July 5, 2007

Exhilarating The whirlwind continues, things are happening so fast, its hard to feel settled, or have some sort of regular routine. Language lessons started on Monday. Our fearless leader/teacher tries to cram vocab and phrases into our (my) stupid heads for 4 hrs each day. Actually, hes a great teacher, and shows the patience of Job while answering our repetitive questions. On top of teaching, he also has become our guide to the nearby settlement/village/city. With mad skillz reserved for the most learned ninjas, he took us through the city; navigating the bazaar, deadly street crossings (there are no traffic rules in AZ), marshuraks (taxibus deathcab), mobile phone bartering and internet Kafe. All the while we followed like a mob of squirrels, constantly gabbing, wandering off in the wrong direction, stopping to take pictures, and spazing at near misses with banshee taxi drivers. PC forbids us to drive while in service. Given the choice, I wouldn’t drive anyway. To say that driving is dangerous is an understatement. Driving and crossing any sort of pavement where cars/buses/taxi/marshruka could be is making yourself into a fixed, blinking, bright target, worth 200 points (500 points if you’re an American) And, yes if your wondering the “finger” is universal for showing your happiness at being cut off and blocked in the congestion. Our fearless leader (FL) took us to the Caspian Sea yesterday. The main way to the beach (for pedestrians) is down through a vast terrace that is crowned by a huge modernistic dove sculpture that you’ve probably seen pictures of if you’ve taken any art classes. The view is both beautiful and disturbing. Beautiful in that there is wind, sea, vast sky, churning waves and unpredictable energy. Disturbing is that trash and pollution almost choke the fresh air and the mist that inevitably covers you leaves a sticky residue. We wandered down and stood at the very edge; Nate and I smoked a cig in celebration. I was finally standing at the edge of the Caspian Sea!!!!!!. Never would have guessed a year ago that I’d be here. Last year at this time: I had a crazy aussie (Siolo ❤ ) crashing my pad, was partying on my apt rooftop with Rob, sprained my foot on the fence near the waterfall drain entrance, and was watching fireworks at Island Station with Sean. We spent a while on the beach, teaching our (FL) American slang. He learned such gems as: ‘Wiseass’, ‘Ba donk a donk’, ‘Junk in the trunk’, ‘Talk to the hand’, ‘Homeboy’, and ‘Shut da F—k up!’. He has made us promise to teach him at least 3 new slang words each day (if you have suggestions, please share) The beach also functions as the drag flats for old school BMWs. The Azri guys drive their cars right down onto the sand and race each other; the winner accompanying his dramatic sand throwing doughnut with yells and arm pumping out the window. Yes, exhilarating, yes exhausting, but I’m trying to enjoy the present and not think too much about the past and what I’m missing in the states. I’ll never have this experience again. It’s humbling to know that even with all my great flaws, I will actually be able to do something worthwhile. Can we start a bet on the first homesick call/text home, when I just want to laugh with Katie A, have a super pressure shower and sewerfresh MN drain? I think it’ll be at the end of 3 months. Right now, I like it here. A lot. A host mom told me today: ‘You need to marry a nice Azri boy and stay here.’ 


6 Responses to “Exhilarating”

  1. Mr. X said

    No American pop culture slang vocabulary would be complete without, “yah sure” and “you betcha”.

    Also worthy of spreading internationaly are “assclown”, “asshat” and “hosed”.

  2. Kate said

    This is great. I love all your description! You’re gonna have a good two years there. 🙂

  3. Rovshan said

    I have always liked comments form expats regarding life hear in Azerbaijan. I like your posts. I actually live near the Dove you describe. I agree about disturbing things.
    I noticed a group of your team last week walking down from the dove, may be it was you. Some of you looked like hippies trying to follow advices they give you concerning clothe. Black long skirt no open body parts:
    I would like to read about your impressions and adventures in Azb. I am sure will discover a lot of new and sometimes shocking things like traditions and social things.
    And even feel more excited for you, because you are going to sea and learn (good and bad) you wouldn’t get in America.
    You can gaze at somebody here looking him up and down and they will do this. This is normal here.
    Enjoy with your two years

  4. Brian said

    If/when you get homesick, drop me a line. It’d be great to hear from you. Stay up, playa! (btw, I have many suggestions for filthy American slang to spice up the vernacular of your Azeri friends)

  5. Mike said

    You are representin’ Minnesoda, right? Saying “uff da” and “dontcha know”, eh?

    It’s not like anyone there is going to know the movie Fargo isn’t real, after all. 😀

  6. mcmacdonald said

    yesterday at a shin dig i taught them ‘ass hat’and smack that

    please share your slang they have no idea where MN is.

    Azri guy,
    yes you prolly saw us. its hard to miss us.

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