Monday, November 13, 2006

America Day in Sheki

It appears some of you are getting awfully impatient about these blog updates. I hope this one will ease your craving and meet your lofty standards, Marissa and Zach. Anyways, lots of stuff happening lately. This past Thursday, Ashley and I traveled from Lenkaran to Sheki, a beautiful little town in the mountains in the northern/central region of Azerbaijan. We got there Thursday and met up with everyone and went to our friend Charlie’s apartment/house. The bus ride was very long and it seemed like we would never get there. It was entertaining though. Right when we walked on, the first thing you saw was a bunch of huge wicker bags filled with various fruits placed all the way down the aisle way and covering the last four rows of seats. In order to get to our seats we had to climb around all these bags and maneuver your way into your chair. Good stuff. Then, about halfway through the trip, Ashley took out his computer and we watched some Simpsons episodes. This caused a huge commotion on the bus and created a lot of interest in us. A little kid really liked my Bears hat that I was wearing and I let a guy listen to my iPod for a little which he really enjoyed. He was dancing to 311 and a little Guns ’N Roses. The reason for this journey was because the volunteers in Sheki, Charlie, Magda and Josh, organized “America Day” and they needed help from other volunteers. Josh’s organization allowed us to use their office to have a bunch of Azeri kids from the area come over and learn about American holidays and traditions. We had one room where they learned about Thanksgiving and one room where they learned about Halloween. I was in the Thanksgiving room and we put on a great show. We did a small play about the first Thanksgiving. I was a Pilgrim. There is a picture posted of the play down below. After that, we had everyone make hand turkeys out of construction paper and we went around in a circle and everyone told what they were thankful for. We also had cookies and apple cider for the kids to eat and drink and everyone enjoyed themselves. In the Halloween room, they explained trick or treating and the carving of pumpkins and all the other fun stuff we do. Then they showed a Simpson’s Tree House of Horror episode which got a bunch of laughs. After this we went bobbing for apples. Some of the kids were reluctant at first, but after a few people went they all got really into it and volunteered to stick their head in a bucket and grab an apple. Finally, we explained the rules of football and headed over to the stadium and played flag football. Everyone seemed a little confused at the rules and there were a few mishaps, but once they played a little bit everyone got the concept and had a blast running around. Some of the kids were really into it, which was good to see. This all took place on Saturday. Friday we did some preparations and then Charlie took a few of us on a walk around the town. We went up one of the hills/mountains to a very old gravesite and watched the sunset. The pictures with the view is from this spot. It was gorgeous up there and the weather was nice for it too. It was a little chilly once the sun went down but it was well worth it. Charlie took us through the town on the way back and we saw two of the museums (didn’t go inside, but they were impressive from the outside). One of them had two absolutely enormous trees in front of it. They were huge and definitely worth writing home about. I couldn’t even come close to getting my arm around the trunk. After we went out to eat we headed back to Charlie’s to relax and hang out. We were sitting around, kind of bored, when Charlie noticed that the barrier between his living room and kitchen made an excellent viewing area for sock puppets. We then did sock puppet skits for a while which was hilarious. That tuckered us out so we all went to bed and got ready for the big day which was to be Saturday. After the football game was finished, we again headed back to Charlie’s where there was a big pot of chili waiting for us. It was delicious. We had sour cream, shredded cheese, and oh yeah… delicious chili. We ate a lot and hung out the rest of the night listening to music and relaxing. All in all it was a great time. The journey back was very long and tiresome, but that was expected so at least it didn’t sneak up on us. Plus today (Monday) was a holiday so we didn’t have to work, so an extra day of rest to recover was well spent playing Monopoly. Ashley and I also practiced for the talent show that will be after the thanksgiving dinner at the embassy. We’re real excited, but I can’t share what we are doing yet in case some other volunteers look at this, but I will let you all know how it goes. If you would like to hear more about my adventures in Lenkaran, please view my friend Ashley’s blog at Me and him usually hang out and do the same things together, but he might have some different pics and a different way of telling stories. That should about cover it. Enjoy the pictures!


Anonymous magda said...

What I find most interesting about this, is that you posted it whilst I was already reading your silly little blog. Ahh I love using the internet at 'work'

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Zach S. said...

Tom, way to bring them real football. If freeing the Azeri's from a game created by European women while their husbands were in the kitchen is your one contribution, it will be a great one.


4:07 PM  
Anonymous Dad said...

Great fun, Thanks for pointing us to Ashley's blog. Between the two of you we get a pretty good story. He seems to update more often so we will check both.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Erin (aka the coolest girl you know) said...

American Football (not FUtbal)! woo! wow Tom, those pics from the sunset look profesh! Gorgeous!
Bear Down Chicago Bears!!!
Love. Miss. :)

10:01 PM  

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