Finally, I can divulge my plans for 2013.  I say that with joy, but also the tiniest pinch of reservation, because things can change a lot over the course of a couple weeks.  After waiting so long and working so hard to reach this point, I almost won’t believe it is real until I’m on the airplane heading to my new home.

And I am happy to say that that new home will be Tbilisi, Georgia.


The story of how it came to be this particular city would bore you.  I didn’t exactly choose Tbilisi, but I was nonetheless thrilled when the option was presented to me.  My focus was, and is, on the work that brings me there, rather than the destination itself.  I will be working in microfinance, and I have never been so excited to start a job before.

For those who don’t know much about The Republic of Georgia, don’t feel bad; I don’t either.  Over the past couple of months, I’ve been listening to Georgian music, reading books on Georgian history and culture, and ogling Georgian script.  I half expect those squiggly characters to swivel themselves off the page and start dancing around.

So, here is a crash course of basic facts about Georgia (for your benefit and mine):

  • Georgia is bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan
  • Population: approximately 4.5 million
  • Language: Georgian (though many also speak Russian)
  • Georgia’s current President (until elections in October, 2013) is Mikheil Saakashvili.  The Prime Minister (elected in October, 2012) is Bidzina Ivanishvili.
  • Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1921, and remained so until declaring independence in 1991. Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union until his death in 1953, was an ethnic Georgian.
  • After political unrest and economic crises throughout the 1990s, the Rose Revolution took place in 2003.
  • In 2008, the five-day Russo-Georgian War broke out, largely over the disputed territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
  • Georgia is known for delicious (waist-expanding) cuisine, good wine, and warm hospitality.  I’ll be happy.
  • American visitors can stay in Georgia without a visa for 360 days.  So come visit me!

This move feels more momentous than the trip to Peru that kick-started my year of volunteer work, mostly because the stakes are higher.  Yes, I am thrilled to explore a new city, make new friends, and learn a new language.  But this is also my opportunity to move the trajectory of my career into a field that I am passionate about, and I’m prepared to work my little American butt off to make sure that happens.

T-minus two weeks and counting.


  1. Oh my gosh, this is so exciting, Meg! 😀 I’ve never been to Georgia and am ashamed to say I don’t know much about it but am really looking forward to hearing all about your experiences there. 😀

  2. Caroline

    That is brilliant news! One of my best friends is from Georgia and I always love to see her photos when she comes back from a trip. It’s such a diverse country with endless facettes. I’m sure you’ll love it there! : )

  3. i’m looking forward to your posts with keen anticipation. Its a country I’d like to visit, but doubt very much that I will ever get there – my age/distance/money – the usual suspects, but looking forward to seeing it thru your eyes.

  4. Wow Meghan, a year in the Caucasus? What an adventure it’s going to be! Tbilisi looks beautiful from pictures – steeped in history and peppered with so many gingerbread churches. Good luck with the language and squiggly script, no doubt you’ll have many stories to share! 🙂

    • Yes, Tbilisi is very photogenic! I’ve heard so many good things about it (not the least of which is the food and wine). I’m looking forward to sharing lots of fun stories soon. Thanks James!

  5. Sid Dunnebacke

    Have a great time, Meghan – I’ve little doubt you’ll do fabulously, but all the same I wish you the best in your travels and your work.

  6. Wheeee go twin! I cannot wait to read more about this, though I am selfishly sad to share you with the other side of this world. I love you, and I’m proud of you always!

    • Thank you twin! You know, I think there is some universal twin-law (let’s call it Twinkinson’s Law) that requires that we maximize our physical presence on the globe by being as far apart as humanly possible. That’s the only positive explanation I can think of. Also, to ensure awesome twincations (so visit me soon!). Love you infinitely.

  7. No visa, you say? I might have to pop over — as you know I really enjoyed Azerbaijan and have a feeling I’d really like Georgia as well (that script is so pretty)!

  8. As one who works with Georgian transliteration on a fairly regular basis, my sympathies.:)

    Also, best of luck in the world of microfinance. It is definitely a worthy cause. I hope it is as rewarding for you as I’m sure it will be for the people you’re able to help…

    • Thank you for the empathy, anglophiletoad! I will be doing more research and development work with products, rather than hands-on loan administrating, but I am very content knowing that the end result will benefit micro-entrepreneurs. I’ll try to share some stories whenever I can!

  9. Sounds amazing, can’t wait to hear more about your work in microfinance. I imagine it would be very rewarding, and I am guessing you will be able to see and experience where the money is going. All the best!!

    • I’m thrilled, Juliet. I’ve been wanting to get into the non-profit space for a while now, and I think this is the most optimal use of my education, experience, and energy for a great cause. Thanks so much for your support, I can’t wait to share more details soon!

  10. Oh wow! So it is Georgia! I should’ve guessed it instead of Armenia. 🙂 One more little fact there, Georgians were the first in the world to make wine — or that’s what they claim. I can’t wait to read your stories from Sakartvelo!

  11. Su

    Congratulations Meghan! How exciting! Cant wait to keep up to date on your movements. We are looking at our summer holiday at the moment and Moscow is on the cards thanks to you. Bonne chance!

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