Gamarjoba!!! (Hello!) Today you are going to meet someone who is changing the world. She certainly impacted my world with her life in the time that I was blessed to room with her in college. My friend, Rusudan, is from the country of Georgia. Two of my closest friends in college, Rusudan and Alison, are from Georgia- we liked to say we had two Georgians in our hallway- one a native of the country of Georgia and the other a Georgia peach gal from the state of Georgia in the U.S. Both taught me expressions from a language I didn’t know!! One from overseas and the other new southern phrases. Rusudan was my roommate for 2 years in college. I was blessed with a wonderful friend. What I admired most about Rusudan was her amazing way of focusing and putting 110% into her studies and then investing the same focus into her relationships. She values life and has always lived life with a purpose.
I cherish the memories of college: the laughter that comes from those silly moments of college dorm life, road trips and meaningful conversations. Another memory that brings joy to my heart is learning a few expressions in Georgian and getting to practice saying them when Rusudan's family would call. It was so much fun to learn to say “Gamarjoba, rogor xar” (“rogorahar”)- “Hi, how are you?” and get to hear a voice respond with kindness in another language. Learning even just a couple of expressions helped to make a connection...across the world. It was also fascinating to hear Rusudan talk in Georgian to her family. I couldn't understand the words, but I could definitely understand the love and care with which she and her family spoke.
One day in the fall of freshman year, Rusudan asked me to read through an essay that she wrote for a class. It was a day I will never forget. In the essay I grew to understand the gift of life and God's amazing love even more. In her essay, Rusudan described moving to the United States to be treated for leukemia at the age of 14. I was inspired by my roommate's solid faith in God and wisdom from life experience. There is a depth of love and appreciation I will always have for her knowing her journey and witnessing her life's dedication to loving and serving others. Today, Rusudan is an oncologist with a heart of compassion for her patients. She has a loving husband and sweet little boy, and entering their home there is no doubt that you are loved and valued with a love that comes from Christ.
It had been more than a decade since I had seen my roommate. Despite the passing of time, visiting her was like visiting family.
When I visited, I was amazed to learn the number of countries she and her husband have visited over the years. She and her husband spent a semester abroad in Australia in college and since getting married have traveled all over the world on their vacations.
I encourage readers to be inspired to learn another language and provide opportunity for your children to learn another language- through school, a tutor, online resources, and/or travel. Rusudan's native language is Georgian, and she began learning English in 2nd grade. She also learned Russian from a tutor and from watching Russian television. Her fourth language is Spanish, which she studied in high school and college.
Language is a big part of culture, but there are many aspects of a culture to learn. Check out the links below to learn about the country of Georgia. Rusudan shared that knowing more than one culture “shapes who you are and how you identify with people from other places” and provides “understanding of other ideas.” She is one of the people who influenced my perspective in life, a piece of my multicultural heart. I pray that her story will also inspire you to open your heart to new cultures and to pursue your passions and dreams. Remember that God is in the details of our lives, and He uniquely weaves people and places into our lives to better understand the life He has given us. May God bless you in your adventures.
All about the Republic of Georgia!
Geography and Language:
Georgia is located along the Black Sea just south of Russia.
Learn a few Georgian expressions here. (The spelling for "Gamarjoba" seems to be different here than from other websites, but I like how the expressions are clearly shown and repeated to help you learn them.)
What might you eat when you visit? Rusudan shared that in Georgia the food is rich and savory. There, they eat lots of meat, chicken, fruits and vegetables.
Discover more interesting facts about the country of Georgia here.