Scott's brother, Steve, joined the Peace Corp once upon a time. He committed 26 months to serve in whatever country they needed him. He ended up going to the Republic of Georgia. Not the southern state where you eat okra and grits but the country formerly included in the USSR. I think there was some relief he didn't go to Siberia.
Steve taught English in a village school. He did quite well for well over a year. Then he got a hole in his lung. Apparently, this is a bad thing and Steve came home for a painful surgery. Once repaired, the Peace Corp wouldn't take him back. Something about being a liability. We all told Steve how sorry we were but his mother was secretly ecstatic. Steve then informed us all that he needed to "tie up some loose ends," packed his suitcase and flew back to Georgia. He then called his mother within the next 2 weeks. She could hardly hear him through the background noise of a very loud, very Georgian party. Toasts, laughter, vodka, and - what was that - ? Oh. It was just Steve's wedding. Did he forget to tell us about Leila? We did wonder why he packed his suit.
A month after leaving, Steve returned home with his real, live Georgian bride. Did she speak English? Would we understand her? Would she understand us? Fortunately for us, Leila was very westernized. Not only did she speak fluent English but she also spoke American Humor. She was also a bombshell. Steve did well for himself. Smart and beautiful.
Five years later, Steve and Leila (finally) gave me a Georgian nephew. I am quite smitten by him. He bears a strong resemblance to a couple of my children only with darker coloring. In Leila fashion, she had no problem with my odd sense of humor. I walked into her hospital room after she gave birth to little Luka, took one look at her and spouted off, "Holy cow! When did you get those hooters?" Her retort was something like, "About two months ago they just popped out of nowhere and now you can call me Daisy (the cow)." Ahh. I like Leila. Even if she has bigger boobs than I do.
Leila's mother immediately booked her flight to see her first grandchild. She doesn't speak a word of English. I tried to teach her that my name is pronounced Her Royal Highness but it didn't fly.
Anywho, thanks to little Luka and our extended Georgian family, my homogeneous culture was extended. Luka was baptized in the Christian Orthodox Church in Salt Lake City. With all the chanting, singing, pomp and artistry, the priest gave explanations of each part of the ceremony for those of us who are not Orthodox and also those of us who grew up in a communist country where churches were converted to dairies.
Little Luka yelled angrily for much of the ceremony then suddenly stopped. He'd gone to sleep. Unfortunately, the actual baptism was about to occur. I knew this because the priest explained it and then informed us that the Orthodox church practices baptism by immersion. I suddenly remembered Nia from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and the scene where her fiance is baptized in a kiddie pool in the Greek Orthodox church.
Want to know how to piss off a two month old baby?
Later that night, my family met at my own church where the girls were in a special Christmas choir program. We sat on the hard folding chairs for an hour and a half and enjoyed the Christmas music. They were magnificent, by the way.
As I tucked my 5 year son into bed that night he informed me that "Today was a boring day." I found it to be quite fascinating and then entertaining. He clarified, "We spent so much time in church today!"
I didn't have the heart to tell him he'd be doing more time tomorrow.