So Alicia and I have parted ways for a few days to visit current PCV's at their permanent sites. I traveled about an hour and a half from our training site, Alicia, six. We talked briefly last night and she sounded really good. She said her volunteer was really nice and they were all having a good time. Jesse, the volunteer I'm staying with, is a super nice guy. He is from Tulsa, and I told him I have been living in Joplin for the last five years. We're pretty sure we have determined that we know some of the same people. Small world. Jesse and I went to another current PCV's house. They were an older married couple, perhaps mid sixties. We took over bread and salad, and they served egg-plant spaghetti, which was pretty fantastic. I ate enough to last me 3 days. It was nice to be able to sit and talk to them and get their perspective on Azerbaijan, coming from a married couple. It also kind of felt like going to a relatives house for dinner. They were very hospitable. All around sweet people.
These next few days are meant for us to shadow some current volunteers, to see what their working on, and to get some ideas for the future. Jesse is currently leading a few conversation clubs, one of which today, is an adult language club for teachers that Jesse leads at the local college. Other than that, he is going to show me around his town and check out a few museums. I'm realizing the importance of learning how an average work day in Azerbaijan, (for volunteers) differs so greatly from what we would consider an average work day in the states. Some days will be packed full, others won't. Work can be defined as leading conversations, Non-Profit projects, playing soccer with some kids, doing your laundry by hand, or using a bucket system in order to wash your dishes. "All in a day's work" is kind of a funny statement here. It can really mean just about anything. I'm excited to see what the future holds. Everyone is pretty quick to say that no two Volunteer's experiences are the same, but the wealth of handy advice and information is something to soak up.
post script: I have been meaning to put this on the blog, and I keep forgetting. Our host mother and her sisters/nieces/great nieces... basically all the women in her family and local neighbors/friends are all eating Alicia up. They are always so excited to see her when they come over for dinner or tea. Several times already, I've heard a knock at the door. I go to see who it is and it's one of our "host aunts".
I say "Salam, siz necesiz?" (hello, how are you?)
She responds; "Alicia harradidir?" (where's Alicia?)
It's nice to see them pour over Alicia and tell her how beautiful she is. Most of the time she is in her pajama pants and a t-shirt when they come, wearing no make-up. She tries to tell them that she is not looking "guzel". They won't hear it.