Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Guess It's Been A While...

...but rest assured - we're here! It's 11 PM, and I'm pretty tired...so I'll give you the bullet point version of what we've been up to and then bombard you with pictures. (which, by the way, will only open in Internet Explorer...it's a technological mystery)

- D's started an Open Mic Night in Ganja that's been incredibly successful...
- We're addicted to The West Wing and have no idea what we'll do with ourselves once we've finished the last season...be productive, I guess...ugh.
- We've moved into our own little home - YEAH!!
- We're teaching a U.S. Government class and are totally embarrassed by how little we know about our own country...
- We're gearing up for some summer trips around the country...birding is on the list (shocking, I'm sure, for those of you that know Dustin Windham)
- We met some Aggies in Baku! Gig 'em.

We've gotten so much good news from home lately -- babies born, first steps taken, cancer defeated, milestones reached. Know that we celebrate with you...on the other side of the world, we celebrate with you. We love you all SO much! Thank you for your continued concern and support. We couldn't go on without you.

See...still here! We're at Dustin's work party at "Magara" ... the cave. It's one of two restaurants in town where women are officially "olar" -- allowed. Yeah, Magara!! :)

The Ganja Peace Corps Crew and the New U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Matthew Bryza. He toured the country with the Peace Corps Country Director to celebrate P.C.'s 50th Anniversary - Happy Birthday, Peace Corps!

Azeri Road Block - Water Buffalo

What will soon be the downfall of my waistline -- tendir bread. There's a shop around the corner from our house. Tendir bread is cooked, well - vertically. Sounds crazy...I know. I'll take some pictures at the bakery one day. The ovens are these concrete, open-ended domes about 3 feet tall. They've got a fire in the center, and the dough is slapped (literally) onto the side of the oven. It is, with the exception of Granny's, the best bread on the face of the planet. ISTI COREK....mmmmm... (hot bread).

Dustin and Ilqar (pronounced Ilgar). We're in the backyard of the home he shares with this wife, children, mother and father. The garden is incredible -- full of potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, string beans, plus every fruit tree you can imagine. I love that about this country - everyone's got a garden. Ilqar's learning English and D's learning Azeri (much better than me, by the way)...so our dinner conversation is a crazy mix of both. Ilqar kept saying "organic, organic" every time a new plate of food came to the table. haha...

Kelly and Ilqar's Niece. Ilqar is one of Dustin's friends form work - he's such a wonderful man. When his family invites us over, they treat us like we're one of the gang.

Ilqar's sons and niece - (her name means Poppy - love it). The boys look like they've been in a bit of a marker war -- it's actually chicken pox medicine. HA...Every time I'd walk into the room, they'd start screaming and run away - does wonderful things for your self confidence, let me tell you. The giant yellow-haired woman... (AKA - Sari Sach "Yellow Hair")
Dustin and Saedat's Little One, Muslim. Saedat is our host sister-in-law from training in Sumgayit. We went back for an education fair in Baku this weekend and took a trip to Sumgayit to see the new baby. It was a strange feeling going back to that town, back to that apartment, but it was so nice to see them.

Aunt (Bibi) Kelly and Baby Muslim

A Packed House @ Dustin's Open Mic Night! 120 in Attendance - Way to Go, D! I'm sure he'll want to fill you in on all the details, so I'll leave it at that for now.

The Cure-All For a Crappy Day - Homemade French Fries and Beer

Rebecca and I on "Grown Up Night" ... although I'm not quite living up to the night's goal here. Rebecca's boyfriend, Mark, is here on a Fulbright Scholarship. Rebecca's been such a great friend these last few months. She'll be leaving in a week...along with my sanity! Ladies, never underestimate the need for and the power of a good friend!! To all my ladies at home, I miss you so!

Dustin & Ruzi at the Ganja International School Carnival - Ruzi was officiating the Ping Pong tournament.

A Little Bit of Hitchcock

The Lone Poppy - This is a walk along a road by the river. It opens up into a big clearing with an awesome view of the mountains...when they're not covered in clouds...

The New House! Two Bedrooms, A Living Room / Kitchen, and an INDOOR BATHROOM!! Lovin' It! - Dustin at the Kitchen Table - We've Got a 70's Thing Going On...We're planning to paint quotes on our walls in the next few weeks - put a little D&K into this place.

The Ganja Softball Team - YEAH!