Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Quick Rundown Of Life In Azerbaijan

The past few weeks have been perhaps the most demanding and confusing of my life.  Hillary and I are currently making our way through pre-service training, which includes intense language classes and technical training for the jobs we'll do once we're at our permanent site.  Our daily routines include lots of walking to and from the bus-stop, dealing with amazing amounts of dirt and mud everywhere, and overall feeling confused and bewildered by this strange, beautiful place.  It's hard to really explain what we're going through, so here's a brief list of a few of the things we've experienced here:
  • Wild dogs roaming the streets
  • Crazy howling wind and debris -- making our walks interesting and/or awful
  • Various animal parts on the street -- a goat leg here, a cow jaw there
  • Not one, but TWO different butcher shops proudly displaying a cow head on a cinderblock in front of their store.  Fresh beef, y'all!
  • Seeing a lamb getting skinned on the street in front of my school.  The lamb's head was about two feet away.
  • Being treated like celebrities by the children at the our schools.  Everyday we're greeted with shouts of HELLO! WHAT IS YOUR NAME! WHERE ARE YOU FROM! OBAMA!
  • On the bus home from school, there was an engine problem... so the bus drive opens up a compartment INSIDE the bus, take out a wrench, and fixes it WHILE HE IS DRIVING.
  • The thrill of managing public transportation here all by myself... only once did the bus miss my stop, and I had to walk 4 blocks down the highway.
  • Teaching the children at our host home how to high-five, as well as the 3 Japanese words I know (thanks, Kayo!)
  • The family car at our house has no passenger seat -- that way we can fit all 8 of us in it on the drive to school each day
  • Doing laundry by hand for the first time in my life
  • Eating a fresh pomegranate plucked right off the tree
  • The victories in the small connections I'm able to make -- with the custodial staff at my school, local shopkeepers, and the kids in on my street
There's much more to this story, so please stay tuned.  As we figure this place out, I'm sure we'll have much more to say about it.  Right now, we're on a day-by-day basis, with plenty of ups and downs.  We miss you all so much, but as you can see, we're keeping busy.

Take care, all!!

/ / / /


  1. I am fascinated by your comments. Brings back so many memories of life in Iran. Same butcher shops. Fortunately, we had a a military commissary to purchase groceries. Do you have anything like that, or do you have to purchase everything local? You are going through a culture shock. What an education you are getting!
    Love, Grandma Z

  2. I'm eating a pomegranate today! You're doing great, Broseph!!!

  3. A Pomi a day keeps. . . stray dogs away?
    Lots of new - new smells, new sights, new circumstances, new languages, new culture. Quite an experience - just keep your eye on the goal, and perspective will return.
    Praying for you both-
    Aunt Gini

  4. wow! loving these updates.

    last night I met Tim and Kim's son Max and then Tim and I rocked out with GBV... you were missed!!

  5. Aaaaaah!!! I am loving this!!!!! It sounds like a wonderful adventure so far!!!!! I can't wait to hear more! Love love love from Nairobi!!