So, I've been in Azerbaijan for a little over a week now (I think, haha). It has been a whirlwind of a week! After a lonnnng plane ride, we arrived to a town that starts with an N that I can't remember to a hotel called AquaPark, complete with 4 water slides and its own discoteca...welcome to Azerbaijan I suppose! haha We were there for a few days learning policies/theories/practices of the Peace Corps and also some beginner Azerbaijani, the language not to be confused with the person (cough cough Rebs).
On Saturday, we loaded up and headed to our training sites. Mine is called Masazir, which is actually very close to Baku, the capital, where we are not permitted to go for at least a month. We don't want to be getting too Westernized! It was incredibly awkward arriving to our host families initially because they don't speak English and we sure as hell don't speak Azeri. And if you know me, you know I was pretty much giggling the entire time! haha. But, it was so nice because I'm basically treated like a goddess here. They wait on me hand-in-foot, or hand-and-foot, whichever it is. I have my own room with two twin beds, a mini closet and a desk. The food is... umm... interesting. It's good, it's just not anything I would actually cook for myself. Also, the more grease/oil, the better... pardon my english, but i guess it just helps it to all come back out as smoothly as it went in. pleasant, huh?! hahaha. And we eat a ton of bread, which is good. Overall though, my house is really nice, way nicer than I expected. I took my first bucket shower the other day, we bathe probably once every 3-4 days, and in the Winter it will be less. I actually did not mind the bucket shower.
My town (Masazir) is new and under construction which means it is quite muddy because its been raining pretty much since I got here. One of the girls in my group lives with one of the town's leaders (=mansion) and he deemed his house the HQ for our group! "Guesting" is a common thing here, which is something I could definitely get used to. This basically means going to visit your neighbors. Everywhere you go, you will have tea and some type of food. One of my friends ate 3 dinners the other night as he was "guesting". Another friend of mine saw her family cut up the sheep they had just slaughtered in their back yard on the table where they eat without any plates... appetizing.
My family is made up of a Mother (ata), Father (ata) who is only home at night, and 2 sisters (baci), one is 16 and giggly like me, and the other is 23, she is so helpful and great to me. The 16-year old is a dancer for the Azeri National style dancing/team and she was showing me some moves, and then declared me an expert dancer of that style. haha :)
I am so happy here, but definitely feel as though I'm on a trip or at summer camp. The reality of 27 months has definitely not set in. My host family almost died, literally, when I told them I may not see my family for the duration of this time.
I miss you all and hope all is well in America! Please write emails/messages because I love reading them when I have some time to get on the Internet.
As for now, Salamat Galin (see you later!)