So tomorrow marks my 1 month anniversary of leaving home, and Wednesday marks 1 month of being in Azerbaijan! I cannot believe it has gone by so quickly, and yet so slow. I think all the changes I have grown accustomed to makes it seem long, but the fact that I've done so much and learned so much in so little time makes it seem short.
Yesterday, our entire group of 61 people (no one has left yet!) went to visit Gobustan and the mud volcanoes. Gobustan was alright, there's a ton of history there! The mud volcanoes were awesome! They were basically these little hills of mud that had methane gas pushing up from the ground, making cold mud bubble up. It was like they were talking to each other in blurps, so fun. It's always nice to be with the whole group, too, because mostly I'm with my small cluster of people for daily language training. My cluster is great, definitely, but it's fun to compare stories with the rest of the group. After returning, Johanna (my good friend and sitemate, luckily!) and I cooked my family a delicious dinner of spaghetti and garlic bread. They loved both, to our pleasant suprise!
Since I last blogged, it's been pretty much business as usual. My host family is great, I am really going to miss them when I have to leave in December to go to my permanent site. They have really taken me in, and I've grown close to the 23 year old, Gulcin (jewel-cheen).
So, Paulette says I should give you a kind of "day in the life" type thing, so here goes. I wake up at 8:00am every day (except Sunday) and get dressed, brush my teeth and eat breakfast all in 30 minutes before I leave to catch the marshrutka (kind of a minibus/van type public transportation thing) to go to language class. I am usually wearing a skirt with tights and a conservative shirt, topped with a scarf and my Northface jacket, and my flats, which are usually muddy by the time I get to school, just like everyone's shoes. Somehow the locals manage to keep their shoes clean, but we still haven't figured out how/why. But yeah, we all pretty much wear the same outfits over and over, we've learned to embrace that fact. We have a cluster of 5 people, 4 girls and 1 boy, and we have language class from 9am-1pm. During class, the kids of the school where our class is are constantly knocking on our door and screaming to us through the crack in the door during their breaks. "Allo, Allo. Wat iz yoor name? My name iz." Somehow we never actually get to know their names, just "my name iz." haha. Then, I return home for lunch, usually soup or some meat and potatoes type dish. Lately in the afternoons, we have had TEFL sessions where everyone who is here to teach gets together for our job training in Sumgayit, the closest city (about a 20 minute marshrutka ride away). The marshrutkas cost 20 gepik (cents) for one way, cheap! Then I make it home for dinner and some quality time with my family, and then it's off to bed usually around 11:00 pm. So wholesome :) I am loving life here, and truly feel like this is where I'm supposed to be at this time in my life. I feel very happy and content with Peace Corps Azerbaijan- yay!
Thursday, we begin our Teaching Practicum! We observe a class for 2 days and then we teach it for 10 days! I'm nervous and excited to get started. I feel like I don't really know what I'm doing, but that anything will be appreciated. The kids at school are extremely energetic and I think excited for us to get more involved with them. Any teaching advice/activities/materials would be helpful and MUCH APPRECIATED!
Now, anyone of my family members or friends who is reading this: I am extremely disappointed in your letter writing skills! :) haha. The emails are AWESOME! Please keep them coming... but come on people, have you lost faith in the snail mail system?!? I love getting mail and I have yet to receive a single letter... get on that! The postal system is so much better in the US, take advantage of that! :) Love you guys and girls, and miss you all!