Making my own teaching materials

On Sept. 24th last year, I flew from Minneapolis to Philadelphia to join 60 others headed to the Central Asian country of Azerbaijan to serve in the Peace Corps. That day seems long ago because I’m feeling acclimated to life here in Masalli teaching English at Digah school. Continue Reading

Car culture in Azerbaijan

I may be a Peace Corps volunteer but that hasn’t keep me from developing a desire for a Mercedes-Benz car! I see them everywhere here in Masalli, Azerbaijan – guessing that nearly one-fourth of the cars are Mercedes. Even my host dad/musician drives a Mercedes. Continue Reading

Five months in Masalli

As the school year comes to a close here in Azerbaijan, I can reflect on what I have – and haven’t – accomplished in my 5 months co-teaching English as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I arrived in the town of Masalli at the end of December just before the Winter break. In January, I began working with English teachers at a new school in Digah Village. Continue Reading

Food in Azerbaijan

Common questions about living in a foreign county are often: What is the food like? What do people eat there? Do you ever get sick? In my 6 months in Azerbaijan as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I’ve eaten typical, seasonal family fare in this small Central Asian country, and not gotten sick. Continue Reading

Novrus Holiday: celebrating the arrival of spring

The people of Azerbaijan won me over with their weeks-long celebration of the Spring holiday called Novrus. It is my favorite time of year in Minneapolis, but here the anticipation begins long before the Spring Equinox. On the four Tuesdays leading up to March 20th there are festivities honoring the four elements, water, fire, wind, and the earth. Continue Reading

Dressing for winter in Azerbaijan

I’ve been following the Mpls-St. Paul Winter weather from the comfort of an internet cafe in Masalli, Azerbaijan – that’s in central Asia. While the snowfall amounts for Minnesota seem above normal, I can say that the 2 snowfalls here of big fluffy flakes also seem not normal. Many mornings I can see snow on the top of the nearby Talysh Mountains but nothing to stick on the ground. Continue Reading

8.8: Chilean-Minnesotan reflections and a call for help

8.8. It is not just a digit anymore. It means power and strength. It means the end and a start. It means hands together, a country embracing each other… I am not an expert in numerology and have no intention in becoming one. I am a Chilean living in Minnesota, deeply moved by what Chile and my fellow countrymen and countrywomen are going through. Continue Reading