Monsoons, Small Children, and Fiances

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

So remember that one time that California is in a drought? Well I've never seen so much water in all my life. Water flowing in the street, all over my bathroom, just coppius amounts everywhere. Then I get an email from Elaine asking how the weather is, my reply "Like SoCal." I got home and it was freezing cold, then the next day I sewar a monsoon hit. It was windy and rainy and oh my goodness when I looked out the window the trees were horizontal. Whoda thunk? So ultimately I lied to Elaine, because immediately after said email it all changed. Now it's back to normal but who is the sexiest person ever? ME! Why you ask? Because I wear my thermals under my tights and no one knows! Yup, if it's chilly at all you will find me pretty darn warm!

All of us TEFL folk have been teaching this week. In the classroom trying to turn their lessons into fun hours of learning. It's going pretty well I'd say. They are all very excited to hear us talk and we love when they get into the lessons. Beca and I are a team and we've each had one meh class and 4 super fun ones! I'd say that's a pretty good statistic! I have yet to unleash teh ball of knowledge but I think next wekk these kids will see it in it's glory!

Today I was riding with my freind Mary in the marșrutka to Sumgayıt. If I haven't said it before, marșrutka's are make shift astrovans with about 16 seats and people standing on top of that. Well we were in the back and Mary was on my lap because of the lack of space. I told them a fake name and explained I have a fiance. This does not deter these men. One informed me that I will be his Ceyranbatan fiance and the other showed me a photo of a wedding and pojnted to me as the bride and him as the groom. Through awkwardness poeple were leaving and I saw our school's Dean of Students! She was awesome and tut-tutted them so they stopped! We got off at her stop and thanked her profusely and had a fun little Azerglish converstaion.

All in all, pretty good week so far.


Trip to Agsu

>> Friday, October 23, 2009

I spent a few days with an AZ6, Rachael carter, in Agsu. It was about 2 and a half hours on a marșrutka (think astro van with seats scrunched in for 16, but people standing in the non aisles) away from Ceyranbatan. It was so much fun and Rachael made Mac and cheese, burritos, and grilled cheese with tomato soup. I did not realize how much my body truly missed these foods until she mentioned it. She lives in a cave! Not like an actual side of the mountain cave but her room is so far under the house that the sunlight doesn’t quite come in. Like a cave, super fun. We went to school and I got to see what the next two years could potentially be for me. Not as scary as it could have been. Pretty cool and her counter part was really into their co teaching which gave me loads of hope.
We took a few walks into town and on one journey the statue of Heydar Əliyev was uncovered. It was all gold and his name was not complete so it just said “Hey”. By far the best Heydar statue. But the park wasn’t quite finished so when I went back the next day to take pictures it was covered up and his name was nearly completed. ☹ In town I did find the coolest ball ever. It has the English alphabet with pictures and words to match all over it. Bear in mind that Q is Quarenden with a picture of an apple, but the rest are pretty darn close. I call it the Ball of Knowledge, and since Knowledge is Power it is also the Ball of Power!
I’m back in town and we’re on a weird schedule. On Monday I do my Practicum, which is just a fancy way to say that Beca and I will be doing supervised teaching. We have a few lesson plans but tomorrow I think we get our official topics so this weekend I will most likely be writing loads. But Sunday is Fun Day! I will hopefully be at the beach playing soccer or just hanging out with friends that I haven’t seen in a while!
So all in all Rachael was awesome, I have a Ball of Knowledgeable Power and I start teaching on Monday. Wish me luck!

OMG almost forgot. Hmom and Hsis were teaching me verbs using my Ball of Power and they got a bit too into it. Hilarious. The best part had to be when they were playing faux volleyball and Hmom wacked the ball into the light and busted it all over my room. I was crying I was laughing so hard. Super Maman had a different meaning that day.


My first squat toilet experience.

After sending this to my family and friends I realized that the world should not be deprived of this story. So here you go!
“I didn’t use a squat at the hotel, and my host family has a western style toilet. It doesn’t flush, you just take the bucket out of the tub and thrust water down it, no tp either. There’s a hose-ish thingy that you clean with and I’m perfecting the air dry method. Anyways at school I really had to pee the first day. We went downstairs and the nearest bathroom was by all of the small children. That being said, many azeri people don’t clean restrooms. They think that since what you do in there is super gross, why spend time to make it fancy or remotely sanitary? So I’ve already lost some weight and my ring can easily slip off. You may think you can see where this is going, but you do not know to what extent. I already mentioned that this was near the small children and it was so friggin gross. Well that entailed poop filling the squat area because there is no bucket of water to clean the area off. Well bad a bing, bad a boom, my ring slips off with my skirt over my head and reflex kicks in and I pick it up. MY HAND WAS IN A MOUND OF CHILD POOP! I cannot fully describe this experience, it’s impossible to convey the disgust and absolute hilarity of this event. I go to wash off my hand and of course, no soap! With the water I at least got all visual remnants off my hand and ring. Then I walked through the hallway with my hand & ring as far away from me as possible. My entire cluster (6 of us) were laughing so hard that we were crying and I had to tell my teacher what happened. She of course lost it as well and helped me get soap, dish soap in the kitchen of course. Anyways, that was Tuesday and we still randomly start laughing about this, tears and all.

So as you go throughout your day, realize that I’m fine and well looked after. And also, no matter what happens at least your hand wasn’t in a mound of child poop with a skirt over your head in a squat toilet in a country where you can’t speak the language.”

For those of you wondering, yes I’ve become more advanced with the squat, so no worries anymore!


First few days with the host family

>> Saturday, October 10, 2009

Alrighty folks. I’ve been with my host family since Monday the 5th. Amazing. They are super funny and the lack of English has made for the most ridiculous week. Most of what I know from my family comes from a host cousin who is fluent in English and unfortunately has to translate everytime he is here. I still try but it ends up in a lot of possibilities, no absolutes with charades. So to begin, I live with a family of 5 (mom, dad, and 3 sisters). I call my host dad Ata, the traditional azeri for father. He calls me Lalə (pron. Lay-lah) because “I need an Azeri name,” pretty much he has a hard time with pronouncing Lori. Host mom – Maman or Maman SUPER! 18yr old sis - Ramilə, 15yr old sis – Nayrmin, 13yr old sis - Həbibə. They are all super sweet and want me to be as happy as humanly possible. Since the beginning of typing this I’ve received 4 visits to my room each with food or tea in hand. They also came to laugh at how I befriended this cat. They will not let me name it, but I call him Buddy. Everytime they hear this I am reminded that his name is psh psh. The cat may or may not be theirs but I saw Maman feeding it from her plate so I assumed I could pet it and now it loves me. Currently, Buddy is asleep on my bed, He has slept with me every night since I got here.

Speaking of animals…they’re everywhere. Cats and dogs you’re not supposed to pet or feed because most of them have diseases so I really hope Buddy is a pet but because of the language barrier I do not actually know. Chickens, hens, and geese are roaming the streets and mini yard where they stay at night, as I walk to school. Of course the dogs and cats are thrown in as well. Speaking of school, what a trip! I was told I’d be like a celebrity but this is ridiculous. As the 6 of us walk through the hallways every eye is on us, everytime. Children bust out of the classroom and yell hello or just tell us their names. It is a bit less on the streets but those hallways echo and I think my brains will pour out of my head soon. My little sister’s friends all think that they are special when I greet them by name and that is always fun.

I have had a few language classes and soooo much gets covered. I wish we could just be like The Matrix and download a language, but alas I shall study. Ramilə gave me some awesome Azeri pop and on our breaks my cluster has little dance party’s. There are 6 of us in Ceyranbatan Cluster #1 and we’re super cool. 2 bionic people who walk/run super fast and never get tired, Mike and Jess. My neighbor Myriam and I walk to and from school together, while talking about all of the ridiculous events of our day. Mary is our blonde, who definitely fell into the van we take into the city, hilarious. Beca, through host family’s is my cousin. Beca and I never stop laughing so that’s good for me and my abs! Our teacher is Nurana, and she is not only amazing and sweet but of course she’s super pretty. Pretty much this whole training thing kinda rocks.
More to come later, be advised that our dance party has resulted in the creation of an azeri music video. Be afraid


Hotel Magic Times

>> Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hello from Baku. Travels were intense and as fun as we could make it beginning with a 3-ish hour long bus ride arriving at JFK about 4 hours early. Not too bad, it gave me loads of time to talk to people, eat a panini, and watch an episode of Family Guy. Then we flew to Frankfurt where I unfortunately forgot to drink the water out of my bottle. The security guy told me to drink quick, so I did much to his amazement. "You could do so fast with beer?" "Absolutely." Tim thought I should make him buy me abeer to see if it was true but alas I let him work We hung around for about 7 hours until we flew in to Baku where we are now sleeping before training tomorrow.
The rooms are very nice and I was lucky enough to get the bottom floor so I didn't have to drag all of my things up stairs. There are some AZ6's here and we willl be geting to talk/know them for a few days. I did go all around the hotel with some cool people and we explored and found where breakfast will be (note to self: this room is also where I will receive my shots). FYI if any of you were curious, Eli can work a cat walk over water, and Aaron is very funny to follow down hallways.
All in all the two days of travel were fun and included bonding with PC folks, creating some fun memories, and making pacts. I've made two or three so far, I'm not so sure, but I will be sticking to them!
The second I got off the bus there were hugs and realization that we are actually here, so bring it on AzerbaiUruguay!

PS. I know I said I'd upload pictures but it has been 45 minutes so I do not think the internet wants you to see them. Maybe later.

Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps

  © Blogger templates Shiny by 2008

Back to TOP