Saturday, October 30, 2010

If you were a goose, what would a great joke sound like?

Sadly, Joey and I don’t have the answer to this title question, but we’ve definitely speculated that a joke must be involved in goose conversations to makes all the neighbor geese go into a tizzy. If it’s an awesome joke, it makes those 5am outbursts a bit more bearable! We have manages to get used to the roosters, but those geese are a piece of work. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the level of humor is on the pun level… but that’s ok.

Falling out laughing is also what the locals seem to do when we ride on public transportation. Backpacks don’t help us blend in. Our Azeri skills seem to be comical in our efforts to get off the packed vans. Joey really did make a lady laugh out loud with his request to exit, which is pretty hilarious since public transport is pretty solitary with the exception of the music.

I ate a whole pomegranate (nar- the shorter Azeri word.) without making a mess, laughing and actually talking Azeri to my 7 year old host sister Nargiz who reminds me of my beautiful nieces back home. This is a girl with very few front teeth, always tries to catch my eye, loves to make funny faces in between her amazing grin and giggles and when we don’t understand each other (often!) she will pinch my cheeks. She typically is the best part of my day! By the way, we have nar trees in our garden and they are in season!

Where we’ve been and what we’re doing

Last week Joey and I traveled to Kurdamir & Shamika, which is basically central Azerbaijan to visit current volunteers. We had the most amazing time learning about where we might be in a year from now and how it really does come together, even if we’re not so sure right now. Joey and I both were able to observe within the roles we’re assigned (Joey teaching English & me working with youth) and it’s really exciting to know that by the first of the year we will be our site making things happen. Until then, we are appreciating our lives with our host family, learning an amazing amount of information and spending quality time with the other trainees.

Google Gobastan and AZ mud volcanoes. We were at these cool historic and natural places with the Caspian Sea in the distance last weekend with our PC group and had a blast– Once I have enough time at the Internet café, I’ll be sure to post some pictures.

As of this week, we have now had our site placement interviews our mid point verbal language exam. We’ve been working so hard and picking up the pace this week with an extra 3 hours of language training on top of our regular 4 hours, 2 hours of other training and basically 2 hours of travel. Apparently training is designed to toughen you up! With our placement interviews, this was basically the time where we talk about our interests and ourselves, then our program managers figure our where we best fit in the country. (I’m picturing super complex desk moves from my past…not easy!) Joey and I continue to make it a challenge since it’s always harder to place 2 people in the right site but we feel pretty confident about our abilities and flexibility. We have the potential to know our permanent site within the next few weeks, so it will be really exciting to learn about our new home and our future opportunities.

MAIL – Please feel free to write us! We have found out that most mail takes about a month for us to receive it so this is a great next 2 week to write us. It’s possible we will have our permanent address within then next two weeks, so this is it until December. If you’re inclined to send a package, you might want to go in with a group since we’ve heard they’re pretty expensive to mail. We would happily accept any treats you think we might enjoy. Here’s the temporary address!

PCT Hillary & Joey Zielazinski
Peace Corps Azerbaijan
Sumgayit Şahari
Azerbaycan Pr. 15
Merkezi Poçt



  1. Sounds like you are getting involved in the culture. Really enjoy reading your blogs.

    Love, Grandma Z

  2. I will send you mail... but probably not until 2011~ I am so glad to hear things are going well and loved seeing the pictures of your smiling faces!

  3. I'm protesting your lack of posting by making up a fake one.

    Joey and Hillary are now experts at avoiding feral dogs. They throw small pieces of meat to distract them. Joey can now throw like Jose Conseco. Hillary opened a small center for girls and teaches hopscotch and typing (the home row girls! keep your pinky on a!).

    Joey has eben assigned to a school. He is the media annd projector guy. This is honorary; there are no projectors. The media is pictures he holds up and moves around really fast.

    We miss you! Love Mike