Sam visited Georgia in 2016 with his Russian wife Olga as a tourist and fell in love with the country. The couple was impressed with safety, low crime-rate, and hospitable people in Georgia. Sam found the country very reasonably priced, especially when comparing it with Dublin where the couple used to live.
While adaptation to a life in Georgia could be difficult for many foreign nationals due to language barriers, Sam and Olga never had issues as they were able to communicate in both English and Russian. In addition to multiple factors that made their stay very comfortable, including visa regulations for Irish citizens, Georgia being a Christian country was what made them decide to move. Sam says that Olga being Russian was their biggest advantage when establishing their life in Georgia.
Before moving to Batumi, the couple spent one year in Tbilisi where Sam worked as English teacher. Even though they were enjoying life in Georgia, Sam and Olga were also considering moving to another country for another adventure, but after a short visit to Batumi in 2017, they came up with an idea of moving to another Georgian city instead of going abroad. They decided to start a business in Batumi. Today Sam and Olga own “Mary’s Irish Pub” and put lot of effort in it, saying that it is their life now. Sam says that what he hates the most is when he must close the bar at 11 PM if COVID-regulations in the country demand that. If this is the case, he tells guests “Alright, COVID has arrived, time to go home” and looks forward to life getting back to normal soon.
Sam and Olga and their two adopted dogs live a happy life together. However, Sam knows, that the lives of many foreigners in Georgia are not as comfortable as theirs, as many face racial, religious, or sexual discrimination.
Sam and Olga say that Georgia has a huge potential and believe, that it would really benefit from opening its doors to more people with diverse backgrounds: “Preferences, looks and beliefs do make us different from each other, but in the end, we are all the same.”
Photos by Eric Gourlan