Monday, December 04, 2006

Only 21 Days Till Christmas!!!!

Big news day!!! Only 5 more days until I will have a copy of our Bon Jovi performance at the Thanksgiving Talent Show so you all have that to look forward to as I hope to make that available as soon as possible. Secondly, Ashley and I won our second week in our NFL Pick ‘Em Fantasy League, which means that two guys in Azerbaijan have beaten 11 people in America twice at picking football games. Thirdly, Da Bears clinched the division yesterday, which is nice. Some may even say it’s pretty neat. I’ll go with both. Anyways, this past week was a busy one, as we had meetings galore with CHF, an international NGO, and CDC, the Community Development Committee in Lankaran. Ashley, Tim and I also met with two youth groups in a sort of conversation club where we talked about potential projects to do with them as well. Beware: a talent show was mentioned. The meetings seemed to go well and I wrote a couple of project profiles which we will discuss tomorrow as CDC and CHF will gather once again and hopefully decide on a project to move forward with. The ideas center around developing tourism in Lankaran. One is about developing brochures and travel maps that outline the main attractions of Lankaran and the southern Region, and the other is about running a Customer Service Training Seminar for local business managers and owners. Eventually we want to have a Lankaran Days Festival, which I am really excited about, but there is a lot of work to be done before we get to that point. This weekend brings more travels for Ashley and I as we plan on heading out to Volunteer Sara’s in Siyazan. As always, we are excited about meeting up with other volunteers and seeing more parts of the country. In other news, the weather has been quite nice for this time of year. I have a feeling it hasn’t rained nearly as often as normal. Yesterday was about 63 degrees at it’s warmest and was perfect for throwing a baseball around on one of the streets (thank you Mom and Dad!). We couldn’t use the fields because it had rained for most of last week, but the street worked just fine. Ashley only threw the ball into the gutters that line the streets twice, which is better than expected. There was a small gathering of kids that stood there and watched us for about 20 minutes. They were content just watching and didn’t want to try to throw or catch. It was kind of funny to watch them all flinch whenever the ball went within 30 feet of them. Not much else is new so I thought I‘d share a normal day. I wake up around 9 and get ready for work. Once there, I generally wait 10-15 minutes and chat with Aygun or Ziya until Arzu shows up to let us in. Then we chat for a little and I study my Azeri and have Aygun write sentences in English and I translate them. Lately I have been working on project write-ups or just help around the office where I can. Ashley does his daily check in call around 10:40-11 and we talk about anything that may have happened over night and what may be happening during the upcoming day, such as where we are eating lunch, his house or my house. At 1, Ashley comes to my office and we head to his house or mine for lunch. After that we go run some errands around town, or play a quick game of Yahtzee if my room isn’t too cold. Then it’s back to work. While not writing sentences or project profiles, my main duties around the office are carrying the generator outside and starting it when there is no electricity, and when there is electricity, I carry the generator inside. Sometimes I go with Ziya to get more gas for the generator. We’re working on getting me more to do. Seriously. At 6 I head home and change clothes and hang out with the Fam for a while. We watch a lot of Turkish music videos, and lately we’ve been sharing pictures of family and their trips they have taken. When I’m tired I head up to my room and either watch a movie or read for a while then go to sleep. That’s about it around here. OH! Ashely and I had Kraft Macaroni and Cheese last week. It was insanely delicious. We made it without milk, but we added bacon bits (all of this courtesy of Marissa and Sarah) and I added Tabasco sauce (I’ve been throwing a bunch on everything I eat since I’ve received two bottles). Ashley and I just sat there and enjoyed every bit and licked the bowls clean. We also watched the Bears beat the Giants this past weekend and couldn’t help but notice the Jalapeño Cheddar Double Melt from Wendy’s. We actually re-wound the commercial twice to re-watch it and drool on ourselves. Someone has to let me know how good that thing is and make sure Wendy‘s keeps serving it until I return. Also, this past weekend, while writing letters to my friend Jackie’s students, my host brother ran in the room and said there was an earthquake. He said the tv and tables shook, but Ashley and I did not notice anything at all… so the status on the earthquake is still pending. We are leaning towards no, though. People at work confirmed this. This evening while watching tv, I saw perhaps the most ridiculous and aggravating commercial ever. It was for diapers for little kids, and wouldn’t you know it, they played the Macarena in the background and the kids danced around in their diapers. I cannot escape that song… EVER. Anyways, besides that, things are awesome here. Hope you like the pictures, there’s a lot of them and probly took me forever to upload. Peace!

There is a picture of Ashley’s Nene when she had me over and we grilled Kibobs. She’s awesome. The next bunch of pictures are my house and family. There is a picture of the “back yard” with the chickens. Then there is the outside area where we hang out in the summer, with the spiral stairs to the new part of the house where I live as well as the purple Lada. I love that car. Next are outside pics of the house, starting with the old part then the new bigger part (my room is the window on the left). The picture of the street is my ‘hood. Notice the brand new pavement, it’s neat. Next is my room, notice the tiger print blanket on my bed. I also like to keep some clutter on my table to make me really feel at home. The next picture is the huge shelving unit filled with the fine china. Not one piece has been disturbed since my arrival, amazingly. Then there is the “hamam” with the shower and toilet. Next is the kitchen with the sink and stove on the right and a bed on the left. The next picture of the shelves with dishes is in the same room. Then there is the family room, with the tv and another bed, and the next pic is the same room with the kitchen table where Ulvi is doing some homework. Finally there is a picture of my Mom, brother Kanan (16), my Dad and Ulvi (13). Then there is a picture of Mom, Dad and me. They rock and that’s about it. Hope you like!


Anonymous john (Tom's Brother) said...

Did anyone else notice that there is not a toilet seat on that toilet? Anyway, nice pics, keep them coming and we're looking forward to the video!

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Zach S. said...

The picture with you in the Bears sweatshirt is awesome. I'm gonna have to send you some more gear.

I hope they find you some more work soon. I mean, if you're asking for more work... well, then they need to get you some. 'Cause I've "worked" with your lazy butt before, and I know what you consider the bare minimum.

10:22 PM  

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