October 26, 2007









toy toy toy

October 26, 2007

 Taking one swift glance through my second hand PC clothing, my sister vice griped my hand and I was dragged down the street to the toy dress store. Feeling somewhat hopeful (Azri women are fashionable and always look put together) I entered the store, only to have my hopes wickedly dashed. My sister went to a rack and pulled out a short turtleneck leopard print sequined dress and told me that it was ‘the dress’ I would wear. Never one good at hiding shock/disgust, my face was appropriately priceless when I was stammered out a jumble of Azri/English/handgestures to say out loud “No thank you, I don’t really like short dresses.” (Of course I didn’t know how to say anything about the awful print and sequins and decided to go for the easiest thing to communicate) Really, I was thinking: “NO NO NO NO way in bloody hell will I wear a dress that would be rejected by a poor 80’s drag queen, and a desperate hooker, I’ll wear skirts every day, shower once a week, be home at 7pm everyday, not hug my guy, watch Azri Idol, laugh at Russian soaps I don’t understand, be interested in cooking, use dial up net, pretend I think its perfectly normal to never look anyone in the eye, share my room with a rat, be called fat, not yell when someone insults me, and I’ll even promise to NEVER ever flip the bird again, but I WILL NOT WEAR that damm abomination of a dress.” Unfortunately, when telling my fellow PCV’s of my plight, I received no sympathy. K thought I should just sport the dress and make it memorable. S says I’d look smoken shag worthy in an Azri dress. SD says it would make a good show and tell story for my grandchildren, and he can’t imagine me in a dress. R demands pictures to show his friends. M says if I sports the dress he’ll wear an awful tie and thinks it would be hilarious. No one seems to understand the torture; to be forever immortalized in video/photos looking like you were dressing up as a zoo animal for a Halloween party or playboy mansion party and somehow stumbled into a wedding and decided to stay. {“Aww, shucks it looks like my leopard ears fell off again”} As noted, I’m stubborn and duked it out with the Azri women. The end result is after being similarly encouraged to wear a knock off an Elvira dress and a replica of an 80’s prom dress, I barrowed one of Rachel’s dresses. It’s safe and Azri and makes me look not myself. Not the dresses fault, mind you, the dress is great and Rachel has style. But I don’t know how to wear a dress, it’s awkward, and being me just makes it all wrong. *postscript: I did appreciate my sister trying to help in finding a dress, and in no way am I trying to insult Azri style, just point out that its vastly different from American style and I’m hopelessly not up to par…yet…the entire experience was funny and I learned some new words…and if it was not obvious yet, I’m enjoying all things (the search for the dress included) I have experienced thus far. However, I will put my foot down on wearing animal print.*

couldn’t resist…

October 17, 2007

…the notification in an old email account that said I had a message waiting for me on UER.

so I spent 20 min. logging in to find a note from the dirty TubroZ of Scotland.

‘Urban Explorers: Into the Darkness’ is having another screening in Leeds. TurboZ and the crew will be on hand to answer questions and do their best to shock, amaze and generally WOW the common folk who dont find sewers, drains, and moldy abandoned buildings beautiful.

was almost a year ago when we had the screening in MPLS at the new Walker, I remember one googly eyed woman asking me: “So you’ve actually WALKED in sewers?!?!”   The googly look increased when I told her: “Yes, and they were beautiful brick arch tunnels.”

(can you keep up?) Most days:
I wake up, listen to Mr. Burns (my small dog sized rat, that I am unable to kill because my family hates cats and their Chickens are the special Cat/Other Bird/Dog/Small Human/American Woman killing kind and apparently if these types of chickens eat a cat then they don’t lay eggs properly and since there are no dogs/other birds in sight it means they have been killed and any small humans of the toddler type that enter the yard are escorted by an adult so the continually pooping chickens are prevented from having an egg wrecking meal and yes, I have defended myself against these foul and received battle scars in the form of unbelievably huge piles of chicken squirt strategically placed on top of/next to/inside my shoes, in return, I kick foul with wicked aim.) retreat to his nest for a nap, fight the chubs monster with 45 min of yoga (until I receive my running clothes{please, find kindness in your black little hearts and, send me some flippin running gear}), drink a lighting bolt amount of instant coffee (Nescafe) while reading one of the 6 books I started (Sedaris, Krakauer, Safran Foer etc…), still groggy, dodge piles of chicken diarrhea while stumbling towards the Hammon to kill waterbugs/spiders/crawly black things before I maybe do the shower/bath/scrub; dress in church style clothes that include khakis/skirts/sweaters (would truly, seriously, give a lot to have all my skull shirts and my red faux vinyl dress here); spend 15-20 min explaining (with dictionary aide) my day plan to the family, avoid the crazed drivers/geese/cows on my 5 min walk to the library, spend several hours talking to the various youth that visit the library/begging the dial up to work; type grant proposals/lesson plans/idea lists; spend an hour talking with a girl in English about businesses/culture/fashion; take an hour nap; after clearing the post nap cobwebs I go observe an English class, introduce myself by answering questions (I’m 25, like futbol and studied photography. Yes, Minnesota is colder than ISM, and I actually like snow. No, I am not English, but American. No I’m not married yet…), if its lucky Thursday, I will go back to the library and spend an unspecified amount of time with 14 wonderful/amazing/insightful youth; we talk about music/movies/books/cars/sports/politics/weird culture/life in the U S of A; finish the invigorating conversations, walk to the HA Park; the whole way trying to NOT look people in the eye (esp. men),dodge cow pies/rubbish heaps but inevitably step/trip into something nasssty b/c I’m contemplating the profound things the youth shared, awkwardly (as if I could do it any other way) wipe my shoes off in the real grass of HA Park as I select a bench in the shade, open a book I didn’t read over AM coffee and retreat into literature; trying to not think that tho I almost never eat lunch and only veggies for supper, I seem to be getting larger, a weird quirk of the AZ that makes me wish I could teleport myself back to a fall MN dusk just to run the trail along the river so I could pass Triple Helix Outfall, Lucky 13, Satan’s Cave (while making plans to explore) because while running my head is clear/not dyslexic so when the run is finished I’m somehow back in the AZ and can focus knowing that I want to be here; that in spite of thinking/feeling like an incompetent dork, the youth opened up to me (even if it was just a small bit) and that small bit makes dodging cow pies/killer chickens nothing b/c truly there is nowhere else I’m supposed to be and nowhere else I’m needed but in the ‘baijan; while somehow I’m still reading my book (about a boy who is searching) when finally I’m home but never sleep until 1AM b/c as was noted my brain runs the same speed as a Japanese Bullet Train plus I’m hurling text insults to someone who calls me ‘shithead’ for my stubborn fearless Irish ability to argue while not backing down; when about the same time I force my thoughts into a quiet murmur, Mr. Burns (who has been silent most of the day) chooses tonight to have a Rat Polka/Swing/ Hop dance on my roof/walls/closet/floor so I simply turn up my iPod on chill Remy Zero (yes, yes, I did just admit that) and sleep, glorious, color rich sleep.

Tasty Bits

October 7, 2007

Short bites of newsy news:

Elton John was in Baku
I’m engaged.
I have a deadly wicked allergy to meat. (Yes, that includes Chicken, which for some reason is not considered ‘meat’ by many people.)
We caught an important person with their paints down, literally.
Tina Turner, Celien Deon and Boy Bands are still HUGELY popular here (that includes their music videos that I’m sometimes lucky enough to watch over AM instant coffee.)
People in ISM only bathe 3 times a week.
Rain is wonderful (especially when you haven’t experienced it since last June when there was a down pour in MPLS for 3 days straight and I purposely went for a gloriously muddy run)
I received my box of winter clothes which most importantly included my Burton Vest.
We are spending Thanksgiving in Baku.
A 3 min. call to Mom-in-MN was 432 kontures.
A 45 min call to Shawn-in-Guba was only about 100 more. (?????)
Goychy has a Pomegranate Festival.
The schools have uniforms
It’s awful but we rate how well-off someone is by their bathroom (squat vs. western toilet; dirt vs. tile)
We do inappropriate things without knowing it (like reading in the park, oops, cringe!)
Best part of waking up is seeing the mountain peaks covered in clouds.
When Robbie sends text, they show up at wonky times in my message queue. (This is fascinating if you are bored, as I was on Thursday, which resulted in sending text to Robbie and the above mentioned revelation)
Shockingly enough my Azri is improving, slowly.
Only married women clean/pluck/trim their eyebrows; a teacher cleaned/plucked/trimmed mine for me. (The brows were annoying Matty anyway, he now knows I have eyes and thinks they look pretty damm HATW now they he can actually see them!) J
My U S of A family will be visiting me. *happy jump of happiness*
Alyssia, (hardcore climber, runner, rower, and everything else) sent me homebaked Chocolate Chip cookies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I opened them up in the Poct and felt prickles in my eyes (almost cried).
I have to SEND an email an average of 5 times before it actually sends, that means prolly everyone who reads this has had an email sent to them that they never received. (you follow?)
*Ahem* Mr. Ds, I am still waiting for my box of SewerFresh from London Town, please don’t bother to include any Yeasty Nutz, just maybe a few snaps, savvy?

Getting heaps of crap for this one. What’s that you say? QUICK, describe yourself in three words! So, here they are, with permission, the Americans of AZ (and a few others) that are my friends, in their own words. (awwww how cute!)

D Moe: Awesome beyond words
Jody: Hippy Dance Party (but be aware I’m on cold medicine)
Nate: Easy-going, Funny, Dangerous. (Feel free to edit as you see fit)
Sally: Laughs a lot
Rachel W: Prettier then Matt
Janey: Obnoxiously Positive, a bit ridiculous and really just all around fabulous!
Jenn C: Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.
Rae: Impulsive. Competitive. Compassionate.
Ve Moe: Silly. Strange. And you pick the last one.
Tommy: Very nice and naughty
Shawn: Strong. Silent. Stoic. (If your friends know you like me you can also use: ‘I’m with stupid’.)
Kyle: Googly Drunk Kid.
Katie P: Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.
Jill: Unique, crazy, open-minded. (Azris only Redhead)
Donny: Adventuresome, Independent, Happy.
Matty: Idealistic. Hedonistic. Forgiving. (The most honest I’ve ever been, must be you?)
Charlie: Big Red Afro (Would you be needing a pic to accompany my words?)
Robbie: Japanese Mohawk NinjaGuy
Will: Chill. Listener. Creative.
Siolo: A bit glaiket. Kinda unco and somewhat hardcore.
Joe V: Incorrigible, dazed, vagabond.
Tor: Witty. Outgoing. Passionate. And loads of other things.
Erin G: Ridiculously cool. Booyah.

 This one prolly won’t be funny, and will be awkwardly long winded. Once again I’m being asked what I’m doing here. I’m still trying to figure that out. As mentioned I moved into my semi permanent home the 2nd week of September. The first week, I did nothing, even less than I’m doing now. I simply sat in the library meeting people and smiling more than was culturally appropriate. Thankfully, I had the scandalously glorious weekend in Baku to feel almost normal (I acted like the true dork I am, and no cared). The past 2 weeks have been busy in Azri terms. I made several friends (!!), one girl in particular is kicking and we’ve spent 90% of our time talking about Beckham and boys and the other 10% chatting about future plans. I’m fine with it; really, it’s like being at a perpetual high school sleep over (tho Beckham wasn’t popular then). My club starts next Thursday and the crew of youth is really sharp.

Adjusting to my host family has taken a bit of…patience, humor, and awkward conversations. They click their tongs/give the death look because I: use toilet-paper, drink cold water, wash every other day, don’t eat a lot/meat/chocolate (boi, take note, I’m not a fan, eh?), brush my teeth multiple times a day, read, text, laugh, wake up before 8 am, love fall weather and don’t act like an Azri woman. It awkward when normal things are examined analyzed and questioned. By laughing at myself, I’ve taught them to smile, and not grumble at odd things, so peace reigns for the most part. By being unfathomably generous with their home, my family has taught me thankfulness (yes, in just a few short weeks) I’m gradually teaching them to see Matt as safe (he is the first American male volunteer in ISM) while they teach me that doing nothing is sometimes necessary. Admittedly its tough to find middle ground, being stubborn, strong willed and having a blunt personality are traits/personal aspects I need to subdue. J I watch the soaps with my Ana every night for an hour (while I read) The soaps shown on Azri TV are truly pure comedy gold. They are German/Spanish/Russian soaps dubbed over in Azri; think 80’s sitcom with worse acting/hair/clothing/stories.

Fellow ninjas will be shocked to know, I’m home by 8pm every night. Please, go climb a crane at 2am, and sit on the edge in my honor, then take a wicked picture and send the tasty snap my way!!

Rachel and I are officially the Guesting Queens in the style of Vince and Luke from Wedding Crashers. We even had a script; Rachel says the formal things and I make them laugh. We hit 3 homes as guests on Tuesday. It was glorious and awful all at once. We started at my girlfriends house at 1pm; 2 meals, 1 FEAST (4 courses that included: chy, nuts/fruit/nar/3 kinds of bread/pilaf/fresh veggies/pickle salad/sweet hot cereal/compote/dates/chocolate/honey/broiled chicken/grilled veggies) and gallons of chy later at 10pm we finished. Ariz are amazing people, friendly and welcoming to strangers (and BTW, us Americans, we are strangers, yea, we stick out something awful) and by eating loads of food and drinking enormous quantities of chy we show that we are accepting of their welcome. In America, we (including myself) are never so initially welcoming to strangers. Both Rachel and I got sick. I didn’t even eat anything wild (tho Rachel did eat the mystery meat), and pretty much stayed with veggies/fruit/bread; but for crying out loud, my body was not happy after 7 hours of eating. You have not been sick until you are a foreigner trying to adjust to local food. Just to gross you all out, there is nothing as helplessly pathetic as trying/needing/wanting to puke and not being able to!? (icky, ICKY!) We met truly great people and were overwhelmed by how gracious/generous everyone was. However, we have decided that since momentarily we are such hawt commodities (and everyone wants to meet us as much as we want to meet them) that we shall have to limit ourselves to 1 guesting a week. Not only does this allow me time for other activities (such as harassing Matt, talking with my girls and, reading in the HA park), it also stretches our guesting joy over several weeks (months). The only down side of guesting is that I’m not particularly happy with the thought of turning into a whale when the woman already call me fat. *shrug* and *ahem* mother, I’m still waiting for my running gear.


October 1, 2007

 you know the drill by now, read and contemplate each one, then marvel at my astounding observations and thrilling life.

*Climbing over the Spiky fence of death guarding the reservoir (and feeling like I was back in MPLS at midnight busting fresh discoveries)

*Kyle’s accident and request for assistance in holding a certain body part

*”Pipes, lets climb pipes!!!”

*Waking up next to someone

*Falling off the couch (twice)

*Falling backwards onto a sidewalk (perfectly sober) in front of a hot guy (ouch/awkward/embarrassing/still cringing)

*On 5 flights of stairs tripping twice each flight and making the staff laugh

*Breathing the lovely clean air of ISM

*Watching a storm gather over the mountains.

*The color of the sky and clouds before a storm

*Being unable to describe the above mentioned color

*Sonny the Taxi Driver (aka Mad Max)

*The evil grin Mad Max flashes me in the rearview mirror when he pulls an Indy 500 move on gravel roads on the edge of a ravine.

*Matt’s box of treasure that finally made it to AZ

*Glorious books, Peanut butter, Cliff Bars and Pistachios from Matt’s Box.

*”You Look like Demi Moore” (the ladies at work to me)

*Meeting Mark Elliot (the lonely planet writer) at the ‘hotel’

*Huge piles of cow poop

*Making salsa with Jeff, Rachel and Matt

*Jane’s Birthday on the Caspian Beach

*Mikey’s ‘natural’ yoga moves at above mentioned birthday

*”Feaver” (the Azri gift shirt I proudly sport)

*The Bee Outfit (another gift)

*Fresh Honey from Matt’s Host Family

*Waking up to a call from Katie S.

*Unexpectedly crying.

*Coffee, fruit, a book and a kiss for my birthday

*The breathtaking sunset on the way back from Baku

*At night hearing the sea from my porch in Jorat

*Red nail polish (b/c I can and its new)

*Shopping for “mom’s’ gift (and the result being Tupperware)

*Good conversations with Ryan

*Jeff sleeping in the Taxi down the mountains

*Mat sleeping in the Taxi up the mountains

*Katie P and our girl talks via text.

*Petroglyphis and Mud volcanoes.

*Tor’s speech at our swearing in ceremony.

*Making my first girl friend in ISM.

*Trash talking with Ds and Siolo via MSN (see here, I threw both of you in)

*Having Ds say: “Victorian red brick arch.”

*Having Siolo ask: ‘So, what are your plans for Aug.?’

*‘Colleens a she devil’ Will to Shawn

*Being cold!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (for the first time since april)

*When Mere talks

*Nate’s glorious outfit at swearing in. He was Frank Sinatra. (Dreamy)

*Frisbee on the Caspian Beach

*Annihilating an Azri guy at chess (not only am I a dam fine looking American woman, I also happen to be deadly smart.)

*Seeing scrawled graffiti in Smyquat

*Making Mike laugh.

*Getting drunk text from Siolo “Harro!!!!” J

*Waking up to a call from Katie Snow.

*Talking with Katie S’s husband about drains and tailraces and Pillsbury Mill.

*The picture of ‘fish kisses’ with Katie S.

*Fighting with Jane over who will marry Tor.

*My library, courtesy of PCLounge

*Most Azri women call me “Boyuk’ and “kok’ (and that’s not a nice thing to say)

*Reading 6 books at once

*Hot pepper salad and crying as I eat it. (love the sting!)

*‘Shithead’ my affectionate nickname as bestowed by Shawn

*The puppies at my house in Jorat following me everywhere (and crying when they saw me leave)

*Robbie once again becoming a coffee Nazi.

*Blueberry Tea from Liz da Sista

*The herd of Farting Sheep…

Next to the stream of rancid water…

As a lovely place to read for an hour.

*Reading in the Old HA park with…grass

*The kind gardener who chatted with us in the New HA Park

*Watching ‘Jackass 2’ while slightly buzzed.

*‘Don’t worry, just take it easy’ – Joe

*‘You are the most chill person I know’—MA to me before he left

*”Sexy Orca” – the phrase directed at me that got Matt fired.

*”You look like an 80’s rock star” D-Moe to me, with the lot of us in the lounge hung over as hell.

*”Poojar!!!!” – Jeff

*My faux gold adult bed cover.

*”Do you like Beckham?”—fail safe way to making friends with girls everywhere, particularly, AZ.

*The rush of meeting new people.


*”Busting your ovaries.”— The gender appropriate version of “busting your balls’ when addressing a female.

*Having 2 glorious years ahead and knowing it’s not enough time.

*The stars at night

*My host sister giving me snowflake socks before I left Jorat for ISM

*Crunching leaves with my feet as I walk (truly wonderful, if you love fall as much as I do)

*’The Letter’– (…of doom)

*Being swarmed by turkeys

*‘Mr. Burns’ the Rat who lives in my room with me.

* “…and told many stories of ur greatness to a big group of wide eyed and increasingly awed newbs.” —Siolo,while in a drain, telling the Aussie Blokes at GTA’s what a sick ninja I am ( made my week!!!!)

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