Sunday, March 15, 2009

One week down

Hello everyone, I able to get this blog underway. What a week it's been! I arrive after midnight here on Tuesday March 9th. Slept for few hours then came right to work. The staff here at the Academy are all quite nice...and speak fluent English. I've spend the week doing what I've done every admissions year...emailing and speaking with prospective students. Except they are from Georgia (the country, not the state), Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, Molodova and the other 'stans....and no, I don't mean my brother, Stan.

As for life outside of work, well....the Azeris (that what the citizens of Azerbaijan are called) still have a form of polite timidity with regard to me passing on them. However, kids are down right curious, giggle and turn to stare....I guess for nearly all of them..they have never seen an African-American woman with grey hair on the street. So if I was them I would stare too!

Over the weekend, I joined a gym (thank God) and yes, I found one...not much, but it will do for this gym rat! And, the most important thing I brought a coffee is the most espensive commodity here and Azeris DO NOT drink coffee. Ah, no Starbucks here. So I am quite happy to have my java now!!

Pictures, I'll post next time....thanks to my wonderful (now ex-) staff and colleagues at Dickinson, I have great cool digital Fuji...that I'm still trying to figure out how to work. Wanda, another tutoring session when I'm back in Carlisle.

Finally, if you care to write me...only send it to the school address...seems like there is no residential delivery'll never trash the US Postal Service, our Constitution or level sidewalks again.

Until next time,
Janice in Baku


  1. You know if you READ the instruction book that came with the camera, you might not be so confused. Only 103 weeks to go. If they don't drink coffee, what do they drink? How about socila events? What do they do for fun?

  2. Speaking from personal experience after living 2.5 months in Turkey with a non English speaking hetero couple in a village. You will have a great experience. But, remember: although it is a democratic Muslim republic, and the appearance is one of more freedom, it is Muslim, and the local women do not enjoy as much privilege as we do.

    So, some tips:

    1. Enjoy your experience, do not let the stares frighten you, they are signs of great curiosity and friendliness.

    2. Keep your NYC wits about you, and use it to meet the locals, men and women alike. The men will be very charming and will not understand your refusing a date. Not to worry, they will still remain friendly and always offer to help, accept the help but not the advances.

    3. Find a small pocket dictionary, and better yet go online and download some key phrases, ask your assistant to show the pronunciation. Showing that you are making an effort to learn their language will go a long way in improving community relations. Carry your dictionary with you, pulling it out of your coat pocket is a sign to you want to become a part of their lives.

    4. Find the expats in Azerbaijan on the Facebook groups. Having international contacts can be a life saver.

    5. Enjoy your experience, and make the most of it. You will have these friends for ever.

    I will be returning to Turkey in 2010 for 2.5 months maybe more. Working to see if I can get an exchange grant, in which case I will stay for 3 months.

    Keep reporting on even the most mundane aspects of your daily life, you are sure to have 2 readers: Tammy and momo.

    Be good to yourself;