Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I just wanted to throw up a quick update as I am off to help a friend in another region for a week.

Still have yet to hear about my extension request...two weeks from now is our Close of Service Conference (COS), so...

That is that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Zaqatala Summer Art Program - the Program

Today the Zaqatala Rapper came to talk about rap, and art, and wearing clothing that represents him.

It was pretty awesome.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Zaqatala Summer Art Program - the Prelude

Get your engines ready because Zaqatala's Summer Art Program is about to go down!

Check out our screen printing techniques (jimmy rigged of course...which sort of worked) and pre-program training for local counterparts.

Friday, July 16, 2010

So What Exactly Do I Do All Day

I bet you all thought I would never answer this question.

Well, I get up. Usually around 7:30 a.m. as it gets too hot to sleep.

I make coffee and straighten up my apartment. I've become a bit...obsessive about the cleanlessness. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I live in less than 600 square feet of space.

I drink my coffee and begin wishing for a second pot (I am working on delayed satisfaction. Two cups of coffee today means coffee for tomorrow).

Most mornings, I draft emails, plan club activities, work on graphic stuff, and outline my day activities. I find it best to be organized. If I leave my house without the necessary items, there is no way in God's green Earth I am returning to my apartment. Two daily treks to and from my house cause me to sweat too much.

Around 10:30 a.m., I leave my house and hit up the local IREX center, check out other clubs (Jessica has several things going on), meet with students, print materials, talk with the local post office lady, etc.

At 4, I have my major clubs. Some days, I meet with a group of young women at 6:30 p.m.

Around 7:30 p.m. (after clubs and guesting and Könül's or my host fam's houses), I head home. If I have guests, I make dinner. If it is just me, I fry potatoes or eat popcorn.

Around 10:30 p.m., I hit the hay.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Freaking Hot

I'm not sure what happened. It was all going swimmingly until this heat wave hit. One minute, midday was sort of uncomfortable and the next, every minute is ridiculously uncomfortable.

For an Alaskan, this is ludicrous.Why you may ask? Well, first off, if it is sunny and warm, an Alaskan is outside. We learn early on not to waste the good days doing laundry or reading a book or working. We get outside and we stay outside until the weather turns. The problem is that after 30 straight days of this, I am running low on clean everything. I need a rainy day, if only to do a bit of laundry.

The second problem is that Nomites aren't built for temperatures above 65 degrees F. We melt. I wake up in a pool of sweat (gross, I know); I walk around in a pool of sweat; and, I shower while sweating. I just cannot get away from it. I also cannot drink enough water to save my life. I am in a perpetual state of dehydration and it is really starting to suck.

The last problem is that my electricity bill is becoming something of a nuisance. Peace Corps does not account for record breaking temperatures. We do not get a "cooling" allowance. Paying 6 to 12 manat every month, just to keep my fan running (a necessity, I assure you), is going to run me past Peace Corps' poor house.

So, my answer is this: GIVE US A BREAK. Send a small respite, please. Anyone? Hello?

[Even in the heat, I am still trying out new recipes! My friend Vivan taught me her delicious pie crust secrets.]

Friday, July 9, 2010

Doing What? in Year Two

Then again...

Year Two is characterized by reality.

Year One, I had lots of energy. I had ideas coming out the ying yang. I was overly optimistic about my potential impact.

Year Two, I've been hit by the Reality 18-Wheeler.

Goodness. Now I know how much work goes into a project; who I've got to obtain permission from; how long permission obtaining takes; how many false starts I will have to go through before anything gets off the ground...

In Year Two, I've had success, but I've also had failures. I've met some people and I've angered others. I'm making progress, but most days I feel like I am running in place.

Yup, Year Two is what it is...

Anyway, for those who want a more concrete idea of what's going on in my world...

July 4th: 1st Annual AzerDash! [Check out the accompanying pictures]
July 12-15: Z'Incesenet Summer X'travaganza Pre-Camp Counterpart Training
July 20-25: Z'Incesent Summer X'travaganza

Ongoing: FLEX Preparation ClubPhotography Clubs & Conversation Clubs.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Year Two

I saw about twenty minutes of Year One last night.

Umm...I think I'll be reading the History of the Bering Sea People tonight.

Anyway, the movie got me to thinking, "Have I written a blog post about what I do these days? I don't think I have..."

So, here I am, updating you on Year Two.

Year One in PCV-dom is...tough. There ain't no easier way to put that. You've got Staging, Orientation, PST, your Swearamony, your first 3 months at site, your first 6 months at site, your first big blow up, your first deep depression, you've got it all. Year One is awesome, fanatical, hellish, intense, lonely,'s everything.

Year Two...Year Two is the same exact thing except you've been through it all so it's...a piece of cake. This year, I know Azerbaijani. This year, I know it's going to take three weeks to get a solid group of kids coming to my conversation clubs. This year, all my clubs don't need to be in English because I can explain how to fill the camera frame in the local lingo. This year, I know that laundry is going to take me at least two hours and that if I am starving at 9 p.m. at night, I am kind of screwed in the "quick din-din" department.

Year Two...wicked easy compared to Year One. Then again...

to be continued [imagine Marianne Roddenberry's voice here]...