Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gurban Bayram Break

With a week off of school for the Islamic holiday of sacrificing sheep, I was able to travel down to Lankaran and Lerik. The fall colors up in the Talysh Mountains, where Lerik is located, were absolutely amazing! Took my breath away; I love fall :)
Look what I found in the Lankaran bazaar guys!? This man made two keys for me and I felt right at home watching and listening to him do it. Mason and I explained that my family has a machine like this at home and he was happy to be a part of many pictures.
Later, up in Lerik, a German journalist came to do research for a story she was writing on the longevity of life in Lerik. So we all went out on the hunt and tracked down this man, Kishi who is somewhere between 105 and 145 years old, haha.
And this precious woman who is 112, with documents to prove it!
In both cases these people did not speak English, Azeri or Russian. They both only spoke Talysh, a language little known to the world and we had to have their worlds translated into Azeri so that we could translate them into English, so that they could be put into German! This is Mehbuba's, the old lady's, son with Mason; he was our Talysh translator here. We had quite the day! One for the journal and book to come ;) If you want to read a more in depth story about our day check out the tourism blog that Mason has created for his business, CBT Azerbaijan, in Lerik. Its definitely worth a read! And it has more pictures :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Collecting Fruit

Yesterday at Zeynab's we spent the day getting a package ready to send on the train to her husband in Russia. It was quite the process- Mom, have I said thank you enough for all the work you've put into packages coming here!?!?!-and it wasn't complete without persimmons. We went out to the garden to collect some to wrap up. This is Zeynab in the tree throwing persimmons down as her daughter and I collected them.
Going to Zeynab's is always fun for me, they are my Azerbaijani family. But yesterday was exceptionally fun, I can't really explain why :). And the day ended with a beautiful sunset! This picture doesn't even capture the pink that was in the sky.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Ahhh yes. Its like summer in here with my new pech (heater). No more 7 pairs of socks, 3 scarfs and gloves to hang out in my house. And just think, its only just November; good thing it got here now! Made in 1980 this metal box is built to last and my entryway and bedroom are really heatin' up now!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I got ready for school this morning eating oatmeal and watching "Love Actually" and the sun come up simultaneously. An hour and a half later I braved the three minute walk to school and entered into my normal, crazy life of children yelling my name from the windows and as they zoom past me down the hall. With my register in hand and Zeynab by my side, it was off to the 6th grade. After teaching a few other classes I went home to start cutting and washing beans. I want to freeze them so that when all the beans run out in the winter, I'll still have some to eat :) We will see how that turns out! That's when I got a call from Zeynab to meet her down in front of the school and go home with her today. I hurriedly put on my jeans and shoes and was out the door. But before we could go to her house we needed to go see her sister and brother-in-law's new store! We spent the next 45 minutes eating all the sweets we could from off the selves while chatting (I mostly listened). Soon enough it was on the bus and down to Zeynab's house where we had delicious pizza and hot tea awaiting us. Then it was out to the garden, to the Persimmon tree. Zeynab hit the tall, tall branches with the longest stick we could find, as I gathered them from the ground, sticking them in my pockets, up my selves, any place there was room to hold them. With Persimmons in hand the two of us decided to take a walk along to river behind her house and had a nice long talk. Our friendship only gets stronger every time we see each other, which sometimes is everyday! After a while we turned around, I had promised to teach her daughter to carve a pumpkin and it seemed like that right time to do that. So we collected a green pumpkin from the garden and Salmi and I cut it and carved it and turned it into a two faced creature! After lots of pictures and laughter it was back to work. Zeynab needed to clean the potted plants and bring them inside for winter. So I carried them to the outdoor sink while she wetted a wooden broom and splattered them with water until they were good and clean. One of these plants was tall and wilty looking but smelled of citrus. She crushed some in my hand for me to smell. These pieces I then, of course, accidentally sniffed up my nose and spent the next few hours sneezing and uncomfortable as leaves moved from my nasal passage to my throat and mouth. We all had one more round of tea and talk before I got on the bus home, with my plant starts and bucket for my own indoor garden in hand. And right on schedule, on the bus, I swallowed the leaves from my nose. Now I'm home, watching the sun set from my kitchen window as I finish preparing the beans to be frozen and realizing that I haven't had gas all day, so I guess the beans will go into the boiling water another time. Maybe I'll just watch the ducks out the window as they move from puddle to puddle, or, maybe I'll just get in bed and watch a movie :) Anyway, I just thought I would share my typical day with you all at home. Sometimes its rough going, but days like this leave me with a smile on my face.