Monday, October 27, 2008

Supar donuzlar! cluster 32

my cluster's mascot (supar donuzlar = super pigs. please see above).
my clothes on the line

my cluster on the beach right next to where we live (from the left: andrea, kathy, linda).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

actual words? inshallah!

so much to say and no time. as usual. AACK.

i'll start from the beginning i guess:

packages do arrive here. this is good.

i started a five day internship today and i'm happy about it. the NGO is in the exact line of work i'm interested in learning about and contributing to. it is half vocational training and half microloans/grants. in general, i really want to be involved with MFIs (micro financial institutions) that incorporate a degree of education, and financial education in particular, before giving out loans. it appears this organization does precisely that: it trains youth, 15-30 yearolds, on a specific vocation (they become apprentices) and on business plan writing. if the youth graduates, then they become eligible for loans. this organization also works specifically with IDPs (internally displaced people) and is largely funding by UNHCR, which is the refugee relief leg of the UN. the main lady there has an amazingly kind and patient way about her. i hope to learn and lot and to figure out a way to contribute to who are already highly educated english speakers.

what else can i say? i finally get infront of a computer and forget everything. the mud volcanoes are hilarious. they erupt slowly in these big bulbous bubbles. for some reason they draw me in, like some sort of slow meditative trick keeping me in a trance. and then when they burst i laugh like a 5 yearold.

yesterday i had my first fully azeri conversation with my host mother. this was an amazing feeling. it keeps me encouraged.
oh, and i started sunday soccer with my pct friends. it is amazing. it was so much fun. we played in the worst conditions i've ever played soccer in, but it was thoroughly hilarious. we played on sandy mud that was squishy in some serious wind. whenever i passed the ball it came back to me. i'm still sore from it, but i think we will all keep it up and play every sunday. hopefully we'll find a better field for the next time, but i'm not counting on it. however, it's all part of the fun...adusting to some funky conditions. the funniest part, i think, was when huge pieces of trash would blow across the field faster than we were running. ha

mud volcanos and beat up marshrutkas. and some gobustan.

more goychay

goychay mtn views

Sunday, October 19, 2008

goycay, mud volcano, soccer vs. wind and more

i'm so pissed i can't upload photos right now. i have great ones and i'm excited about them too because they are beautiful. guess what? the whole country is not as polluted as sumgayit. i went to goycay (pronouce goychay) in the middle northern region. goychay is known as the land of nar (pomegranite). i stayed with a PCV (hooray for Kat!--her name--) and yes, we made nar pancakes. they were fantastic. goycay was described to me as being run of the mill, but i thought it was lovely. the streets were paved, there was NOT as much trash at ALL, there was a drainage system for water (when it rains, this is important) and you could see mountains in the distance! as soon as i got on a marshrutka (mini bus) and hit the countryside i was at my happiest thus far. awwww mountains. azerbaijan is small but just so so diverse in it's natural beauty. i hope to be placed in the north.

rut roh, i have to cut this short. consider this part one.

but yes, it was sweet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

this is my hometown beach...i ran on it yesterday!

so i can run now!!!! yay! and i run in the morning and watch the sun rise over the caspain. so romantic...except it is obviously SOOO industrial. below is what a soviet style apt looks like

random selection of pics....i can't see what i'm uploading

my school...the basketball court and the caspian sea
ecological disaster in tagiyev...number one

school 19, ced classes spot

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Yag City

i promise to get pics up next time! i may have figured out/heard of a way....

about my ability to receive emails:
i messed some info up.
FIRST: indeed, i now can receive gmail emails on my phone. however it is really expensive.
SECOND: i can ALSO receive yahoo emails on my phone. so what i suggest is the following:
THIRD: if you want to send me the equivalent of a text message (short, not requiring a lot of writing back), then please send it to yahoo. if you want to send me a real deal email: then please send it to gmail.
FOURTH: thanks for writing at all! i love it, please keep it coming.

yag is butter, by the way. my family laddles it out for everything i eat. and yet, my host mom still complains to my LCF that i don't eat enough butter and sugar. is she crazy?!

about the tetracylcine green beans (it was lunch today, btw): apparently there is a sort of folk belief that adding tetracycline to stored foods helps to make sure the water is more sanitary and clean. i'm just glad im not allergic to the stuff, but i'm scared they mix in other things i do not know about. yikes!

my sister washed my clothes for me the other day in a washing machine. i'm pretty lucky about was fun seeing my stuff hanging from a gigantic clothes line. i took pictures, of course. will the novelty of clothes lines wear off? i bet it will.

today during class i heard a cow moo outside my window. it was excellent.

the only other thing i can report is that my house dynamic has changed. i apparently live about five other people. the father and son both work in oil and they go to work for a week to fifteen days at a time. so, right now the father is gone and the son has returned. they will switch off like that. it's a full house alright!

Friday, October 3, 2008

the death of freedom

ominous sounding title, i know. but it's true. i like my family a lot...they are fine. well, minus the time my mother started jarring green beans with tetracycline. i don't know if i'll every understand that, but it doesn't make me like them less. that is for sure.
but, yeah the death of freedom. i can't go anywhere but to school and to home. it can be really frustrating for me. as you all know, i'm very used to freely moving about. i knew this would be restricted, but i didn't realize to what degree. a lot of this has to do with my particular cluster site. i am in a much smaller area and there is no place for me to go unless it is a fellow pct's apartment. so, im very inactive. VERY. and that's hard. i can't go to the beach to go for a walk. i can't go to a restaurant. i can't even just sit outside...there is no place for sitting for women. this might sound scary, but it isn't scary. or, i'm not scared. however, i'm definitely not free in any capacity. other pcts, however, have a lot more freedoms than me, so this is a personal challenge for sure.
so, what do i do? i try to stay busy. i go to school from 9-5 most days and then i try to think of something to do for as long as i can. some days this just isn't a possibility. sometimes, i feel awkward because i'm just lingering around other pcts because i just don't feel like going home.
my home is very nice environment, but it is small and all i can really do is paint, study, and read. which, is a good thing i guess. at least i can paint! that is a life saver. but, yeah...i can see the "gaining weight" dilemma happening. if a person cant move and only gets fed starch, then we all know what happens, don't we? my theory is this: my pants can't get dried in a dryer, so as they stretch out, they will reach some sort of size harmony with my waist and i'll never need to buy new clothes! that, or i'll stay the same size (a girl can dream, right?) and i'll just start using a belt. that works too.

i want to clarify something: i DEFINITELY still receive emails through gmail. however, i can't get them as often. however i did learn that i can receive text messages from at least at&t and t-mobile on my cellphone at no extra charge!! so text away! i shouldn't make my phone number public, but if you want it, then please email me in some capacity.