I’ve been Ujar and i lived to tell the tale. In all honesty it was nice. If anything, I feel like a bit of a jerk for being so upset about getting placed there.
The story goes, for those who haven’t been keeping score, is that I am now in at the training site, finishing up the last few weeks of pre-service training (PST). After PST everyone will be distributed throughout Azerbaijan. We all got a preview of what our lives will be like last week, as we spent four days visiting our future.
In a lot of ways, I’m moving up in the world. I’m currently living in a ‘settlement’ that is comprised of some pretty dense housing, which is surrounded by the Caspian Sea and garbage. In Ujar (spelled in Azeri Ucar), I’ll be living in a house as opposed to the fifth floor of an apartment building. I have a huge room to myself, and live with a really nice family, comprised of a grandmother, mother, father, and three brothers who are 19, 17, and 6 years old. Along with the new family, I’m also had to spend some time marvelling at the clean city streets, which include sidewalks of all things.
I spent time meeting my counterpart, who is named Hamlet. He’s my link into the community and we spent time walking around town, being introduced to other teachers, educators, and administrators.
Most people seemed pretty happy to meet me. There wasn’t as much gawking as happens here, and I think that’s because they are used to having volunteers around. One of the volunteers left last month, and a lot of people assumed I was his brother coming to take over for him. A funny conclusion, but at the same time, it’s some footsteps for me to follow in.
While it was nice to see the town, at the same time there was one blaring issue at hand; it was completely boring. I saw everything in the town in the first 12 hours, and other than that it was biding my time until I left. The other volunteers who have been stationed there took their vacations to turkey for the summer. It was an indication of things to come. Overcoming the lack of direction and boredom that might come will be, in my opinion, the hardest challenge to overcome. I did get to start and finish Everything is Illuminated, which was amazing. So i guess I’ll read a lot for the next two years.
When I actually move there, I’ll take some pictures and post them here.