Thursday, August 2, 2007

Sorry it took so long

So, Salam,
Here I am – almost a month and it is hard to believe. It seems longer and shorter all at the same time. I have settled into my GREAT host family. A lot of people seem to have some issue or another but I have had none. My mom Shahla, my dad Rasim and two sisters, Vusala and Gunel (16 and 14 respectively) are wonderful. They are already crying about me having leave in two months and say I have to come back and they will come visit me. Both Rasim and Shahla have said that while I am here they are my parents for me. I have never felt so welcomed, thought yes it was very awkward when I first met them. They showed me into their house, a quick tour and then all stood there staring at me in my room. What do you say when you feel drained and have exhausted you language skills in all of 5 min. Not a whole lot and Charades felt a little awkward on the first day so I just pointed to the garden in desperation and got a full tour/taste test.
My room is actually the dining room. It has two windows that get a great breeze and an even greater number of mosquitoes when night comes. The bathroom is your standard hole in the ground – porcelain of course but a hole in the ground all the same – I really don’t mind it, except the fact there is no flushing so the smell is not always pleasant.
The people here in general are so kind and warm. Though many are baffled at why we are hear – it make not sense to leave the US and come here to not get paid. Some actually think we are getting paid but are lying for some reason. It is taking a lot for me to get used to the gender roles. There are definitely things that are “culturally inappropriate and unacceptable” for me to do, that would never have crossed my mind in the states. Even though I don’t agree with everything I have been doing very well to adjust. The hardest part is probably not looking or smiling at anyone unless I really know them, and virtually know socialization with men unless they are family and I know them well. And there are some places I am just not allowed to go. The communities have gotten used to us Americans somewhat and don’t pay much attention when I walk home with a guy friend, so that is nice
So far I have seen a little of the country, “adopted” a few animals and climbed to the top of a castle, which was amazing. I also have seen Iran, though only threw a big fence. And it was a swamp, who would have guessed. I have a picture of the kitten, which Rikki has but not one of qulaqlar yox (no ears), cat and my school dog. I will get one soon and put her up.
We are getting smashed with work right now so I hardly have time to breathe. They have moved the dates for picking CED’s sites up from last year so we have twice the work packed into a small amount of time. I pretty much have full schedule from 8-5 mon-sat (language, CED training and an internship) and then a tone of outside assignments and homework. They say it will slow down some in a few weeks but I am not sure I believe them. I am just banking on the virtual 6 months of down time/adjustment when I get to my site Well I have a lot of stuff I would like to tell all but not enough time so, till next time, which might be another month or so, take care



Anonymous said...

Hey Mere,
I read your posting. It was so good to hear from you, even if I didn't get to "hear" from you. I actualy dialed your # the other day and let it ring at least one time before I realized that I would not be able to talk to you =(. I miss you and I am glad you are getting along so well. Here is a suggestion about the difficulty in talking to the "locals", Music. Everyone loves music no matter where you are. I love you and hope to hear from you very soon. In your next blog let me know if there is anything that I can send you.

Elizabeth said...

Hi Mere,

This is totally anonymous, but I enjoyed finally getting to read one of your postings today! It's been interesting reading the blogs of the different volunteers in your group and getting a better perspective of what you all are going through. Keep it up. :)


Rovshan said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but to my mind you will be paid at the end of service (two years). This is the one of ways you guys can make money for collage or university.

Corinth Doodles said...


It's great to hear about your life there! We miss you here but are so glad you are doing well and having an adventure!


AnnieOakleyknits said...

I loved reading the descriptions. Enjoy your adventures and thank you for sharing them with all of us.
Mary Ann