Image Credit: 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, Stepantsminda, Georgia (Zoltan Bagosi / Alamy Stock Photo)

In Georgia, a Reminder of a Halcyon West

Even in the beginnings of winter, Georgia’s capitol Tbilisi emits a warmth. One should expect this from a city known for its many hot springs, but the warmth experienced goes much beyond the sulfur baths popular with tourists and locals alike. Tbilisi, with its 1.4 million residents, is inviting in a way that few cities of such a size are. It is very walkable, and a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue, the main thoroughfare, reveals well-dressed men and women roaming with arms interlocked and laughing as they share a reminiscence or news of friends and family.

I originally had no plans to teach in Georgia, and instead was headed to Poland after accepting an assignment through the Center for International Legal Studies to present a short course at a university. The Polish professor responsible for overseeing the visiting professors’ program neglected to have my class approved and this resulted in cancelation of my trip. At the same time, a spot opened at European University in Tbilisi because the scheduled visiting professor was unable to travel due to medical issues. The last-minute change in plans gave me angst, and so I had reluctantly accepted the new assignment to teach Georgian law students the basics of American criminal law.

Upon picking up our bags at the Tbilisi International Airport, my wife and I began to look for the University’s driver who we expected would meet us. To our surprise, we were met...

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