almost up to date

July 2, 2007

The good the bad and the hilarious. (In which colleen learns how to dance AZ style and does a dang fine job)
*all blog entries are typed up on my laptop several days before they actually get posted, as I don’t have inteweb access from my new home*

Relax, it was coming, the epic update to let you all know I’m not dead, kidnapped by wild banshees, or lost in the underground labyrinth of an old sewer system. (tho, that’s be cool for a day) And you get a shiny gold star if you actually read the whole way through.
Staging ended well on a long night full of: smokes‘n beer on south street, wandering through downtown Philly at 12am, a frosty at Wendy’s, Katie dying her hair, mike walking down the middle of the street in the path of an oncoming fire truck, Ryan helping me pack (AGAIN), drooling as David described a lovely asylum he had explored and having my first real conversation with dad about my decision to do peace corps. On the dad part. He actually drove into Philly to say goodbye to me. I cannot express how much this meant. And even more surprising, he is proud of me and is convinced that I can do something to help others. Wow. Just wow.

A 4 hr. bus ride, 10 hr. plane ride, 3 hour layover in Turkey, a 3 hr. bus ride and one bathroom stop later, the crew was finally in Azerbaijan. Traveling was a blur of no sleep, bad airplane food, heavy luggage, disorientation, and real conversation about the choice we’d just made. . With almost no sleep and stress taking away the ability to think, it was lovely to look out my plane window and see the Black Sea. Even more breathtaking was my first view of the Caspian Sea. I understand that this body of water is polluted, and up close the water is no different looking than a polluted river in MN…but… I still childishly associate the Caspian Sea with Prince Caspian from C.S.Lewis’s brilliant Chronicles and somehow that is thrilling and exciting; so real and exotic. I told my mother once that I wanted to visit the Caspian Sea so I could meet the Prince and adventure with him and the crew of the Dawn Treader. Somewhere in the toss up between landing in AZ and busing into the north, I met the country director of AZ and several other PCV’s; however, the next day I’d lost memory of it completely.

The past 2 days of luxury accommodations were balanced by the cramming of heaps of information into my (our) jet lagged brains. Besides meeting our country/program directors, AZ staff, and current PCV’s we also had language training with local staff. I now know such useful phrases as: Hi, my name is——, I’m an American (tho, this is a mute point, we (I) stick out worse than a Mohawk in an Amish community), what’s your name, and may I have a tomato? (I like tomatoes)

The outside patio of our accom. became a dance floor when Flora turned up a CD of AZ dance music; a new mix up of sound that sampled everything from Benny Goodman and Moby to Snoop Dawg and Brittany Spears tumbled out. And we danced. For 2 hours. The Azeri women moved gracefully and controlled, incredulous at our US hip grinding spazing. Eventually, even I the coordination challenged can’t walk and talk, klutzy ninja, mastered the beat, owned it and cut the rug. (yeah right) We danced, a comical group, the US showing the AZ how to “cut the grass” ‘grocery shop” and “sprinkler”. Laughter, clapping and teasing insults; it broke the ice and really, the US and AZ groups started to become friends.

We all had to say goodbye today. (I’m rather tired of that exercise; it seems it’s all I’ve done recently with people I care about) And so with final shots and last min advice, (buy toilet paper) we were separated by assignment, packed in to a bus and shipped off to our new homes….


7 Responses to “almost up to date”

  1. Ben said

    Sounds exciting.

    Glad you made it, and glad you have time to send updates.

  2. S/// said

    And may the adventures begin.

  3. Kate said

    WOW! What a blur of activity! Hope you get some sleep soon in the midst of the hustle & bustle.

  4. Brian said

    I’m glad to hear that you made the long journey in one piece.

  5. CNMacD said

    I am trying to respond but previously got a moderation waiting comment and it was never posted. Any clue to help as I am going to try this again.

  6. CNMacD said

    Do you have to cut and paste your website to not be “awaiting moderation”?

  7. mcmacdonald said

    i have to approve all comment before they will be posted. pisser slow process. even the little comments to say HI are wonderful.
    Mr. Heartless is that you?
    Once I figure out how to send letters you will get heaps from me.
    oh, and can you guys send me your mailing addresses and phone numbers? my addressbook is on MSN and I cannot access it.
    LOVE ‘n CHEERS!!!

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