Multi-Lingual Dormitory

The dormitory has an interesting dynamic now that it is full of Azerbaijanis, and isn’t just me and my Pakistani host brother. (Who has since moved to Tbilisi. He took off yesterday, and has been replaced by a delightful British chap whose first concern about our rooms was whether we had a kettle or not.)

The scene in the cafeteria is highly comical. I had a schedule for when the meals were to fit into my (minimal) teaching schedule, but I don’t know what the new eating times are. I try to time my meals for either just before or just after the room is packed with the Azerbaijanis, so I’m not sitting at a table full of people who can’t communicate with me.

But sometimes, it’s inevitable that I’m at the table with the Azerbaijanis, or they try to say something to me. I had asked my Pakistani host brother if he could communicate with them, figuring with the languages he knows, I’m sure one of them is related. He didn’t think he could, but then someone spoke to him in Farsi, and he realized that he could speak with them. One staff member who is teaching Georgian to the Azerbaijanis told me that she speaks German, so I have had a few conversations in German with her, and have met at least one of the students who can speak German. I was explaining how long I’d been in Kutaisi: Ich bin im Kutaisi jedno Monat. Then I realized: wait a minute, jedno isn’t German, it’s Czech! I’m confusing all the languages I have minimal knowledge of!

So at this point, there are Azerbaijanis speaking Azeri with each other, the Georgian staff speaking Georgian, my conversations in English, Pakistani host brother speaking Farsi, and then me speaking German. Five languages being spoken over our bread and soup!

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