There are two advantages to living in Ujar, my site in Azerbaijan. I don’t know if these advantages outweigh the bad things that come with this place, but if you’re going to make it through the Peace Corps, you’ve got to focus on the good.
The best thing about Ujar is our supermarket, which we honorary Ujarians call, “The Awesome Store.” It’s tiny by American standards, but this place blows other stores in the area out of the water. They have real coffee, cereal, good cheese, and frozen ravioli. Except for a couple of the bigger sites in AZ, this store is head and shoulders above the rest. It’s the first place I go when I have friends come over from other regions. This place has made my life simpler and better. And when it’s really hot out, I go there because they have air conditioning and I shop really, really slowly.
Speaking of hot, this is THE biggest downside to this little town in the plains. It gets insanely hot here. Like 110 hot. Therein, however, lies the second benefit of this place: short winters.
It’s been warmer here lately, and the trees are starting to bloom once again. We’ve had classic spring weather of strong winds and light rain over the past week. Today has been the day when it all comes together, though. The sun is shining and the air is warm. I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet, but we’re getting mighty close to barbecue weather.