Friday, February 26, 2010

Guesting Fun

So I went guesting to Yagut's the other day. Yes, the same Yagut where I had all my facial hair removed and became a dress up doll for her middle aged women wardrobe and wig. So what happened in this latest adventure? Lets just say a picture is worth a thousand words. And I would be lying if I didn't actually want to do it myself. What can I say, I am a girl after all.

Below are some kids who came to my house last Sunday for pizza. The very first time they have ever eaten pizza. Sometimes I forget that I am the only 'piece of America' they have known or ever will know. Kind of a scary thought. After we ate we played outside a bit with a Frisbee and volleyball and then came inside for a game of Skipbo.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How I've Changed

A few things that don't phase me anymore:

1. Having to pay extra at a store because you asked for a receipt

2. A store not having the coins you need for change so instead you are given matches, candy, or a pen

3. Having guests come to your house and stay from 11am - 4pm and thinking once they leave that they only stayed for a short period of time

4. Not remembering the last time I changed my outfit and yet continuing to wear it daily

5. Using a broom to sweep my carpets and thinking it is perfectly normal

6. Not knowing anymore if what I do and don't do is normal by Azerbaijani or American standards

All I can say, is watch out America. Every time I come back from overseas I always have new habits that disgust and drives my family crazy. I can't even imagine what you all will think of me now!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gaining permission

Last week Fizuli (the director of an organization I work with and Yagut's husband, if you remember her), Anar (the trainer for Fizuli's organization), and I went to Fizuli Region, a bit confusing I know. We went to gain permission from the Ex-Comm (if we were given his permission then everything would fall into place) and the Minister of Education to receive permission from them to do an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in the IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) schools there. So the interesting thing from this is that we (and when I say we I mean Fizuli because I didn't do any of the talking for two reasons: 1. my language ability and 2. I am a woman (even if I knew all the Azerbaijani words needed to talk about HIV/AIDS I wouldn't say anything because I would not have been taken seriously and then we would not have been given permission for the project). So back to trying to convince them. After we went through all the proper channels, i.e. meeting with 6 people first, then we were finally able to meet with the Ex-Comm. In his office, which was bigger than my entire house, no lie, Fizuli and Anar had to repeat over and over that we were going to focus on transmission through needles (a serious problem here) and not focus on sexual transmission in our project. The Ex-Comm (and therefore the Minister of Education) finally agreed that we could do the project, but we have to be very careful that we don't talk a lot about sexual transmission, just mention in passing so to speak. The other condition is that they may not allow girls to attend the trainings because the topic may be too inappropriate for them.

Side note, in the meeting with the Ex-Comm at one point he asked Fizuli if I understood what he was saying. Fizuli said no and then the Ex-Comm proceeded to talk a really long time about very inappropriate topics (lets just say prostitutes was the start of this conversation). So while the Ex-Comm was going on this tangent, for a lack of a better word, I sat there and pretended that I didn't understand what he was talking about, since Fizuli said I didn't understand. Afterwards I asked Fizuli why he said I didn't understand and he just laughed. He said he knew I understood but could tell the Ex-Comm really wanted to "get this stuff off his chest" and knew it would help our chances of getting permission and if he knew I understood he would never had talked about it. I just laughed. Oh the politics of getting stuff done.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowed In

Last week I went to Baku for Az6's Mid Service Conference. Well, on the day we were suppose to leave, we got snowed in the hotel! So we stayed a day extra and finally were able to leave the hotel on Saturday, but not allowed to leave Baku because of the road conditions. So, Amy, Jessica, and I headed over to stay with the Riders (American family working in Baku who Jessica and I often stay with) for a few days. We went sledding, played games, drank hot chocolate, and ate awesome food. Once we were finally able to leave Baku I was very excited to see the snow disappear as I headed back down to my region. But, I woke up today and it is snowing here! No love for me, I can't escape it. I am just hoping our pipes don't freeze again; they did a few weeks ago and it made me really understand how much I value running water. I will have to say that I have almost mastered the art of cold weather dressing. Today I am wearing: hiking boots, two pairs of socks (one is wool), leggings, thermal long johns, pair of pants, thermal shirt, long sleeve shirt, hoodie, two jackets (one North Face and one Patagonia), scarf, and gloves. Yes, I am a wimp, I know.
Amy (another PCV), me, Aaliyah, and Elisabeth

me and Jayden getting ready