Friday, December 19, 2008

Different kind of life

So my first full week of work is coming to an end today. Well, maybe it is better to say full week of work as in 5 days straight! I am not the busiest yet, but I am pretty confident things will pick up after the new year. Right now, there is not much point trying to start new activities and what not when everything will be closed within a week for new years holiday. So I will wait until the beginning of January before I attempt to start conversation clubs and what not.

Another first week, yesterday marked my first full week living in Imishli and I find myself worrying about things that I have never even phased me before. Like, when the pipes freeze how will I get water to drink? (Not to shower - least of my worries is if I am going to miss my weekly shower!) Or will I be able to force myself to use a pit toilet that is full and overflowing? (No lie, pit toilets do fill up! Who knew? I alwyas thought they had bottomless pits that just went on forever! Thankfully for me though just two days ago my host family got someone to come suck it out (while I was actually using it - let me just say nasty!)) Or when the power goes out what am I going to do to pass my time? Or did I wear enough layers to sit in a room for 3 hours without heat when it snowing outside? (Oddly enough, I have decided in situations like that it is actually warmer outside than in!) Or am I going to be home before dark, if not do I have an escort to walk me home? However, despite the new concerns I face I can't think of anything else I would rather be doing! I am very happy here and I look forward to all that is to come!

On a lighter note, I am officially that girl stops traffic! Like the girls on TV who walk down the street and everyone stops and stares! Who know I could have the affect on people? I was walking around the city the other day and due to my outstanding looks (actually due to looking completely different) a car just stopped in the middle of the intersection, leaving angry drivers behind him, and stared at me has I passed. The cow walking down the road even stopped and stared! hahaha. It was pretty funny. Speaking of which, you all might find it interesting to hear what I see as I walk to work. Mind you it takes me maybe 13 minutes, more like 7 min for a normal walker but as so many people like to tell me I walk slow, to walk to work. One day walking to work, pretty much through city center, I saw all this on one trip: trash fires burning (the preferred method of disposing of trash), a cow just wandering around alone eating trash of the street, a man walking carrying a turkey by the legs (fully feathered) with its neck broken, cow entrails chillin on the street outside a butcher shop, the cow head (detached from the body) with the brain exposed sitting on the ground, the cow skin over in another area, and the actual cow cut up in to sections hanging the awning outside the butcher shop. Quite different than my 15 - 20 minute drive through down Six Forks to get to my work in the States!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Address!

Finally, I have my new address! I have posted on the right of my blog. I am currently at work so I don't have a lot of time this second to write an update, but I will write more later this week.

Few quick things of interest though. It is snowing here. Unbelievable! As many of you know I don't like the snow so I can't believe that is snowing here! (Just light snow, but sticking to the ground.) Today was the second day since I got here that I woke up to no water - frozen pipes. I don't think that is a good sign of what is to come! :) Everyday the power goes out, usually only for a couple of hours though. What else? I think that is it for now. I am doing well and have Internet at work so hopefully I will be much better about updating everyone and quicker to respond to emails!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My first days as a Volunteer

Well, I did it! I am officially a PC Volunteer! How exciting. Wednesday we had a two hour long ceremony with speakers and all the works. After we took the oath to swear in as PCVs I felt like I should change the side of my tassel or throw my cap in the air (neither of which I had!). It was really exciting though. Sorry for the lack of pictures, my camera is broken, but as soon as I get pictures from other people I will post them (which will be a while because we are all not scattered over Azerbaijan!) Afterwards the majority of us went to the local favorite hangout for the "after party." In complete un-Azerbaijani fashion my host mom, who came to the ceremony, said I could stay out as late as I wanted. So, being the wild child that I am, I came home at 7.30 - way after dark (which now is getting dark a little before 6.00)! I spent my last night hanging out with my host family and trying to figure out the impossible task of fitting all of my stuff in one suitcase. Which, FYI, didn't happen so I had to leave some stuff at my host family's house and I will go back in a month or so to get it. (This is after already having 2 suitcases in Imishli at my site mates' houses full of my stuff.) In my defense, I have been given so much stuff (sleeping bag, water filter, fire extinguisher, carbon monoxide detector, medical kit, mosquito net, and not to mention the massive amount of books from the PC - so I am not a complete pack rat!)

Thursday morning, I gathered all my stuff and walked from my house to meet up with two other people to catch taxi to Baku - in the rain. Yesterday it really started to feel like winter, dreary, cold, wet, cold, damp, did I mention cold! :) I am a wimp anyway when it comes to cold weather, but I am usually cold here all the time. I have decided that I am usually cold because I am going from cold weather outside to cold places inside. I have not been anywhere in Azerbaijan yet with central heat. That means that whatever electric heater or gas stove the house or building has is where the heat comes from - not always heating up the entire room. Anyway, back on to my traveling. I made it to Baku and found the bus going to Imishli. I got there early enough to get a good seat (i.e. for women the middle of the bus) and get my suitcase in the back (i.e. not having to pay for two seats because there is no room for my suitcase). I waited on the bus for about 45 minutes until it filled up. (The buses leave once they are full - not at scheduled times). We took the Iran way to Imishli meaning that we drove right (literally about 10 feet) from the Iranian boarder for part of the way. Surprisingly the border was not as exciting as I had made it out to be. Just a 4 or 5 ft fence with barb wire on the top - not super impressive. I didn't see guards or anything, I was told later that is because we are not near any cities in Iran. But, I made it to Imishli and went I got to the Cultural Palace (where I was going to meet my director) I told the bus driver to stop and I got off. I then called my director and was standing on the sidewalk with my book bag on, purse, and holding a massive suitcase with a sleeping bag on top - needless to say I looked out of place. Which is probably why I drew a crowd of people. It started with just two boys and then several men came up to me as well. Well, in my wonderful Azerbaijani skills I evidently did not clearly communicate that I was not trying to sell my stuff because they kept trying to buy it from me! It was quite funny, but as soon as my director came everyone cleared out and then I was taken to my new host family's house. My host mother made plov and grape leave dolma for me - quite delicious. Last night was uneventful, we lost the power for a while, but it came back on and I went to bed early because I was exhausted. I am getting a little sick - sore throat, coughing, runny nose - the usual winter cold. But, there are of a number of reasons (if you ask my host mother in Sumgayit) why I am sick - I drink cold water, I walk around a lot, I come and go often (to and from school 2 times a day!), I don't wear enough clothes, etc... - just to name a few! :)

But, I am safe in Imishli and I am suppose to meet with my director tomorrow at 11.00 am to figure out exactly what I will be doing for my job. I am looking forward to that conversation and I am hoping that a translator will be present. I know several people have asked for my address and as soon as I get it I will let you all know. I have to get the help of one my site mates to go the Post Office and figure it out (I don't believe my mail can be sent directly to my house - it comes to the post office and then they call me and I come and get it - I think). Regardless, I need a translator to go to the post office with me to let me them know I am now living here!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Almost offical!

Well, PST is closing to an end and in just a matter of days I will be an offical PC Volunteer! Quite exciting. Wednesday is the big day and at 2.00pm our Swearing In Ceremony begins and soon after I will be offical! It has been a long, but quite short road to get here. Yesterday I had my final PST language test, I feel like I completely bombed it! Yikes! I am supposed to find out my scores tonight, so hopefully I didn't do as bad as I think. Well, just as I was typing I recieved my score - intermediate mid! That is the required language level for a YD volunteer for the end of PST! I am pretty pumped!

I am going to type up a blog at home to post, but I just haven't had time yet. But I will and hopefully Wednesday morning I can make it to the interent cafe and upload pictures and a new post. (These will probably be the last pictures I am able to upload for a while because my camera is busted! So once I leave PST I will not have any friends to bum pictures off of - sad day. I am not sure what happened, but one day I went to take a picture and it won't work. So I guess until I can get it fixed or buy a new camera, no pictures, but I will just try to do better descriptions I guess!) I have been spending a lot of time with my friends, I am really going to miss them once we move to the regions. On a side note, once I move to Imishli even though I won't have pictures, I will have just daily access to internet at work! So at least I will be able to update my blog a ton more!