Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I hope your holiday was as enjoyable as mine! :)

These are the kids' pumpkins all lit up at night! They are so great! (Today I'm going over to my teacher's house to carve some with her and her kids cause this just turned out so good, I wanted to keep sharing!)
Mason and I with all of the 6th graders in costume ready for the audience to come! Mason came up to help me get the kids pumped up about acting scary during the play.
All off their moms and siblings (and lots of other teachers) came to watch the performance. It turned out so SPOOKTACULARLY!
This whole month has just been fantastic for me. My class has shown so much creativity and eagerness to learn. I was completely impressed by their costumes and how scary they could act! Thanks to Bonnie and family for the Halloween package, I shared the candy with the kids during the week to reward their hard work and gave away the decorations you sent as prizes during the play! The kids thought the decorations were SO cool :) Now all the kids want to do a New Years play! So be excited to hear about that one. I know I'm excited to keep teaching them in this way, using creativity to help them think outside the box-I really think I can feel accomplished about the way this class has started learning and that feels GREAT!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Carving Pumpkins!

I taught my 6th grade students how to carve pumpkins today! We went out to my garden and 10 kids turned 5 pumpkins (or squash) into funny jack-o-lanterns! One of the squash was so big the kids cut it into two.
We are going to use them as decorations for the Halloween play we have coming up this week.
They have never done anything like this before, they wanted to know if we were going to eat all the goo we took from the inside (I know, you're thinking about the seeds but we didn't go there. Plus you clean all the goo off)! But they caught on so fast and were so creative with their silly faces!
Getting ready for this Halloween play has just been awesome! On friday my class came after school and spent 2 hours watching "Hokus Pokus" and drawing decorations. One girl even gave me five drawings of witches and bats and things that she did at home over the weekend! I have been completely inspired and energized by their enthusiasm and creativity in all of this and I can't wait to do lots more hands-on projects with this class!

Thursday, October 14, 2010


So yesterday, I made chicken stock! You all would not believe the things I am cooking over here! I never, ever cooked at home; it wasn't my thing- I didn't enjoy it. But as it turns out, cooking is a wonderful art to master and that, I have decided, is something that I am going while I'm here. We Peace Corps volunteers need to have lots of goals. But not all of them need to be about Azerbaijan, and this one is about myself. Just wanted to share that with you all.

If you have any recipes you LOVE and can make with no more then a fridge, stove, oven and minimal pots and pans (I may be a chef, but I'm still a PC volunteer ;)) send them my way!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cold feet?

In Azerbaijan there are a few different ethnic groups in certain regions (none of which are close to Qazax unfortunately). One of these groups are the Talysh people who live down south in the Talysh Mountains near Lerik and the Iranian border. In Azerbaijan the Taylsh are known for their sock making (along with other things). Its been cold here this week so I've actually been wearing mine around the house, see....
(My bedroom! Go Dawgs!)

One of the volunteers that lives down south, Eli, has put together a website so that anyone can buy these awesome socks. I wanted to share it with you for a couple reasons-one is that they keep your feet really warm! ;) And maybe more importantly is that all of the money spend on these socks goes back into community projects. I also want you all to see how some of the non-English teacher volunteers spend their time in Azerbaijan. So if you're interested at all go to to have a look for yourself- its a pretty cool project.

As for me, school is starting to take a little bit more of a shape, more of a schedule and real classes. I'm holding off on my clubs until I know the exact schedule (which isn't this week) so I know what days and times I'm free. But Zeynab and I are starting to put together our Halloween play. If you think of any good Halloween costumes for kids that can be easily thrown together from things around the house let me know!

And congratulations to my friends Molly and Levi who just got married on Saturday! Wish I could have been there; I heard it was absolutely beautiful! Best of luck you two.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nar Season!!!

Hello and welcome to one of the best parts of living in Azerbaijan! Its Pomegranate ("Nar" in Azeri) season! I have been waiting for this time since last winter :) I remember last fall like it was yesterday- being plopped down in a crazy place, not knowing exactly what the hell I'm doing, but having enough Nar the feed an entire country, right in my training host family's back yard! Now I've been here for one year (to the day I might add), sometimes I still feel like I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but at least I have Nar! Of course now I have to buy them at the store...
So this is what I'm doing today, came home from school, bought some Nar on the way and now I'm cleaning, doing laundry (yep, those are my clothes) and eating Nar. And lets be honest this is what I'll be doing everyday when I'm finished with school and clubs and what-not- I'll be eating Nar :)
Its still 85 degrees here, but now its not always sunny (like today). Next I'll get some pictures of the Nar trees cause they literally grow like weeds on the side of the highway here; they are EVERYWHERE! And the trees might be one of my favorite parts about the fruit, they are quite whimsical!