A friend of a friend (i.e. a PCV's, in another region, Azeri friend serving his army service in that PCV's region) is from a village of Imishi. My friend suggested I go visit his friend's family. So last Sunday was the day I arranged, through my friend's friend, to go visit his family. I had been talking to the mother on the phone several times through out the week finalizing the arrangements. We decided on a time and that the father, who has a friend with a car, would come get me in instead of me taking a taxi. (Let me just preference I had never heard of this village before so I had no idea where it was. I asked around and got a general idea of the location I was going.) I was looking forward to the visit, I felt like I had everything set up. Time, ride, informed the mother I don't eat meat (even more awkward than telling a complete stranger I am coming to visit and listing off food I can and can't eat is showing up to their house with a huge meal prepared in your honor that you can't eat because everything is meat) - all checked off my mental list. I thought I was ready until Saturday night. I had borderline anxiety about going and that's when I realized I really don't like meeting new people and I have become borderline antisocial. The thought of me being the center of attention for minimum 5 hours of guesting, trying to plan how to politely get out of spending the night (normal for guesting), making small talk, trying to avoid being forced to eat so much I explode, figuring out how I will get a ride back to Imishli... had me thinking I am too old for this and wandering why in the world I agreed to guest at complete strangers' house.
Well, Sunday morning I woke up, I ate as little as possible to prepare myself for what was to come, made a coffee cake as a gift, packed up my photo album (pictures and family videos come out for every guesting experience and bringing my own is a great time filler), packed my box of chocolates for a gift, packed my tp (third to keys and phone on my check list when I leave my house, don't like using my hands) and decided it would be easier for me to wait on the main street for the father to come get me (I gave them my address but considering the roads nor houses are marked I decided to wait outside).
So I am waiting on the street for a someone to come up to me, who has never met or talked to me nor I have ever met or talked to him, and ask me "Are you Hannah?" I am banking on him being able to find me easily, since I completely stand out every where I go. After this man comes up to me, then the plan was to get in the car with the two random men and drive 40 minutes or so to a village I have ever heard of and spend the rest of the day at their house. It was not until I was already in the car and well on my way did the thought occur to me that this might not be the smartest plan in the world. It seemed completely normal to me, completely legit for here, and then I started to laugh because I thought this would freak my mom out.
But, as I knew I it would be, I was completely safe, everything was fine. The family is very nice and I enjoyed spending time with them. It was a bit awkward at times, but that is to be expected. I only stayed for a little over 5 hours and left with a parting gifts of some of my favorite foods. (They were at a complete loss of what to do with me. They wanted to give me eggs, but I don't eat eggs. Then wanted to kill a chicken for me and give me that, but I don't eat meat.)
What I took away from this experience: coffee cake is a huge success and I will now bake it for all my guesting adventures.