The art of falling

July 4, 2007

Bah as if I could keep up with everything. Due to the slow internet, each post will be epic in length…and probably quite confusing. This will try and speed you up from June 30th to the present. Maybe this time 4 shiny gold stars?

 Riding for 3 hrs in a hot bus was nothing really; it gave me time to attempt and calm down. Imagine back to your first date, first job interview, first drain or anyone other big first in your life. Your stomach is churning like the rapids, your sweating, your brain is trying to remember all the advice it received, you are tired beyond expression, and inside you are questioning your sanity. 3 hours of fried nerves. 3 hours of me trying to enjoy the vast landscape I’d missed on the last bus ride (we’d arrived at 12midnight or first night in AZ) From the view point of someone who loves decay, dissidence, and the broken and unused, there is a never ending parade of soviet-era leftovers. Enough abandonment to put the East Coast and MN to shame. However, the structures are more sad and numerous, so they lose uniqueness (is that a word?) of an MN theater (a la Hollywood) or Kirkbride. In addition to the structures meant for humans, there are the vast hulks of factories, and train yards; rusted skeletons that just sit. Yes, I will be photographing these..just settle already.

 I stepped off the bus and into a BMW driven by a guy whose named I couldn’t pronounce and another guys who didn’t speak English. Jersey and Jeff have nothing on driving in AZ. Over the blare of techno pop and screeching horns, in a series of hand gestures and random sounds I somehow understood the following: That he (the driver) knew where to take me, I was the perfect age for marrying, he was single, I was pretty, and although it was a misfortune that I was not staying with him, but with the family of the Guy who didn’t speak English, it was OK since the Guy dressed well and was nice. Yeah. Basically, these guys pimped it up, rolled down the windows, slid on the shades, turned up the music and made a 10 min ride into 20, so they could show (me?) off. It felt like being back in high school; a good feeling.

I met my host family and was proud that I didn’t puke, cry, or cuss from nerves. There I was, sitting at an outside table at 10 pm, my host mom and 2 host sisters on one side, me on the other. Silence. Crickets chirping. Wind blowing. 3 hrs.ago I had exhausted my entire Azri vocabulary (my name is, I like tomatoes, I’m an American). In a spastic mix of gestures, smiles and broken attempts at Azri I almost had a conversation with my host sister…my nervousness was obvious, she simply looked at me and said “Take it easy” in perfect English, the one American slang she had picked up from the previous PCV. Awesome.

My family is wonderful, really. My host mother greets me with a kiss, and the grandmother said I was beautiful and very nice. My older sister is 20 and knows French, Justin Timberlake, Rehianna, and has her mobile phone attached to her ear. The younger sister is 17, loves art, wants to be a model and is taking her exams to enter the university. She loves her mobile as well and plays songs for me from JoJo, Shakira and Titanic. My brother (the one from the car ride) laughs at me, plays techno loud and teases his sisters non-stop. He walked me to the school yesterday and was heckled mercilessly: “Ah so you have a woman? Can you give me points? Oh you have a girl!!” So much for anonominity. Not only do I have white, white skin, I also don’t have nearly half the fashion sense that the Azri women do. Defiantly will be taking pointers in that department.

The settlement where I’ll be staying for the next 3 months is right on the edge of the Caspian Sea (!!!!! This shall never cease to thrill me !!!!!) has an Internet Kafe, several wedding palaces, one post office (right outside my house), dozens of markets, and 5 times more (stray) cats and dogs. Everything is quite overwhelming. Culture shock is still taking place. Being on my own was hard the first night. Yesterday, when I finally met up with my group, it was almost on par with a family reunion. Running into the other PCV groups in town was amazing; after one day I missed DeeMoe, Katie and Ryan like mad. Getting a mobile was epic. After an agonizing 2 hr wait, the silly plastic communication device was in my grubby mitts. I promptly made a call to my mother, waking her up at 3am to let her know I was still alive. No longer isolated in a mobile-less void, I eagerly embraced the reminder of normal USA living and texted everyone I could. (please, send me your number via email)

In random tasty bits: I now do the whole cleansing ritual every other day. Translation: I ‘shower’ infrequently. I’ve become the self-proclaimed comic relief. This was accomplished by falling in the NY airport, while trying to hit Ryan, wearing my 40 lb backpack. Imagine if you will, a turtle knocking over a row of dominos (luggage) and then failing on its back helplessly, while everyone took pictures, and no one offered to help. Still almost brings tears to my eyes. A perfect 10 fall. Not content to make an ass of myself JUST at the airport, I orchestrated another 10 point fall. This was while walking down 5 stairs (yes, 5) in front of the hotel where we stayed in AZ. Did I mention that the stairs were directly in front of a glass enclosed lobby; that I fell flat on my face, skinned my knee, scraped off my wicked pedicure, and due to wearing a skirt flashed my naughty bits to said glass enclosed lobby full of men? In true style tho, I stood up, flashed my killer smile and pumped my fist in the air like I’d just won a prize. At least they won’t forget me.

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3 Responses to “The art of falling”

  1. S/// said

    There is nothing but envy coming from my camp, envy at your situation and at the wonderous way you are living it.

  2. Mike said

    Good to see you’re fitting in well. 🙂

  3. Ben said

    Heh. I did the same thing when I went head first over my handlebars on my last bike. It’s important to be triumphantly foolish. 🙂

    I like that you’re writing longer posts than you did on Xanga. More is better.

    I don’t have your email, but you can text me at 515-four four one-6741. I’ll have to find out if my phone can text out of country.

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