Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It's the moment you've all been waiting for, but this was virtually impossible. Instead of favorite moments its simply just favorites. How could I cover it all?! I have thousands of pictures and just as many memories. But here are a few things I really enjoyed while being in Azerbaijan:When two of my best friends, Katie and Erin, came to visit me!
The never ending season of pomegranates or "nar" as I will forever call them!
Pictured here are two favs: Zeynab, her laugh, her amazing family and the special relationship that her and I created and learning Azerbaijani traditions, like the cooking I'm learning here!
My host family during training!
When my mom, dad and brother came to see what Azerbaijan was all about!
The spring holiday of Novruz!
Farm animals just walking around town, which leads into the small town, safe lifestyle!
Zeynab's neighbor's and their daughter who we called Toto!
Here is another two for one photo: My cousin Christina's visit and the bazaar's of Azerbaijan!
The clotheslines always fluttering between buildings and trees!
Freedom to explore!
My 6th grade (7th grade now) students!
Shefeg and her wonderful family!

I tried to cover everything here but it was impossible, some favorites that aren't pictured were: my sitemates (Marie! Connie!), other Azerbaijan friends that I made (Afgan, Rafig!), Sandra and Steve's friendship and hospitality, Xanim's, Qazax in spring, the ease of walking everywhere, the somewhat shabby but always available transportation system... I have to stop but I hope what you are getting out of this is that I had an amazing time. It's great to be home, but I am so lucky to have had the experiences I did in Azerbaijan.

Thank you for following my blog and taking care of me in all the ways that you did while I was away, it meant the world to me! Now its on to the next steps: waiting to hear if I got in to graduate school and moving to Washington DC in the spring.

So this is the end, last post for me. Sağ Olun Dostlarım!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vacation Time!

Mason and I arrived in Tbilisi, Georgia by train this morning.We spent the day relaxing...
Lazily exploring...
And enjoying one last time in the wonderful city of Tbilisi.

We will be doing these same things in a few other cities for the next week and then we will be back in Seattle on the 26th. This blog is just about over, as my Peace Corps service is ending. But I have one more blog post I'll be doing once I get back in the states, my favorite moments, so stay tuned for that! See you soon!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The End

As of yesterday I am officially a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, or RPCV!! Tonight Mason and I are headed out on the train to Georgia to start our Caucasus region adventure, so today is our last day to say goodbye to Azerbaijan.The view of Baku city from Sandra's balcony.
Mason and I in the Peace Corps office's PCV lounge for the last time.

Life in Azerbaijan wasn't always easy, but it taught me that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to. I feel so lucky to have had so many wonderfully challenging experiences here, some of which I shared on this blog and some only I will really ever know about and understand. The relationships I made with Azeri people will stay with me forever and I thank them for taking me in as their own and teaching me the ways of people here. The thought of returning to America is so exciting and a little scary at the same time, a lot has changed since 2009 ;). I will never be the same person after being a Peace Corps Volunteer in Azerbaijan- but of course I hope all of my changes are for the better! I guess in a little over a week, when I meet my family at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, we will find out. I am definitely ready to start saying hello!

One last HUGE thank you to my family and friends for the massive amount of support you gave me! Whether it was coming all the way over here to visit me, sending me letters or packages, calling or sending email messages, it made my 2+ years here a little easy! I appreciated it all so very much! Thank you.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time Flies

The goodbyes just don't seem to stop. THis time it was my old host family in Jeyranbatan, where I had my training in Oct/Nov 2009.I wish I had lived closer to this family and had seen them more but we always kept in contact. I hope to one day see both of the daughters in America :). Tonight it's working on Peace Corps paperwork and tomorrow it's the doctor, dentist, language test and exit interview! I don't believe that Sept 2009, when I left my family and friends in Seattle, was already 2+ years ago! I'm excited for Mason and I's trip that starts on Thursday. And then after some exploring...America, here we come! But now I just need to figure out home to get all of the gifts I received home ;)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Qazax

This past week was my last in Qazax. Though it had many stresses like packing up my whole apartment myself and figuring out what to do with all of my stuff, it was an extremely emotional time. I definitely feel ready to come home, but saying goodbye to the people here who have been my life for the past two years was heart-wrenching.Goodbye dinner with Shefeg's family. Her husband stayed home from work just so he could make me kabab.
Party at school with all of my teachers.
The dress that Shefeg had made as my goodbye present. This was a fun experience going to the "derzi" for fittings and all that.
My last club with my 7th graders. We used fabric markers to write all over each others tie-dye shirts.
Saying goodbye to Zeynab and her family was the hardest. I slept at their house every night this past week and they helped me get ready to go, but saying goodbye to her and her daughter last night at the train station hurt a lot. I think what feels different now then when I left everyone at home was that I knew I would be back to see all of my family and friends in 2 years. I do not know for sure if I will ever have the pleasure of seeing any of these people again. All I can say is "inshallah."

Tonight it is off the say goodbye to my host family from training and then its Peace Corps stuff. Busy few weeks but I'm making it work. 2 more weeks and I'll be in America saying hello instead of goodbye... I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween Party

Yesterday my 7th grade classes that I've been working with for basically the whole time I've been here and I had a Halloween/Goodbye Party.I brought some Halloween crafts and they decorated the room with little notes for me, it was quite sweet. I also got a lot of cute and funny gifts, including a clock with Mecca on it. It made me feel so special. I'm going to miss them so much. We have had so many fun times together; they are all such good and enthusiastic kids. I hope they all grow up to be amazing people. Next it's the party with my teachers and school staff! Things are really wrapping up here... I'll be home this month and I can't believe it!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Thank you Christina Libbing for coming to visit me in Azerbaijan! After realizing that I don't know how to read a calendar and going to the airport a day early... Chrissy arrived safe and sound at 3am :)! But we just had the best time together. We spent our first day with my training host family in Jeyranbatan. Chrissy fell in love with them as much as I did the first time I met them.
This happened to be Mason's birthday, October 25, so my "mom" made a cake for him and we sang.
Next our journey brought us up to Qazax, where I live. It really doesn't rain too often here, but it rained the entire time Chrissy was here haha.
When we went to visit and eat lunch with Zeynab's family my little friend from next door came over. We call her Toto and she is just a doll. We had a wonderful day spending time with Zeynab and family. It was very important to me for Chrissy to meet them all.
Exploring the Qazax bazaar.
The next day Chrissy, Mason and I carved pumpkins with my 7th grade class.
On Monday I will be having a Halloween party with both the 7th grade classes. Chrissy and Mason helped prepare with this jack-o-lantern club.
We then took the night train back into Baku and spent our last day together seeing the city's sights. I'm so thankful that Chrissy made her way to see me!!!! Best trip ever :D

On another note, Mason and I's good friend from Baku Steve past away on Thursday. You may remember his name from blog posts here and there and even his picture from the last post I made. Please keep Sandra in your thoughts. It has been a tough time, a lot of us PCVs have really gotten to know and love Steve and Sandra. Steve, you will be thought of often and very fondly remembered.