I’ve realized why this school year feels so much different than last years’. I wrote about it a little bit in a post before, but I’ve finally decided that it’s the relationships that I have in the city of Ujar that make this year feel so much better than last year.
Part of it is communication. I’ve much better at speaking Azeri than I was at this point last year. I can communicate thoughts and ideas, and most importantly, I’m comfortable doing it. I think this has led me to be more open with people here, and more willing to engage them in conversation.
In the same vein, I’ve definitely relaxed. I was dreading coming back to Azerbaijan after my trip to the Balkans. Truth be told, being here is much easier than it was before I left. For some reason that i’m still trying to figure out, I’ve been more willing to give people here a pass when they do something that annoying or offensive.
With this new relaxed approach, the school year has been going well. It’s been great working with the students and my counterparts. Of course there have been frustrating times (it’s the peace corps), but I’ve dealt with them in a much more mature, seasoned manner. If the rest of the school year goes like it has this far, I think I’ll leave on a great note.