Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back in the USSR

Back in the (former) USSR
Well, about a three weeks ago, I returned from my trip to America and resumed my second year of two in my stint as a Peace Corps volunteer. America was a great vacation, but it feels good to be back. Things have gotten crazy over there! There are pregnant teens on TV and kids from a place called Jersey Shore going crazy all over the place. I had to ask what was with the fist pump multiple times. I caught myself pretentiously saying “Well in Azerbaijan…” a few times, and felt like a little alien while adjusting back to American culture. I could not speak my thoughts openly because people actually would understand what I was about to say, and getting used to the front seat of a car, or even driving, was a step. I did adjust to good wine pretty quickly though.
The time flew by, and finally it came to say goodbye to my family again. Saying goodbye this time was harder than the first time. I was trying to say bye to my little muffin of a niece and all she had interest in was her new dinosaur walker. My poor father drove me to JFK and saw me off through the security gates while I was teary-eyed the whole time. He was a trooper. But as soon as I got to the gate and boarded the plane, I got excited to come back. I like to travel, and even my eight hour layover in Moscow wasn’t too bad. I got off the plane in Baku and immediately met up with another volunteer to go back to the Peace Corps office to sleep off my jetlag.
The next day, I found out from my sitemate Kate that I couldn’t go home because our landlady needed to use our house. I was homeless, so I spent time readjusting in Baku. A few of us had come back from a trip to America at the same time and we spent time together getting reacquainted with Azeri life. I went from Baku to Mingechevir and it took a total of 4 days to get back to Goranboy. I was uncomfortable the whole time I was travelling and unsure of myself. The minute I stepped back into Goranboy I felt at home again. I got a huge hug and Salam from Kate’s host family and all the kids were excited to see Kate and I (she had gone to America too). I haven’t really fell back into a routine as of yet, but since being back, I have met up with some of my Azeri friends, my counterparts and played soccer with the kids. I have been relieved to realize that I actually haven’t forgotten my Azeri language skills and have conversed all about America and my time away with the people I have grown to love to have a part of my daily life. I have also been able to see my Peace Corps family. They are an incredible comfort and it is great to see them after a while. I know I was only gone for two weeks, but it was a long time to be away!
Now it’s nose back to the grindstone. I have a bunch of projects I would love to do in my community while the kids are pushing to get clubs back up and running. I’ve got less than a year left, and I intend to make it count. The first year went by so fast that I feel rushed to make everything happen RIGHT NOW. And of course, I will write about it.
Okay, per accordance with a friend, I will keep this under a page, and write more often. Expect to hear from me weekly (inshallah) and with shorter, more manageable stories.
Till next time,