Ceyranbatan House and Family

>> Friday, January 29, 2010

It may be late but I promised a while ago and now you will have pictures! This is in fact my training site, Ceyranbatan.

Pic #1
This is the view from the hole in the wall that was most likely built for double doors. Nonetheless this is the view you get. If you take those stairs you would get to Myriams apartment. But as this is my blog you will be going to the wall on the right to door #4.

Pic #2
With my door open you can see straight into the living room. You take your shoes off right inside and on the left is a dresser that holds all of the coats and shoe cleaning supplies. However immediately to the right is the bathroom door.

Pic #3
The bathroom is probably my favorite aspect of the house because it's a little death trap. The tile is all nice and fancy but the whole place is covered in water. I nearly fell every time I had to use the bathroom, this is intensified in the middle of the night (grogggy + slippery = dangerous). Also there was no toilet paper but there was a water hose for cleaning. Best part, that hose is called a schlong, can't make that stuff up!

Pic #4
The living room. This is where the magic happens. This is where we would have dance parties, eat lunch and dinner, and watch Twilight. Enough said.

Pic #5
You may think that you haven't seen this kitchen before, but you're wrong. You see that window above the baathtub? Yeah that opens into the kitchen. So all of my showers, since I'm so much taller than everyone else, included looking into the kitchen! But this is the kitchen. I atr my breakfast here. I attempted to help Super Mama cook, and I picked up the tea from here.

Pic #6
This is the view form the kitchen into my room. All ofthe women sleep in a room behind the wall on the right, Ata Bomba sleeps on the couch. This picture was taken pre door window installation.

Pic #7
My room from the door. That back door is the door to the back yard area. All pickled products have a shed out back to get all nice and pickly. Also I hung my laundry out there. When I say "I hung," I mean I attempted it but Super Mama always fixed it; I was allowed to keep up the pretense of actually doing it myself, which was nice.

Pic #8
This is the other half of my room back out the hallway door. Charts on the wall, bed with awesome apples on it, and my water filter which went un-used:(

Pic #9

Me and the host family in the beloved family room.
Top row: Həbibə, Lori, Nərmin
Bottom row: Super Mama (İradə), Ramilə, Ata Bomba (Həbib)


A few mistakes

>> Friday, January 8, 2010

Number one:
After explaining that they should talk to their partners and tell me one fact about them I demonstrate.
Me: "This is Mrs. Metanet, she is pregnant." 
*blank stares*
Metanet: "We do not discuss these things with children, it's inappropriate."

YAY! Not horrible, but I turned super red.

Number two:
dəli means crazy  (pron: dad without the last d + leee) 
dadlı means tasty (pron: God with a d + luh) 

Don't confuse the two, it can get weird. Especially if your hMom already thinks she's not feeding you correctly because she always asks if you eat this exact meal in America. You of course try to ease it over by saying, "No, but it's crazy. Very crazy." Oops! I was even warned about this one, multiple times by the Az6's, guess I'm a slow learner.


Gypsy Attack!

You read that correctly! The most ridiculous attempted bus journey began with a gypsy attack. 

So after New Years in Baku, I stayed with my northern neighbors up in Balaken for 2 nights. It was awesome! Stephanie and Bailey are hilarious. Bailey's family plays this ridiculous game that's faux monopoly. It has many rules that are very difficult to understand and the properties are written in English because the kids are cool. Well you start with $2000 but the cheapest property is about $10,000, also only one die so you can see this would take forever. However if you jump to that conclusion you are wrong because you can play one of many games. You can roll a six and get $80,000 or roll a 4 and lose the same amount! Why? Because children taped four pieces of paper together and called it monopoly. Bailey bought a property called, "Baby Shoot," brilliant! Needless to say I had to leave because school starts tomorrow, so I left a bit before noon in hopes of returning to Qax by 2p. 

No dice! I get to Zagatala to do my little switch-a-roo just fine, but of course I'm five minutes late:( So I call up my Zag-town friends because I have a bit over an hour to waste. We hang out, get a bit into our dominoes game and I decide to take the second to last bus home. I believe this is where people decided to mess with me, that action was just just asking for trouble. After a bit more fun Mr. Bionical and Jessica walk me down to the bus station where we meet a cool little chick who lives in Qax and was all about speaking English. However there were also two gypsy women and about six or seven gypsy kids. At one point we tried stepping away from them and they just kept their bodies pressed against us following where we stepped. I busted out the azeri"don't touch me," and I think they realized that we weren't giving them anything. Well I head over, with my new little Qax friend to where the bus normally picks up as it rounds the corner. It stopped dead center and nearly all 50 or so people at the bus stop start running. I kid you not, cute little old people had to watch out because the gypsies were shouting and throwing their children in the bus. Kind of like crowd surfing. They got the kids and everything in seats and wouldn't stand for the elderly people which is NOT OKAY in this culture. Anyways, as we pull away I'm in a make shift lunge and the gypsies and xanim's are all yelling at each other, while Mr. Bionical and Jessica give me the most sympathetic looks I've seen. Thanks guys, too much crazy.

After we travel about one mile with random men jumping in the still open doors we stop so the driver can talk with the cop. That didn't go so well. I hear shouting and the driver jumps back in the bus, steaming mad, as the police car pulls up door open yelling at the driver. My driver yells something along the lines of expensive, as in hey hey hey I am not paying your bribe, and we drive away. of course the police car drives super slowly in front of us trying to get him to stop but he just honks until the police man moves, which he does. We're rockin' and rollin' now, and we get to the first random stop on the side of the road. We all smell something funny, but the driver keeps going. Next stop, all of the men pile out as about 7 more people add on. This happens a few times until we, meaning the women folk, realize that the tires are burning. Next stop was a quick one, just long enough for a nice muslim man to leave some money in the hole of the church wall. Of course the quickest little gypsy ran to get it and spent about a mile running behind the bus as the driver wasn't going to let him back on after that. Next stop, Güllük.

About halfway between bus station, in a random little village called Güllük, we are all told to get off. So I do, just in time to see the gypsies booking it so they don't have to pay. Joke's on them, none of us did because he left us there for 1.5 hours to wait for the final bus. WHAT? I stood at the road and talked with some folks. I'm glad I was good entertainment for them. You know, 23, unmarried, super weird it was a good wait. Had some Georgian friends and of course my cute little Qax girl and her mom. It was good times. The final bus came, we arrived at Qax and I even got a free taxi home because he was so talkative. All in all, I got home at 7p, really super dark, but very glad not to be in the village with those gypsies.


Keeping it awkward

On the 30th Jason and I went to the young adults New Years Party. New years is huge out here because it's not only New years but it's Consolidation Day, aka these folks were free from Soviet Rule. My sister invited us since we had about 4 hours to spare before the night train to Baku. The party was in a restaurant and looked like a toy. I think that there is really only one type of party out here and that mold is just set for any sort of celebration (wedding, new years, boys leaving for the army). There were a few games, speeches, and dancing. Immediately after Jason says he will not dance and I agree, my arm was tugged out of my chair and I had to dance. I don't like it! Too may people stare, and it's just the same ol' step tap. Santa Clause and the snow girl were getting down too, so I guess it wasn't so bad. When I sat down, teh only other girl at our table who had joined me told me, "You are good play." Dance and play are the same verb so she translated it literally. Awesome! My hSis was the announcer, for no other reason than she is the Qax Golden Child, and she made Jason and I speak. We were warned and she gave us scripts but that didn't stop the awkward from sputtering out. I said about 4 sentences including, "Azerbaijan is beautiful but Qax is the most beautiful." Everyone applauded when I said this but I wasn't finished and that made me awkward, so I sat down as quick as possible. Then Jason stood up for his 2 sentences. He was supposed to say, "Me too, I love Qax. Happy New Years." However, he was trying to read my hSis's lips and said, "Qax is..huh..beautiful...no I love! Happy New Years." Hilarious!!! Of course we both said this in our heavily accented Azerglish so who knows if anyone knows what we said. There was some really awesome fruit and this candy that I love, because it tastes like Cake Batter ice cream. We were told that this was a one hour celebration. 2.5 hours in, we peaced out, ate quickly at my house and headed down to the train station. All in all, good times. Next year, we're going to memorize the national anthem and sing along. It sounds sooooo Epic! Youtube it!


Walking around and a Concert!

When I leave my house every morning the first thing I see is the first picture. Typically not so many cars but this was around the concert time so the joint was hoppin'! I walk uphill one house and turn to get headed back downhill to school or the town center. Then I see the second picture. I'm going to remember my camera all of the time and hopefully you'll be able to see a picture of the ridiculous amounts of animals wandering or grazing down that street. Today there were cows, sheep, turkey's and of course a few dogs. there's a cute little puppy that I'm watching grow up in this pile of leaves. It makes me really sad. However it's super cute because he's all white and fluffy and disappears under the leaves and reappears when he thinks he's on a pogo stick and hops about like a bunny. At the very very bottom, of said street is the beginning of what is for the most part, the town center. There's an office of tourism, post office, safety and security office and all sorts of other Qax city official buildings. Of course what would the capital of the region be without its Heydar Aliyev statue, park, and museum. All of these are surrounding the enormous Christmas tree. Since most of Azerbaijani are Muslims, Christmas does not exist. However don't you neglect them of their Santa and Christmas tree! So there's a huge tree in the square-ish area of town and Santa Clause, or as they say, Şaxta Baba (Frozen Grandpa, literally). This is where the concert was. Children sang, traditional Azeri dancers danced, and small children popped mini fireworks. They wouldn't stop popping them actually and they'd throw them right under you so you jumped, and of course I gave out a little yelp. But the concert was just fine, like a little town gathering for about 4 hours of random New Years anticipation through song. The last two photos are of my final walk home from about 5-5:30. It's pretty dark but I love how the mountains glow. Hope you like it! 


Qax Toy

A toy is a wedding (pron the same as a child's plaything). My neighbor got married on the 26th and I was invited! Weddings are very specific out here. They are all the same, they like it that way, and they want it to be that way...so it is!
Before they arrive the bride and groom drive all around the city to places of interest to get out and take photos. The best part about this is the first car is a hatchback with a video camera and its operator sticking out of the trunk filming the entire thing. Of course horns are blaring and the bride and groom are in a car with white, pink, or red sashes tied all over it. As a guest I did not see this part but you see them all driving about so you know what's happening while you're waiting in the restaurant. 
The bride and groom enter with at least one girl carrying a candle and another carrying a mirror. The candle is to bring light into their marriage and the mirror is very practical but also lets them see what they already possess. Pretty cool. They immediately cut the cake and have their first dance and then they sit.
The bride and groom sit together at the head table and watch the festivities. If the song is really good or the people dancing are extra awesome they will both come and join everyone. For about 1.5 - 2 hours interspersed there is an announcer prompting all of the speeches. No maid of honor or best man. But everyone talks. He congratulates and welcomes the families & friends to speak. There's even a special section for neighbors, my hDad spoke as did 3 or 4 others. The director of our school gave a speech as well and then all of the teachers had to get up and dance. My first toy dancing seemed to be a success as my hSis kept telling me I was doing it right. I personally couldn't stop laughing. It was absolutely hilarious to me. Azeri dancing is ultimately stepping side to side, or step tap step tap. You don't move your hips because that's too riskay but you sway your arms about. Very soft flowy movements. If you can't imagine it just sway side to side and delicately pretend to screw in light bulbs. It was awesome, and as everything is filmed I'm definitely on the tape. I didn't think my hDad saw me since he was in the men section (men and women in Qax don't sit together) but when we got home he said I was a very good dancer. Haha! I'm a good azeri dancer! I had fun and my hMom helped me out so I wouldn't offend anyone! it was pretty fun.
But now you can enjoy a few photos of my evening. The first is of the many teachers at the toy and the second of my hSis and I. The third is of the married couple with my hSis, some random man who really wanted to get in the picture and myself. Magic! Note how I'm the only one smiling. Tradition!


Pipe Fest 2009!!!!!!!

So it was mentioned previously but I want you to see the pipes!
So Mr. Bionical and I went a hiking around. He was much more elegant in his mounting and dismounting of the pipes. I just flopped and slid off them but you know what? We were both on the pipe and that's all that matters. PLUS...I found that on some of the pipes that had been prepared with some slippery material it was like a slide! I got to slide around like a small child and that made it even better! So take a look at the magic that ensued. If any of you get the whole "Yes, Man" running and picture taking vibe, go with it. Not such a great movie but I totally want to start saying yes to everything, it would make for a better blog. On our walk we found an awkward spout/spickety thing that gushed everywhere and then the forest. Which was more or less the Lion King in miniature form. I was a giant Pumba! Enjoy!

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