i finally figured out a way to upload videos. i hope. let me know if it doesn't work....
SO please check out this hilarious (for me, maybe not for you) video of day 1: Novruz. Novruz is the Azerbaijani new year. it is not a religious holiday, but a traditional one. The official big day is the spring solstice (march 21). this holiday involves a lot of kabob and date eating and the jumping over of small fires. i especially like this latter part. please see the following video if you'd like to see my host dad, brother, and mom jump over our own little fire:
Basically, for the 4 Tuesdays (starting at sundown) leading up to the spring solstice, Azerbaijanis celebrate through eating with friends and family and bonfires. I'm sure there are some other things involved and I will relay that information to you all in due time.
here is a video of menim novbem (my turn) over the fire:
on another note, this morning was interesting for a couple of reasons. first, when i went to go get breakfast, i noticed the presence of two strangers: a woman and a young girl. i could tell immediately that they were not wealthy individuals. when i greeted them, the mother (i assume?) began saying something that almost sound like a prayer (...Allah...something something). my host mother sort of intervened and told me to go ahead into the kitchen. as i walked into the kitchen my host mom was walking out with plates of cake and food for the visitors. in other words, my host mom invited two kasib (poorer people) into her home and was feeding them. it was one of the most simple and kind gestures i've observed in a while. i also felt absolutely strange, as a peace corps worker, to be sitting at the breakfast table with an elaborate breakfast spread out before me. after all, i thought i was here in order to help people...but apparently, i'm fine dining with the rich! i'd be a fool to complain about good luck, but the moment was surreal. i did not choose my host family and i did not choose mingechevir. i did not know i'd be placed in such nice surroundings. i'm grateful, but i know i can't get lost in it either. i've got to emulate my host mom and find more simple ways to help people. also, i hope to copy her behaviour when i return to the states. every once in a while, I'd like to feed someone who needs it. ok ok...i'm rambling. "do good" blah blah blah. you get the point :)