Well, here in Imishli summer is coming full swing, i.e. it is super hot! I am thinking that I am might die for my first summer her. Just kidding. But it will be a hot one because it is so hot now and it is only June. I am told that the end of July and August are the hottest times. So how do people here stay cool, in the land of heat and no air conditioning? All windows and doors stay open at all times, fans, and take multiple cold showers a day. Within the walls of my yard it is not so much because I can wear tank tops and shorts, but outside of my house and yard that is not permissible, dresses, skirts, and t-shirts are what women here wear.
My 25 minute walk to work gets me nice and sweaty, but I wouldn’t move away from my host family for the world. Last Friday and Saturday my host mom and I made my favorite jam for me to have with my tea. (People drink tea with pastries, sugar cubes, chocolate or jam. My favorite thing to have with my tea is jam.) We made red and yellow cherry jam for me. We started by de-seeding all the cherries (and with the yellow cherries we put small pieces of cut up lemon inside each one) and then added sugar and bit of water, cooked into jam and then canned it. I have them in my storage room waiting for me to open and use for the next year. As my favorite fruits for jams come into season I will continue making 1 kilo of jam at a time.
Also, one cool thing happened yesterday (Sunday) that I want to tell you all about. So the family structure here is quite different. Families are super close, brother, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc… And it is definitely a male dominated society. What the brothers and fathers say goes – no matter if the brother is younger or not. The males don’t want the females to being doing things that could compromise themselves. For example, my host brother gets angry at my host mom for going to the bazaar (the market) (it is not a place for women; men should be the ones going). My host uncle got upset with my host sister because he went to visit her two times in Baku (where she goes to university) and she wasn’t at home either time. He wanted to know where she was and what she was doing that would take her away from home. To us these things are no big deal, but here the women’s place is at home. Anyway, so yesterday I went to work and then after work I went to Amber’s house for a bit. I cam home about 4ish. Well, my host brother was upset and asked my host mom where I was and why was I out so long (he is home from university). He was thinking I was at a guy’s house or something (big no go here); he said is not okay for me to be out that long, that I need to be at home. Okay, so I am thinking you are 7 years younger than me; I don’t care what you think I am doing, I will do what I want (my host mom told him, it is okay because she is an American. Her answer for all the seemingly weird things I do.) However, I was very touched because I know that he accepts me as family if he is upset about where I am. So that was pretty cool. Of course, I am still going to do what I want, but it was special for me to know that he is caring for my reputation and welfare like he would for his sisters and mom.