usual Saturday morning boys time,  and I went for a walk by myself. I met up with them a bit later, and I asked how their morning was. They had been to Entree cafe, and my husband said to me with this horrified look: ‘I didn’t even get a chance to finish my coffee!’. I just smiled and said ‘So not so relaxing then is it?’.

I digress…

We also went out to dinner on Saturday night – I called two restaurants that I had been informed had highchairs. Number 1 (Thai place) didn’t have one (and realistically, the bubba wouldn’t have eaten any thai food…).Number 2… Winner! Success! “Special chair for Baby” booked (and really hoping it was a highchair..), we were on our way! Such a lovely peaceful meal – the place Pomodorissimo is on Chavchavadze Ave and serves Italian food. It also has a non-smoking area, which is not standard over here, and had a TV with Animal Planet channel on. What could be more perfect to entertain an Animal-loving toddler! We had THE most peaceful and lovely meal out, (ie. that I didn’t have to cook). I didn’t even care that all Bubba ate was french fries, juice and ice-cream, while we had Risotto, grilled vegies, Pizza and beer. It was a special night out!

So things are looking up, highchair wise. Funny thing about the cafe I previously mentioned, and the restaurant we went to – they are next door to each other, and the restaurant actually just borrows the highchair at night time.. Seriously, they need an IKEA or Aldi here, thats all the cafes in Aus use!! 🙂

EDIT: SERIOUSLY!! ???? One week on, the cafe I mentioned is now under construction and I have no idea when or if it will open again. Urgghhhh hunt back on.

Crochet Owl & Puppy Hats

I’m feeling very chuffed with myself as I have completed my very first crochet project! No…. its not my throw… still going on that one!

I’ve found a wonderful blog/website Repeat Crafter Me, and the lady has her patterns listed for free! So off I set to create the “Crochet Owl Hat” for Bubba but unfortunately I didn’t copy the directions to the letter and it ended up a bit short and wide… it still fits him its just a little big and doesn’t cover the back of his neck. The eyes are a little crazy looking too…

Crochet Owl Hat

Crochet Owl Hat

So, determined to get it right, I attempted the “Crochet Puppy Hat” off this same website (www.repeatcrafterme.com) , although I made some amendments – I didn’t do as many ‘expanding’ circles, and also did an extra row of Single Crochets at the back of the hat, as I prefer his hats to fit snugly and cover the back of his neck for warmth. I just need to go get a couple of buttons and some brown wool to complete the face of Puppy 🙂

 PUPPY DOG HAT

Puppy Dog Hat

Puppy Dog Hat

I used a 5.5mm hook, and worsted weight (10ply) wool (50% wool/50% acrylic).

I had never done a Magic Ring before, and used the below tutorials (during which I got very frustrated and ate a whole block of chocolate, but finally got it!)

Magic Ring Tutorials: HERE and HERE

** I wanted an extra row around the back of the hat, so when I got to the end of Round 12, I turned , Chain 1, then SC 30 stitches, then turned again, CH 1, and started my first ear flap (starting the decreases on this row). You can check this for yourself by folding the hat in half and making note on the other side where your 2nd ear flap would go and SC until you reach there. You can see in this (very badly taken) picture that it goes down the back of Bubba’s neck a little bit more.

Bubba in Puppy Hat

Bubba in Puppy Hat

Its such an easy project once you get the hang of it – I completed Bubba’s Puppy hat in a couple of hours yesterday!

Ok, now everyone knows what they are getting for presents this year!! Lucky its winter in a couple of months in Aus, plenty of time for me to get started, and plenty more projects to try off of Repeat Crafter Me’s website!

Still pretty cold here, so off to make a nice hot apple crumble for dessert! Yumm!