So this is a big month, beginning with an even bigger week. Presidential Election on Tuesday, my sister Sara's 21st Birthday on Thursday.... God help us all.
This past week I began my teaching Practicum, which will continue into this week, finishing up this Friday. Everything went as smooth as could be expected, which is really not so smooth here, but nevertheless keeps us on our toes. The schedule, nearly 2 months into school, is still not set. We found ourselves planning for classes that were non-existent. Eventually, I stopped planning until the hour before class began. The children are, for the most part, awesome. They are so eager to learn and participate in the activities we planned, even if they have no clue what they're saying in English! Tic-tac-toe, where you have to say a sentence to put an "X" or an "O" for your team was one of the craziest, but most fun things I have ever done with a group of kids. Overall, I love teaching, I knew I would. I feel like it's something I was born to do... now, if only I can muster up enough energy every day to do it! It really makes me appreciate the awesome teachers I've had in the past.
My host family continues to be awesome. I feel so priviledged that I get to live with them and that they let me in to their lives. Southern hospitality "ain't" got nothing on Azeri hospitality, that's for damn sure. Yesterday my mother memorialized her father's death, God rest his soul, with a huge dinner. Almost all of her 9 brothers and sisters were there, with their children and grandchildren! It was crazy and exhausting but so much fun. If you ever think you need a confidence booster, you should go anywhere in Azerbaijan where there are older women.... "ayyy, gozel"... "Ayyyy geshengdir"... "Ayyy buuteefuul". Anytime I say anything in Azeri, even if it's just "Salam" they are super impressed. I'm pretty sure I'm going to come back with a huge ego. There are worse things I suppose.
I knew yesterday would be a good day though, let me tell you why. As I was leaving my house to go to school, I shut the gate behind me. I glanced around to take in my surroundings as I saw an old man shuffling by. He looked at me for a while as I tried to pretend I wasn't looking at him (nothing unusual), but then the best thing happened. As he turned his head, he confidently and loudly said, "Goot Morning"... I laughed not so quietly and all I could give him was a giddy "Good Morning." Then I continued walking, listening to my Ipod. Usually I listen to Alanis Morisette or some angry rap (you know to get ready to face the world with a straight face, something very hard for me!), but that man had put me in a good mood so I switched over to Celine Dion's version of Feliz Cumpleanos.
Other things that happen this month:
1. I find out my permanent site on November 14th. I'm anxious but somehow not nervous. I know "que sera, sera". Good lord, I'm so lame. Don't hate on my cliches! Sometime later in the month I get to visit my site, which I cannot wait to do.
2. November 15th I get to finally go to Baku. It's been built up so much I have to wonder how great it will actually be when I get there. I'm hopeful...
3. November 6th, although I don't get to be with Sara to celebrate what she sees as this world's biggest holiday since Jesus was born, I do get to go to my first Azeri wedding. Oddly enough the word for wedding in Azeri is "toy"... they seem to agree with my thoughts on marraige. This is a big deal in this culture, so I cannot wait! I'm going with my family who thinks I'm an expert Azeri National Dance dancer... this could be disasterous.
4. November 17th I hope to go with my 16 year old sister and her friends to some play in Baku. I don't even have words for what this will be like.
5. Thanksgiving. My favorite American holiday. I've informed my host family about this holiday and about the fact that it's my favorite so they have graciously invited everyone from my group over to do whatever we want to. I think burritos and apple pie are on the menu.
Well, that's all from me this time. I'll be watching the elections on my friend's family's satellite TV on Wednesday, hopeful for our country and its relations with the rest of the world. Until next time...