Saturday, December 29, 2007

And I'm Back

Well it’s been a while, but it’s good to be back. Mainly that means that I’m back to Lankaran and things have finally calmed down a little bit. It also means that I have electricity in my house which is an improvement. About two weeks ago, the power went out in my house. This isn’t that odd or even that bad a thing, as you grow accustomed to this sort of thing. The problem was, all my neighbors had electricity and mine was the only house that didn’t. That was annoying. So I burned through a bunch of candles and took to reading by the lights at the end of the lighters. I called my landlord and they came over with a neighbor but couldn’t figure anything out. It wasn’t that big a concern since I was heading to Barda and Sheki and I figured I could deal with it when I got back. So I got back and was hoping that the problem would have just fixed itself, but no luck. Later that night, the landlord came over with an electrician and after poking around a bit, the power came back on. We celebrated with high fives. They left and about an hour later, my power was out again. It came back a couple hours later, and has been better since. It’s not that bad a thing, but my computer only lasts 7 minutes on a full battery and you can only read so much. Oh well. Last weekend there was a Christmas party at my friend Jason’s in Barda and a good number of volunteers went to celebrate the holidays. It was a good get together with a lot of good food and friends. We didn’t do anything spectacular for the party, but it was definitely a good time.

On Sunday, Rikki George, Ashley and I went to Sheki to spend Christmas with Magda at her apartment. Basically this meant spending a great deal of time watching Christmas movies, like Elf, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and many others. First, though, we went to the fancy pants hotel in Sheki and got ourselves some great food. We got cheeseburgers, club sandwiches, fries, and stuffed chicken. The food there is really good, but a bit pricey for us. It was still worth it though. The highlight, for sure though, was Polar Express. Sheki has a small movie theater and we managed to find a time when they wouldn’t be having any customers and rented out the theater. They played Polar Express for us and we had Coke and popcorn. It wasn’t the same as the theaters in America, but it was really awesome. It was definitely better watching that movie on a big screen rather than a small laptop. Other than movie watching, we hung out, laughed a ton, walked around town for a little bit and played a lot of Life. That game is crazy. On Christmas night, we cooked ourselves a chicken, some pre-packaged stuffing, rice, instant mashed potatoes and some whiskey. It was really, really good. Everything tasted so great. Afterwards we made sock puppets from the kit that Ashley’s sister sent to him a while back. This was also a lot of fun although I was disappointed that we didn’t get to put on a theater show with the puppets because a lot of the glue hadn’t dried yet. So that’ll have to wait, but it just gives us more time to think of some good skits.

On Thursday, I was back at the office. Aygun had organized an office party to celebrate the new year and invited a few people to celebrate with us. She also planned a small game with small gifts. Each person had to grab a sheet of paper and complete the task that was on it in order to earn their prize. Mine was to say the Peter Pecker tongue twister, but it was Parrot Peter instead. Weird, eh? I succeeded though and got my prize which was a little mouse on wheels. When you pull it backwards on the ground a few times, it can roll away on it’s own. It’s perfect for my house and everyone got some sort of mouse gift because next year is apparently the year of the mouse. Who knew? We also had a bunch of snacks and fruits and balloons which led to a great balloon fight. Afterwards, Rufat took one of our new lawyers, Rahim, me, one of our old lawyers, Ziya, and Arzu (she was in town as well) out to dinner. He had brought some boar meat to the restaurant that they cooked up for us and we also had turkey and the usual assortment of bread, veggies and stuff to eat. The boar was so good, I could have finished it all on my own. After some drinks and some singing (they made me bring my guitar, and Rufat, Rahim and Ziya started singing some classic Azeri songs), it was time to retire for the evening. On Friday, I met Arzu for lunch and hung out at the office. We don’t have work all next week so now I have plenty of down time to catch up on some stuff around my house. One exciting development from this week is I found Mountain Dew bottles in a tiny shop right by my house, so they can be sure to get more of my business now. So far, we don’t really have any big plans for the New Year, but I think we’ll buy some fireworks and wander about town and see what trouble we can stir up. Should be a great time. I plan on going to the host family tomorrow and seeing what they are up to. That’s about it for now I think. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and enjoy your New Year’s celebrations. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 2008 already, right?

The pictures are of my plate of food from Christmas night (to make you all jealous), the sock puppets that we made in Sheki, Aygun playing my guitar and “singing” a song, the New Years tree in my office, all the snacks and what not from the party and everyone from my office except Aygun (she’s taking the picture). From left to right, there is Arzu (doesn’t work with us anymore), Rahim (new lawyer), Shabnam (another new lawyer), Rufat (director) and me.


Blogger Marlys and Alison said...

I just read your blog--I'm here for a year teaching in Baku on Fulbright. I have a break from school right now and am hoping to head down to Lankaran to visit for a few days with teen daughter and husband--if you get this in next day or three, I'd love to connect with someone down there who can suggest things to do, a clean cheapish place to stay, have tea. I speak some Azeri but it'd be fun to hear what others have discovered in the area...
Enjoyed the descriptions of your time so far--

3:32 AM  
Anonymous dad said...

Looks like there is some sort of shadow around your chin and lower portion of your face. Is that an attempted beard?

11:13 AM  

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