Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Day I became A Vegetarian

Today my cluster and I set out to find two chickens to purchase. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and my cluster wants to kill a turkey to eat for our celebration. Of course, in order to do this right they need practice, hence todays chickens. We knew of a place near my teacher's house that had a crap load of turkeys and chickens in their yard, so we started there.

They willingly sold us two chickens-- but first they had to catch them. This really didn't take the owners very long (I'm sure they do it all the time) but it gave me enough time to make friends with both the group of turkeys and the shy chickens hanging out in the corner.

After befriending these little gems the cries of the two chicken we bought made me that much sadder and as all my friends walked back to my teachers house to do "their business," I walked home. We are having the chicken feed tomorrow-- I might bring myself an eggplant. Now some of you might think this is really cool, as does the rest of my cluster, but if you know me at all, my reaction most likely doesn't surprise you, and so today I came to two conclusions: one is that I will become a vegetarian (of sorts-- I don't eat that much meat here as it is and I guess in reality I might keep eating the little bit that I do) and two, that turkeys are totally the most awesome things ever! They make such a cool noise and they look so funny when they don't have all their feathers puffed up in defense. I definitely took a video of them today, and all these pictures!

Besides the sadness at my new friends' loss of life (just so you're not totally confused, I mean the chickens), Mary, one of the AZ7 group of trainees had to go home, back to America, yesterday. She had been battling a bad case of bronchitis basically since we got here and it just turned into serious asthma. You see the air quality here isn't necessarily the best (I know what you are thinking, I am fine-- I came prepared). It happened so fast, she went to the doctor, they decided the best thing for her health was for her to go and then she was gone! A bunch of us got together the night before and the morning that she left to say our goodbyes. Its crazy, even though we have all only been friends for a little over a month we have already gone through so much together and it was really hard to see her go. If you're reading this Mary I miss you like crazy and love you!

Life is good. Wednesday the 18th I find out where my permanent site will be-- get your maps out people, we'll have to look it up together! Sag ol- talk to you soon :) Mom, Linda, Linnea, Grandma T, Aunt Debbie and Melissa, thank you so much for the letters! I'm taping them all up on my wall and it makes me smile whenever I look at them :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Streets of Chocolate Milk

OK. Sorry for the lame post Sunday, I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still here! I just haven’t had time to get to the internet cafĂ© for a while; I just got over the flu (typical Jessi move, having some kind of illness, I know) and it just gets darker so much faster so finding the time to make it to Sumgayit to the internet just gets harder and harder. But here I am now, ready to give you more of an update and hopefully more explanation of the pictures I just threw up on Sunday.

When it rains in Azerbaijan, which seems to be more often now, the streets turn to chocolate milk. My walk to school slows down to avoid the creamy stains on all of my dark colored clothes and while there may have been great debate over to bring or not to bring my north face coat, it has in fact shown its face many a time by now. The paradox of weather here is hard. Streets are made of dirt, therefore turn to mud, and when I say mud I mean wet clay, when it rains and this obviously gets all over your shoes and flips up onto clothes, you get it. But it is very important to be clean here and even at school there should be no sign of the chocolate milk that you just had to fight your way through on your clothes or shoes. We have found this to be impossible, but therefore have had to put up with sometimes more then just funny looks at our somewhat stained professional fashions here in AZB.

While learning how to manage the weather of AZB we have also started to do practice teaching, so many new experiences at one time! The picture from Sunday of Lori, Beka and I with our scarves on our heads is in fact not only the first day of rain for us, but also our first day of teaching. As I said, we were not prepared for the weather and the scarves were our only possible attempt at keeping our teacherly domineers from dripping away in the rain. As it turns out the school was not prepared for us either, so we ended up killing time drinking tea and playing word games at Mike’s house, hence the next picture below of us lined up on the couch. Eventually we made it to school, through the flooded streets and thunderstorms to try our hands at teaching English. I was scared out of my mind to get up in front of those kids, but it ended up OK, and by the end of the week I could envision many fun ways of teaching that I could do with the students. I guess the point of this little story is that even in the rain the laughter has kept on coming, sometimes laughter is all we have here

On Halloween we had no power so the night of pumpkin carving and bobbing for apples that was planned did not pan out, but we improvised with the one flashlight and battery powered ipod speakers we had to have a makeshift American Halloween in Azerbaijan. They do not celebrate Halloween here, but a lot of people, at least around here, knew what it was and knew that it was in fact a national holiday in America J That same weekend is where the candle light tea party picture comes from. The day after Halloween my sisters had a get-together with their friends at my house. We ate a beautiful meal outside that my mom spent all day preparing and then moved inside to chat and drink tea by candlelight. Mary, another volunteer, got to come because her host brother is a school friend of my sisters. The two of us had a good time trying to understand all that was being said and just experiencing this younger generation of Azeris.

This week brings on another set of teaching practices in actual classrooms and the usual language lessons, among many things that I could never predict, as everyday does here in Azerbaijan. My focus is on getting better because I really don’t want to get the flu again and on figuring out one-how to say cornstarch in Azeri and two-where I would find it. Miss you all and appreciate all of your letters, messages and support- it keeps me going here!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fast Hello

I just wanted to touch base with everyone. I haven't been online in a while and want to make a quick post (its getting dark and I need to go home so don't have much time)! So here is a quick picture look at my recent life.

Day one of teaching local English classes for practice. It rained so hard and the streets flooded! We were not prepared and didn't have any coats. This is Lori and Beka.

So we all sat inside at Mikes house for a while, avoiding the rain until we had to go to teach.

This is how we catch the bus. Stand on the side of the freeway and wait for it to stop. We also have to run across the freeway frequently to get where we need to be. Oh Azerbaijan.

This is my family. My mom and sister and my mom's sister and her daughter. Jenny is another volunteer who lives with my host aunt.

And the last week we didn't have power for a while so we did everything by candle light. I just thought this picture was really cool of our candle lit tea party.

Sorry I didn't really get to do an up date or explain these things better, I promise I will later this week. Just know that I am good and continuing to live my life one day at a time and to the fullest!