First things first, my address has changed. If you would like to have it, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) because I cannot post it. Lo siento.
Second, Christmas time has come and gone… and New Years is coming quickly! Although it was a sad time to be away from family and friends, we made our own Christmas celebration over here something to remember! My friend Jane hosted a total of 8 people at her little apartment in Lankaran, which luckily for me is only about 20 minutes away. Others traveled from far away places, some traveling for 12 hours and more! We spent two days in Lankaran watching movies, sharing some fabulous conversation, cooking delicious meals and making Christmas the best it could possibly have been (which wasn’t half bad!) However, on thing cannot go without mention. Although the cooking and convos were excellent, one of my favorite things we did was when we put on a performance of Shakespeare’s, The Taming of the Shrew. One of the girls brought a souvenir she had bought from Germany, called Shakespeare in a box, complete with props, director’s notes and shortened versions of The Taming of the Shrew. Our version definitely rivaled the ever popular, Ten Things I Hate about You. Oddly, I played Catherine, the helpless little shrew who became tamed after just a bit of lovin’ from her determined suitor! I wanted to gag. Haha- kidding.
As for Christmas back home. My mom made Sara call me while she opened up my stocking- so lame! How much cornier can you get?! But I loved it. I cannot wait to receive the Christmas gift package; Inshallah it will come quickly and without passing through curious hands. Speaking of being cheesy, I wrote a poem for my family and made Sara perform it; she said everyone was laughing and in tears. Give me a break family! Haha J I hear it’s been recorded, so that’s another thing I’m looking forward to getting!
The big news from Liman is that I have been filling empty time by going to the New Years parties of 8th and 11th graders. My cool points are definitely racking up, at least among my students! Haha Who knows what the parents are thinking about me? But it gets even better. One of the parties I went to (I’ve been to 3 so far, and 1 more tomorrow) was 8th grade girls and their homeroom teacher, who is one of the English teachers. The teacher asked me at one point if I knew many English songs. I’m definitely a music person, so I didn’t hesitate but to answer yes. Well, to my chagrin, that would come back to bite me in the ass. Not 10 minutes later, the girls circled around me and were all chatting and smiling back and forth with the teacher, who then translated and asked if I “could please sing an English song”. Excuse me, I hastily replied. “These girls want you to please sing a song with English words.” Wow. Imagine my shock, embarrassment and just overall thought of, Am I really in this situation right now?! I knew I wasn’t getting away from it so I decided to just go with it, warning them that my singing was NOT GOOD. All I could think about was how hilarious Sara would find this, and I couldn’t stop laughing, true2form for me! So finally, after the laughing subsided a bit, I burst out with the first song that came to mind, which I am proud to admit was Celine Dion’s, “The Heart Will go On”. I sang one whole verse and then burst out laughing while the girls and their teachers burst into applause. One of the girls said in Azeri, to which her teacher translated, “English men may not like her singing, but we like it”. Haha. Success…. I still can’t believe that actually happened.
Anyway, all is well. I will be going to Baku on Tuesday to celebrate the coming of the New Year there with several of my Peace Corps friends here! I’m really looking forward to it. And not only that, but since there’s a break from school, I will be able to spend a little bit of time with my old host family too while I’m there! So, from me in Azerbaijan to you wherever you may be…Happy New Year. I hope 2009 brings great things for all of us! Cheers!