Friday, July 31, 2009

What did I drink today?

8:05 a.m.: 450 ml of lukewarm filtered water
9 a.m.: 450 ml of instant coffee
11:30 a.m.: The last few swallows of some apple juice
2:13 p.m.: 675 ml of strawberry iced tea
5:06 p.m.: 1/2 a liter bottle of Fanta
6 p.m.: 450 ml of strawberry iced tea
8:49 p.m.: 225 ml apple juice mixed with 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar and 2 Tbs hot water

8:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.: 1400 ml lukewarm filtered water

Total: 4200 ml or 144 oz of liquid (give or take a couple tablespoons)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birthday No!

Please do not send me a birthday gift. I have another request (a donation to my Z'Photo Photography Club partnership grant) that will post in a few weeks (I am working on the grant with several young girls, so it is a learning process of how to write a grant and is taking a bit of time).


Monday, July 27, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out Rachel Ray

I love to cook. I love kitchens. I love kitchen-y gadgets (especially Mango KitchenAid mixers). I would love a Löki-powered meat grinder, but that is besides the point.

Before coming to Az, I was a mild experimenter. I tampered with fried chicken recipes, perfected slow cooked collard greens, and learned how to make ice cream (ironic, I know).

In AK, I had kitchen-y gadgets. I had access to exotic spices (like ginger powder) and necessity ingredients (like cornmeal). In Az, I have fresh veggies, vinegar, and buckets of salt.

Every meal becomes an experiment. You’d think this would get tiresome, but I am loving it. I had never tried lentils before Az (packed with protein and make a great enchilada-base). I had never attempted Ratatouille (delicious with crushed red pepper and served as a cold pasta salad). I never made my own sauerkraut (which is still sitting in my refrigerator).

Ahh...I wonder what’s for dinner. I have a couple of eggplants and some tomatoes...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here We Go A Traveling

Summer is the time to travel in Az, not because the awesome public transit system is so easy to navigate, but because PCVs all over Az are engaged in radtacular projects that need the physical presence of other PCVs...


In other words, last week I went to Lənkəran (Lankeran).

It was Sports & Fitness week at my friend Jane's 2nd Annual Yay Kamp. I left Zaqatala Monday morning at 7 a.m. and arrived in Lənkəran 14 hours later. For a country the size of Maine and the heat coefficient of Alabama - it was not the most exciting country traverse I have ever done.

Want to know my route? I went from:

Zaqatala to Xaldan
Xaldan to Göyçay
Göyçay to Hacəgubul
Hacəgubul to Şırvan
Şırvan to Salyan
Salyan to some random village outside of Lənkəran
Some random village outside of Lenkeran to Lənkəran

Uh huh.

At any rate, camp was awesome. I learned a lot and had a fantastic time. I really cannot wait to do a camp in Zaq next summer...right now, I am leaning toward Zee-Art Camp. Pretty witty title if I do say so myself.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Summer Schedule

You probably aren't wondering what I do all day, but I thought I would tell you anyway :)

As winter melted away into spring and spring into this humid, heat-tastic time period some call "summer", my schedule drastically changed. For awhile there, I was pretty lame. As school winded down here, summer activities picked up with a vengeance, but not the traditional, "let's go the Y and swim" activity, but the "let's plant the family's garden so we can eat next winter" activities.

When that stuff got going, students stop coming to my clubs. For the entire month of June, I was a little scared I would spend my summer twiddling my thumbs. Yet, slowly, but surely, students began to call me, wondering when the next club meeting would happen.

Now, I am pretty set. I am even excited to announce that I have a pretty solid project lined up for next fall and my host organization is moving forward on their sewing resource room! Even in the dead-heat of summer, things are a happenin'.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

3 Sister Dolma

Ever get a hankering for some good ole' down home cooking? A heapin' bowl of mashed taters and fried chicken? Maybe a slab of shepard's pie or a plate full of ooey gooey lasagna? Maybe a boş qabı of üç bacı dolması? Yes? No? Huh?

Üç bacı dolması or 3 sister dolma is a summer treat here in Az. Before I tried my hand at this tasty dish, I craved it with a passion and often would beg my host mom to whip up a batch. Again, that was before I tried to recreate the deliciousness.

Now, I will never beg for it again. Not because I do not find it scrumptious, I do. It is because I now know how much work goes in to preparing it. First you chop the onion. Then you fry the meat (for an eternity). Then you prepare the vegetables (coring, cleaning, boiling, salting). After, you add a bunch of stuff to the meat and then stuff the prepared vegetables. After all that, you cook the entire thing and finally, YOU EAT.

Whew. What work!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sacrificing for My Country

This past weekend, I made the ultimate 4th of July sacrifice: my skin.

Yup, that's right. I sacrificed my skin, the prospect of skin cancer, my only set of shoulders, for the good of America.

And why? Well, it was my duty (and my pleasure) to lead the "Dancing with Löki" station at Azerbaijan's first ever American style 4th of July bash. For 5 hours, PCVs from all over Az joined together to educate and entertain Az youth! We had a great time educating youth about America, describing the events of Independence Day and sharing fun cultural tidbits about the land of red, white and blue.

Unfortunately, we also had to brave the scorching sun and blood-thirsty skeeters.

My shoulders never hurt so good.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Like Big(ger) Butts

I always thought that as a PCV, I would lose weight during service and I am not talking about a pound or two, serious poundage was expected to just melt away.

Well, that ain't happening.

I am pretty sure my hiney has gotten bigger. Significantly bigger. It may be the several cups of sugary tea I consume a day or the 3 kilos of potatoes I downed last week, but the point hiney is big(ger)!

Ugh! Well, my newest plan is to run more (or at least start running, again) and to do more ballet (already was doing this, so...I am just going to step it up a bit and do it more).

Hopefully, my hiney strinks. Soon. I cannot walk around with this junk in my trunk. I just can't.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Peace Corps Parents

This post is dedicated to you Peace Corps Parents.

You are amazing.

You don't hang up on us when we call at 2:17 a.m. because we can't figure out the time difference.

You don't worry when we finally email to explain we were being detained by the Russian government when we were supposed to be Skyping you.

You don't laugh when we admit we pooped our pants outside the bus station.

You don't cry when excitedly recount how our new "mom" made us our favorite meal.

You don't complain when your monthly box's shipping costs more than the merchandise inside.

And of course, when we call crying, you tell us to it's okay to have a bad day and tomorrow will be better.

I love Peace Corps Parents. 

(P.S. Thanks Dad for the awesome spices, dried fruit and Borax! Thanks Ma for the massive amount of reading material, the agav syrup and the awesome hair products!)