Random Holiday

>> Saturday, April 30, 2011

I still don't quite understand what happened on this day. I thought it was a holiday so on my way over to Nona's I saw a cousin and wished him a good day (holiday style). He looked really confused so we stopped to discuss it. Come find out, it wasn't a holiday but more of a day of remembrance of the deceased. I felt really horrible, apologized and continued on to Nona's house. Lazy butt that she is, she was still in bed. Fair play I did get to her house before noon, so I guess it is my fault. Anyways I proceed to tell her she's not cool for letting me make a fool out of myself thinking it was a holiday. True to her form she laughed at me, then got serious and told me I shouldn't tell people happy holiday until they say it first from here on out. We've Lori-proofed my well wishes. After some tea we head outside to enjoy the nice weather. It was a pretty nice day and when the sun was shining, a bit warm. Then the confusing part came. There was a swing in the yard.I had oh so many questions about this swing. The only thing the happy lady in the above picture says, "It's nice, only for today." So I try to make sense of this all. A holiday to remember the dead and happy swing day at the same time. I instantly go to something really emotional. I ask if the swing is symbolizing the freedom the dead get by going to heaven, etc. Trust me this is exactly how people think/things are explained to me. Unfortunately, this time that was not the case. Everyone had the same answer and asked me why I cared, the swing's fun, get on and stop asking questions. So I did!

Then hDad hopped on.Finally it was time for some more tea before the sun officially set. Jerry wanted to join and he showed off the mad skills I taught him. Jerry can now balance himself perfectly on the bench. He joins us like a perfect little gentlemen and waits for his sugar cube. I don't know why they give them to him, he's not a horse. But little fatty loves them.I may not have any idea what went on that day, but not from lack of trying. And when I did shut up and jump on the swing, I enjoyed myself very much. They were right. Sadly they were also right about the one day rule. The swing is gone, I guess we'll have to amuse ourselves in another way.


Nona turned 23!!!!

>> Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My girl's getting old! Stephanie was lovely enough to come to Qax and help me celebrate Nona's birthday in style. We helped set up the house and I threw Steph in the kitchen to learn how to make surhullu (special dish in Qax). Why didn't I do it? I'm the Qax Star, I can do that no problem. Actually, I've made it lots and it kind of hurts your finger. But I can make it and I have been told I'm wonderful, BAM! Surhullu is dough twisted in a special way and boiled up aka it's noodles. Depending on where you are you can have many different varieties of meat on top. The entire dish is covered in the water used to cook the dish in so it's like soup and pasta had a baby. After the pieces were all flipped and ready to boil we took a little photo op:

With the table set and family coming over it was time to sit down and eat. Coolest part of the day for me was the anniversary. You see it may have been Nona's birthday but it also marked the first time I met the family. I met Nona 2 weeks before her 22nd birthday and she invited me to her party. It's been ridiculous fun times ever since. Good year. Her birthday had lots of food and way too many jokes in Noodle (Georgian). All in all a great evening to celebrate her pretty face.


Novruz Part 3

>> Sunday, April 24, 2011

I love food and Novruz is all about that, ergo I love Novruz! Most necessary part of Novruz is the plate of grass with a ribbon tied around it. If you're going to be celebrating the holiday the right way the grass needs to be in the center of the xonça (Novruz sweets platter thingy). This Xonça has bakhlava, shekerbura, popcorn, jelly beans, hard boiled eggs, cake, pastries and raisins. To make it beautiful you throw on some candles and all of the sudden it's nice and magical. I spend Novruz in the village for one main reason - they know how to really celebrate. In the city people don't really have a sense of excitement about the coming holiday but in the vill it's like Americans prepping for Christmas. Everyone is running around wishing wellness and happiness for the coming year. It's so much fun! At dinner time we had a few guests and here's the picture to commemorate!After we ate, it was off to dance and drink my weight in tea. Then back to the house for more cleaning and drinking tea. There is one thing that I've forgotten to mention. Turan broke 3 teeth. Yup, he was walking and it was dark and his mouth met a metal pole. Boom! Front tooth shot out of his face and the two on either side are chipped in half. Does he go to the dentist? Nope, it's Novruz he'll go in a few days when it's over. Good decision bro. He continued to bleed all night and a poor pillow was sacrificed. But that boy can celebrate! Sure enough the king and queen of the vill were way too worried about their baby boy. They got so ridiculously tired that they passed out on the couch. This is a normal occurrence but during the holiday it seemed cuter. With that, day one was over.


Novruz Part 2 - Kosa

>> Saturday, April 23, 2011

I had the lovely honor of being the Kosa this year in the vill. Who is the Kosa? He's a chubby man with a beard, mustache, pointy hat and a container to hold all of the goods he collects as he sings and dances around his community. How did I land this ridiculous honor? I woke up and villMom said, "Lori today you will be the Kosa, learn the song. I will dress you up later." Ba-da-bing I'm working all day to memorize this song and do a silly little hand snappy thing. Then night time hits and here I am with the crew: Hacı - Keçal Besti - old lady Me - Kosa

After a few lessons in my song I had the approval. I was going to be great and I had dancing lessons. This is the song:
Ay Kos-Kosa gəl sənə
gəlib salam gəl sənə
çom çəni doldur sənə
kosa yola sal sənə

Ay üyruğu üyruğu
Var kosanı göylurğu
Kosa bir oyun eylər
Kəçini qoyun eylər
yığar bayram xonçası
kəçəlin toyun eylər

As is typical, I changed the song into a rap and claimed that the 2011 Kosa is American and this change is necessary. So here's the rapper pose:
We ran out to pick up some new people to make our posse even more epic. We went in and sang to grandpa, then headed out to all of the neighbors houses. It was so much fun and some people didn't even know I was American! That's how awesome I am and equally how ridiculous I looked.


Novruz Part 1

>> Friday, April 22, 2011

This years Novruz was just as great as the last, events wise. Unfortunately I had an epically sprained ankle so I hobbled around for most of it. But hey, Novruz is wonderful. No biggie.
villMom and I went to the big festival in the center of town. So many people were there singing, dancing and overall just celebrating this time off of school & work. The best part had to have been when a man and woman came in disguise into the celebration. It was so crazy and everyone jumped up to dance with them. Then on their retreat they both ate it and just laid on the floor hiding their faces from the crowd. Soooo good. Then we came back home and had a mini party with all of the neighbors. It's always fun out there and after the tea had been drunk it was dancing time. We weren't going to give up once we got tired so all of the pets were brought out and they had to dance around themselves. Cut to one of teh fatty cats and my little Tuziq. I don't know how he puts up with it but he does, and after he finished dancing he jumped onto my lap!


Mid Service Conference

>> Monday, April 18, 2011

In keeping theme with posting events about my PCV life in a random order let's jump back to the end of January. I headed on into Baku for the AZ7 Mid Service Conference (MSC). I jumped on a train with about 13 other PCV's, got pretty ill and spent quite some time on the couch in the PCV lounge. Cut to the night before MSC and I tested out a new bar with some friends before we jumped on a bus and made our way to the hotel.
We may have been there the latest but we had good food and this awesome picture to commemorate the occasion. This is the first time all of our group has been in one room since December 9, 2009 so it was a big celebration. The 53 of us were having a great time. I planned a game of Assassins, it was quick and intense. There was also a pretty big group of PCV's who purchased Azeri track suits and we rocked them!Our room was awesome. I was so excited to have people to talk to that I frankly didn't let them sleep. I get lonely in Qax sometimes and they did a great job in making me feel loved. Throughout the 2 days we attended so many sessions about dealing with life here, help with projects and prepping ourselves and our communities for heading out. In one session all of the Peer Support Network (PSN) Members were helping a discussion about supporting the new group. We're all so pretty! That's all of us after the session pretending to talk on the phones that we love oh so much. At the very end of the conference we all grouped together and got a nice photo including the staff present. The conference was really invigorating because it showed me different ways to solve my problems/improve what was already working. It was a great refresher and I was so proud of everyone there. There you have it AZ7 MSC, fantastic group doing fantastic things.

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