So as I just mentioned women do not do many things alone outside of the house, including exercise. However, I feel very lethargic and want to get some exercise. So I decided that Tuesday (my day off) I would go running. I made sure it was okay with my host mom and asked her when I could go. Again, I can’t reiterate the fact that it is very very uncommon to see people running, espeically women. She said I needed to go at first light – which is 7 am right now. She was worried that I would get lost but I reassured her that I would not get lost, that it would be fine. I was really excited because at that point it was the first thing I was allowed to do alone. I didn’t want to blow it because I wanted them to trust me to do other things by myself. So I woke up at 6.50 am changed clothes and quietly left the house to go running (everyone was still asleep). I went outside, feeling pretty good about myself, and got to the compound gate and couldn’t get it open! I was like man, ‘what am I going to do, how am I going to get out?’ Well, I guess I made enough noise trying to open it that my host aunt came out to open it for me. I tried to explain to her in my very limited Azeri what I was about to do. She said ‘No, no, I should run in the yard.’ I said ‘no, no I want to run outside.’ So she opened the gate for me and said that she would leave it cracked for me. I was like no need, I won’t get lost. So I ran to my school and back, went down a bunch of random streets (which one street lead me next to a grave yard and to the Caspian Sea – I hit that street right as the sun was rising, it was beautiful), and then I decided I should head back home. I had only been running for 30 minutes, but I didn’t want to push my luck on my first time. So I made my way back down the winding streets and ended up at my market (there is a market on almost every street corner) and then I ran down the street looking for my house. Honestly, I was feeling pretty good about myself and that I didn’t get lost. I was cruising down the street looking for my green gate that was cracked thinking that ‘It can’t be that hard to find.’ Right, again this is me who was confident that I wouldn’t get lost – what was I thinking. I went up and down that street, turned on side streets and couldn’t find my green gate to save my life. By this time it was after 8.00 am and I know I needed to get home, but I had no idea how to get there. I knew I near my house because of the market and I saw the owner outside his shop (women also do not speak to men (or look them in the eyes), so I had never spoken to him, but I knew he knew who I was). It was getting late, I didn’t want my family to worry, and I was starting to get a bit panicked. But to top if all off this was one chance to prove to my family that I could do things on my own and I didn’t want to blow it. I really didn’t want to ask for help, but I didn’t know what else to do. So I finally worked up the courage (after repeating “Where’s my family?” (the closest thing in Azeri I knew to I am lost and need directions) to talk to the shop owner. So I start walking towards him now and then all of sudden, by God’s grace, I saw my green gate cracked open a hair – but only it was grey not green!
But wait, it gets better. So I go in the house (everyone is still asleep and I am so thankful that I didn’t go to the shop owner because he probably would have called my family and woken them up) and go to get some water. So the situation with water is that it has to be boiled for 3 minutes (and in some cities filtered) before I can drink it. So I realize that I don’t have any boiled water, so I need to boil some – can’t be that hard right? Well, this is me we are talking about! I go to the stove and turn on the gas – nothing. No big deal I just have to find the matches and then light the pilot light. So I found the matches above the stove and get the gas going no problem. I then try to open the lid of the tea kettle, but I can’t get it open – it is stuck. Well, I am like okay there is a little water in there so I will just use was is in the kettle to boil. So I boil the water and try to listen to hear when the water is boiling (I lifted the spout so it wouldn’t whistle because my family was sleeping). So I did and then poured the boiling hot water into my nalgene and poured the rest in the pitcher for water on the table. Now the kettle was empty so I wanted to refill it with water, but as I was trying to figure out how to put the water in the kettle I finally got the lid off. I refilled the kettle and decided to boil more water to completely fill the table pitcher. So I refill the water and start to boil it again. However, as I am boiling the water with the lid off I realize that I wasn’t actually boiling the water before! So I had to pour out all that water and start all over again! So about 30 minutes after I arrived home I had a nalgene full of boiling hot water (which was really boiled for 3 minutes.) Then about 2 hours later I was able to enjoy drinking not scolding hot water after my run! I laughed so hard at myself for my run, but as much as I blotched everything up I was able to do it myself! Tomorrow (I am typing my posts at home on Saturday to take to the internet club on Sunday) morning I am going to go run again, but hopefully this will not be such an ordeal! In fact, I am going to go boil my water right now so that tomorrow morning it will be luke warm!