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The end of a story


Mother Georgia Monument, Tbilisi, Georgia

If you’re like me, it’s hard to come to the end of a good book, spending one’s time with characters you’ve grown to love and enjoy, navigating through the plot, wondering “what’s next?”


When I reach the last page, there’s that little pang of sorrow that the story’s over. True, there will be other stories, but the one at hand will soon fade into the past. The process starts all over again with the start of a new good book.


I guess it’s obvious where I’m going with this.


While we still have a little more paperwork and details to sort out, our two years in Georgia are drawing to a close.


We’re on this book’s final pages, sad that this point of our lives will soon be placed on the figurative shelf, excited as we reach for the next book.


During the past couple months, Corie and I have had countless meetings with attorneys, accountants, and other professionals trying to determine where our next move will be.


We had a list of countries that we could see ourselves in, each one with different long-term visa requirements.


To some of our family and friends, our plans must have felt like a real-life version of “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Portugal? Bulgaria? Spain? Vietnam? Albania? Japan?


Applying for long-term visas can feel like a game of Whac-a-Mole where you are at times the mole. While governments have a reputation for moving slow, it seems visa requirements can sometimes change much more quickly. 


This past week, we settled on a country: Romania. We’re planning to live in Constanța, a small port city on the Black Sea coast with miles of sandy beaches and a two-hour train ride to Bucharest. 


While we’re excited about what’s in store for our next adventure, and I can’t wait to wander new places with the camera, we’re sad to be leaving Georgia, a country where the beautiful landscape is only outshined by its people.


two girls sitting on stone stairs watching traffic on a busy city street
Evening on Rustaveli Square, Tbilisi, Georgia

As I write this, I’m fondly looking back at all the miles I’ve walked through Tbilisi, all the adventures Corie and I have had in wonderful places like Kazbegi, Dmanisi, and Batumi.


As with any good story, there’s been a cast of memorable characters: those we now consider friends and many chance encounters–the two teenage girls at an ice cream shop in Batumi who wanted to know everything about the U.S., the two priests in Tbilisi who plied me with more than my fair share of wine and Georgian brandy, the man on the street who was proud and excited to see me photographing the amazing plasterwork on the buildings, the three elderly women on the subway who “adopted” Corie on the ride home, and the people working in the stores on our street who have been amused (and sometimes kindly frustrated) at my attempts to speak Georgian. There have been so many others.


Yesterday, on our way to seeing our friend Nino in person for the last time in a long while, the cab driver, a stout man with a permanent smile on his round face, asked Corie and me where we were from. 


When he learned we are from the States, he proceeded to cheerfully point out the many sights along our route. Neither of us had the heart to tell him we weren't newcomers but have lived here for two years. 


It was if the universe was speaking through that cab driver, telling us, "remember this city and all the joy and growth it brought you." 


Our plane tickets are purchased, our lives are once again being shoved into six suitcases, two carry-ons and two cat carriers, but Corie and I aren’t ready to put this book on the shelf quite yet, however.


Tomorrow, we’re taking a long road trip with our new friend Giorgi to some amazing places Corie and I have been itching to see. I hope you’ll join me next week as we start the last few pages (for now) in the country we have loved more and more each day.


A carved stone fence looking over thick trees, a city, and the Black Sea
View of Batumi, Georgia from Sameba Church

Medieval stone watchtower with rugged mountains in the distance
Watchtower, Kazbegi, Georgia

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