1. Holding $3,454 in my bag while watching a video made by the woman i'm giving all this money to. this video is of her incredibly recent religious pilgrimage to iraq (she is shia/shiite muslim). she is pointing out all the tanks and american military posts she passed along the way. the money is for women's education.
EXPLANATION: Today, my sitemate, bev, and i received the grant money. finally. it was for $3,472, but the bank took $20 off the top. don't ask why. the money is for bev's counterpart, kuraman, and bev's organization, the mingechevir women's computer center and lab. the money is for five new computers and one new printer. anyhow, after a whole day of hullabaloo we finally had the american dollars in hand. while waiting for kuraman's neighbor to arrive and give us a ride to our next destination (the computer ordering destination) kuraman shows us videos she recorded on her cellphone during her recent journey to important shia muslim spots in iraq. something about it...for me...was surreal.
2. Realizing my Azerbaijani friend, who is leaving for America in 3 days, has never heard of either the Nazi party or the holocaust. Therefore, I'm explaining it at his goodbye party.
EXPLANATION: What can I say? At the goodbye party were 7 americans, one british dude, and Elvin, our main man who is departing for a year of American university. Was I surprised he had never heard of either? yes and no. The Nazi aspect of WWII is important to Americans and Europeans, but I'm not surprised the importance does not hold up world wide. The sad sad unforgivable truth is that genocide is no longer uncommon.