On December 8, I officially have been here longer than dirt, well, that's not true...but I have definitely been here longer than high-speed wireless Internet.
Anyway, the newest group of PCVs (Az9) swore-in (went from trainees to Volunteers) last week. Although I arrived a bit frustrated (bad day for mass transiting), it was a surreal moment. But, let's forget about all that for a moment and focus on the topic of this post...which is not that.
A few days after, I was finally back in Könül's home [with Könül], eating dinner and listening to her struggle to describe the last 3 months to her family. Pictures were shown, videos played, stories told, but it was obvious Könül was having difficultly capturing how her experience changed her.
Later that night, we sat and talked about her future. All we needed to do was replace her smiling face with mine and there would be no difference between us.
It never occurred to me how similar our experiences would be. For non-Bakuvian LCFs, spending 3 months away from family, living with a host fam (yup, they have to do that too), and experiencing Bakuvian life, well, it is almost as foreign to them as going from the US to Azerbaijan is for us PCVs. Dialects are different, new customs are introduced, and don't get me started on the food...Zaqatala is no Baku. Adjusting and teaching six-days a week must have been a bucket load similar to the beginnings of Peace Corps life anywhere. Geez. It seems so apparent now...
Anyhoo, here Könül is, going through readjustment after returning home, just like I will be. A little scary and intimidating, I find it ironic that just last week I was worried that in a few months, Könül and I would have nothing to talk about. Eh. Not a problem now.
*LCF=Language and Cultural Facilitator & PCV=Peace Corps Volunteer