The fam at the toy. Notice my smile...
Derek got a gerber daisy for me on Thanksgiving day.
This photo is self explanatory.
So sorry for the delay. We’ve had a couple of busy weeks. Also, sorry for the lack of pictures. To be honest, we haven’t had time to completely figure this blog thing out.
Happy Thanksgiving! We celebrated by going to Baku for the day with my LCF and a few of my cluster mates. We went to an Irish pub and it was awesome. I never thought I would be so grateful for a cheeseburger on a holiday, but it was delicious. The Guiness was pretty amazing, as well, so much better from the tap.
We were able to talk to Derek’s parents very briefly on Thanksgiving Day, but my family called later that night. I was able to talk to my sister, Alina, for the first time since being here. I also got to talk to my grandma, parents, a few aunts and uncles and my cousin Miranda. Then, we were able to talk to Mom and Dad Johnson, Dacia, and Kaylee on Friday. It was hard being away during the holiday, but I’m so grateful we can communicate as easily as we do.
I met my counterpart last week. She will help me integrate into the community once we get to our site and I will also be teaching with her. She is so sweet. I thank God that she is so eager for us to come and is so encouraging. The school I will be teaching at is apparently small and very old. She told me the students are eager to meet me. I believe I’m the first volunteer they’ve had. I’m ready to get there. I’m ready to be in a place where I can start building real relationships. Right now, I feel as though I can’t because we’re leaving so soon.
Derek and one of his cluster mates have been doing a basketball club at the school where their language class is. He’s having fun with it, really enjoying the kids. He’s teaching them how to shoot, dribble, and then they play a few games. I’m glad he’s been able to play. At our site, he’ll be working at a youth center that has a large sports facility. I’m hoping to play volleyball with some of the girls. Apparently girls don’t go to the center, but maybe I can help change that. As you all know, I’m a lot of things and athletic ain’t one of them. Oh well, I’m gonna have some fun while we’re here.
Derek’s LCF asked if we would want to play/sing a few songs at this concert next weekend. Derek said yes so apparently we’re going to be part of the show. We’re planning on playing a few Avett Brothers songs and maybe one of our friend Isaiah’s. Should be entertaining.
We have less than two weeks left until we’re sworn in as volunteers. Even though it feels like we’ve been here so much longer, it seems strange that we’re about ready to go off on our own. I’m excited, but nervous. I’m a little sad about not having any site mates (other volunteers from the States) but I’m so glad that I have Derek. I can’t imagine doing this without him. God knew what was best for me when He placed Derek in my life. This has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’ve wanted to go home on more than one occasion. Derek is wise, though, and has listened with patience. Later, he has told me just what I need to hear. We’re here as long as God wants us here.
We got an envelope from our friends Tera and Ryan two weeks ago. It was so good to read their words and have pictures to remind us of good times. We also got a package from Derek’s mom and dad. We’ve been rationing the peanut butter and granola bars. Ha! We are so blessed. Thank you all for thinking of us and praying. We love you.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Hope the Christmas shopping is going well. Think of us while you’re decorating your trees. This is my favorite time of year back home, but it’s good to be able to focus on the reason behind our celebration. I was thinking the other day how sad I’ll be on Christmas without our family to share it with, but the beautiful thing is that God sent His son and it was the most perfect gift. Being halfway across the world doesn’t change this. That’s what I’m going to dwell on, the truth and not what I’m missing. I hope this truth warms your hearts as well.