Monday, January 18, 2010

Something clever.


This is going to be a short one today. Things are pretty much holding steady at where they've been for a while. One thing that is coming up that's different is my starting at the local college next week. A few weeks back I met up with the college director and told him I wanted to start an English Conversation club. He seemed pretty excited about the idea and told me that I would start the 26th, having club two days a week. He wanted to wait until the students testing had finished. I'll have 4 classes a day. I relish this, considering work has been hard to come by lately. Perhaps I'll bump it up to 3 days a week later on.
People wonder, "How could they be bored?" Well I personally think that this is about the worst time to begin anything. The middle of winter, surrounded by major holidays, is a terrible time to get anyone motivated to do anything. Therefore, it has been pretty difficult to get the youth in town to do much more than school. All that being said, I'm ready to get something going.
This last month we have spent a lot of time simply being "out there". People are obviously curious about what the two Americans in town are doing. We've had plenty of chances to explain.
It seems that there are a lot of ties to Germany in Sabirabad. I laugh because I was asked by several people, including professors, if my german minor would do much good for me in this part of the world. I was sure it wouldn't, when in fact, it is more prevalent than one would think. For instance, my host family has a son living and working in Germany with his wife and child. He is working for the government. My host father's mother was full blooded German who married a Russian. From what I understand their family relocated to Azerbaijan when my host father was 7 years old. I was told it was because of Stalin, they say. Perhaps the purges?
I have met several people, including our head post master in Sabirabad, that have family in Germany, know German, or think highly of the country. I have bartered for a pair of boots in a mix of Azeri, English, and German. Our post master, an overall friendly guy, has studied German and will occasionally throw out a few phrases. A nearby shop owner's brother is living there currently, as well as my host father's brother. And finally a guy, who I think is related to my host family, transports random goods from Germany to Azerbaijan by traveling through Visa free countries like Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria (I think), Macedonia, and so on. The trip takes 5 days.
Alicia has set up her schedule at school and currently goes between three english teachers, and all ages of students. There are good days, and not so good days, and most days are cold days. I always loved cold weather, and then I moved to Azerbaijan. It's not the cold that gets you, it's the lack of heat in buildings. Thankfully, and we are, we're lucky to have a peƧ in our room, and our host family is not stingy with the gas. Whenever we are home we are warm, which is more than a lot of people can say. Either way, I'm ready for spring.
We went to our friend Jesse's house this last weekend. It was a nice little get-a-way. We watched movies and ate American food. The next few weekends are booked in the same manner, visiting friends and so on. We are heading to Baku for Super Bowl Sunday. I think the game will begin around 3:30am (Monday). Worth it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ringing in Two-thousand Ten

Yeni Illiniz Mubarek,

So Happy New Year to all. We officially rang in the new year in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, ten hours ahead of our family hailing from the middle west section of America. The city was packed, and several Volunteers came in from the reyons to celebrate. Good times were had by all, so I think. We shared a hotel downtown with another married couple. The cleanliness left quite a bit to be desired, but it served its purpose. Most if not all the Volunteers stayed here. One of the best parts of heading into town was the fact that we were able to get ahold of some delicious food. On New Years night we got a bite to eat at our first stop, Finnegan's Irish Pub. The burgers are amazing. The next day for lunch we found a Chinese restaraunt, which was also, very good. Before leaving we found a coffee shop, Travelers Coffee. Alicia and I splurged and shared a french press with a piece of chocolate cheese cake. Worth every qepik.
It was a quick trip up and back, but it was nice to catch up with the other Volunteers. Vacation is nearly over here and Alicia is about to start back up at school. We've been taking it easy these last couple days, time to get back into the swing of things. I'm trying to start an English Club this month. It's more difficult than I thought to find people, but my counterpart and I are going to head over to the local community college to find prospective students. We'll see. Take care. Hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year, however you decided to celebrate. To those of you who made New Years resolutions, good luck. Until next time....