In a little over a week we will all be sworn in as volunteers and making our way to different corners of Azerbaijan to start life officially as volunteers. I am leaving Tagiyev to work in Tovuz, which is north west, close to Georgia & Armenia. I am really excited to finally have the freedom to make my own schedule and explore a new part of this amazing country, but also know that I will be leaving the comforts I have created here and that makes me sad. I have such a great group of Youth Development trainees that it's been soo much easier to deal with the challenges of living in a foreign country. They are extremely supportive and we have had such great laughs in the past two months. My Azerbiajani family as well is better than I could have ever expected. My sisters are the light of my day and I will miss them terribly. The only good part of this is thinking about coming back to visit when I can speak better Azerbaijani to show them how much I have learned.
I have to say though I am nervous about the whole transition. A new city, new family, new counterpart, and new responsibilites. I am thankful that the Peace Corps understands the difficulities of initiating new projects and the encouragement they give for us to take our time when first at our site. Things will be slow, but for a good reason. I'm not really looking forward to the cold, but hey you can't always have things your way and it will be good for the Floridian to get a change of climate. Also, I have a great site mate who is easy going like me so I am sure we will have a lot of fun and will explore like crazy when we first get there. The area is relatively liberal compared to the rest of Azerbaijan so I am hoping my family will not be super traditional. I have been used to an all female family that allows me to be somewhat independent and they are super open minded, at least when it came to the tattoos. It is also suppose to be beautiful and very close to the mountains so be prepared for some great photos coming my way.
This week we pretty much celebrated Thanksgiving the whole time and have a big dinner tomorrow to end the week. On Thursday, most of the YD group met in Sumgayit to have drinks and it was the most fun I have had since I've been here. Yesterday, we went over to my cluster mate Eli's house and his family prepared chicken kababa's which were fantastic. I will really miss his family as well they have been great and so welcoming to me. His mom actually allowed me to help clean up, which in the states would be customary, but here not so much. The guest just sits back and relaxes while the rest of the women clean everything up so the fact that she let me help meant that I am becoming a part of the family. It was good times for sure. I'm glad we decided to take it easy this week and have some fun. The upcoming week will be really busy for us: community project on Monday, getting ready to leave, language tests, etc.... Also, to end this blog I wanted to thank everyone in my life who have been so supportive in my decision to join the Peace Corps. To those who have kept in touch and those who keep the encouragement coming.