Sunday, May 29, 2011

End of School Year

Even tho' I work with English teachers during the school year, TEFL volunteers are busy with many other activities over the Summer. I've got English clubs planned, a one-week activities "camp" for 30 youngsters at the end of June, a teachers "camp" on teaching methods the end of August, plus help other PCVs who also run camps during the next 3 months. That will give me a chance to see other parts of Azerbaijan too.

My most pressing issue is to get into independent housing by mid-June. PC sets standards for us and I've finally identified a large house which needs some updating. After that is approved, I expect to get healthy by cooking some meals for myself and putting on some pounds. Here's an exterior photo of the house that I visited - less than 20 minute walk to my school. That's the kitchen window above the would-be balcony - both of which will be repaired. More photos to follow if PC approves this house.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What was I thinking?

Crazy week of things going on that leave me stymied. Thought I had rented a cute little house, but it didn't work out because the woman owner will not be moving to Russia after all. The interior needed work, i.e. a ceiling over the living room plus plaster on the walls. Had dreams of how I would fix it up and things to buy and people to invite, but alas, it will not happen there.

Finding rental housing is not easy. I may have to hire an agent and then apartment will need to be approved by PC. Primary concerns are about safety/security plus adequate heat and water and plumbing. All on a small monthly living allowance plus a settling-in allowance for pots and pans, linens, bedding et al.

I spent the weekend of May 5 - 7 in Baku at an early service PC training but also conducted a 45-minute Wellness session with another PCV. While I was at PC office I tested again for my language proficiency and that was wretched. Can you develop test anxiety after you retire? Not sure what happened but it felt like my Azeri was worse than when I was tested in December - which is not at all true, but that's how I talked. Pisdir = it is bad.

It's always good to get together and hear how others are doing, but it's also time to take a real shower instead of a bucket bath. Hit a KFC-like place one night for fried chicken, but went to Cafe Caramel 2X for great meals. Gin and tonic means it's Summer! Also picked up a box of Betty Crocker brownie mix for submitting a winning photo of Novrus holiday event. However, Sally and I both need to buy little table-top ovens in order to make brownies!

I stayed with PCV Susan at her apartment in Sumgayit on Saturday night, and really like her new digs. Her landlady installed a great gas stovetop and a clothes washer, but she can't do much about the availability of water to the building which is only twice a day for several hours. Amazing that so many things just don't function in spite of the appearance of modernity.

Sunday afternoon, I took comfortable bus back to Masalli and that's when my host mom gave me the bad news about the little house. Sally called later with good news that she and I have inherited some softball equipment, so now we need to get our act together and field a couple of co-ed teams! This will be very good.