Best times and worst times over, yaxşı yol

‘Our dreams are our destiny’- I had a dream too, and there was not included anything like living in Ganja. After looking for a job whole summer in 2009, I finally found a job in Ganja, but again chose a different path. A friend of mine told me about a job in Peace Corps/ Azerbaijan a day before deadline, and, thanks to the technology in Ganja, I submitted it an hour before the deadline, but it passed. I won’t go into details of the whole process, although, I would love to write everything in details. I was accepted as a Language and Culture Facilitator (LCF) in Peace Corps/Azerbaijan for three months. At that time I had no idea what kind of big impact this period was going to bring to my life.

I am proud to give my small speech about Peace Corps in my blog:  Peace Corps is an American state organization which sends out American citizens to developing countries to volunteer for 27 months. My small speech always becomes very long due to questions. If you have any questions, I am sure you have, you can check the official webpage of Peace Corps here and learn more about it.

Before becoming a volunteer, for language, some technical skills learning and cultural integration they live in host families in Sumgait, a city close to Baku, and have their Pre-Service Training (PST) which includes more than learning language, technical skills, and culture integration. During PST a team of brilliant, professional and patient people work with trainees. I was among thirteen young people-LCFs to teach Azeri language and our culture to trainees.

In my first-year experience, unlike my friends, I knew Americans only from movies. Training of Trainers (TOT) supervised by amazing people taught us a lot of things about our job. I was going to learn more by myself; I realized it when I looked back at six people from different age group in the bus going to Kotej, a small site in Sumgait, where I had been just once before. Have you ever taken a picture in your mind? I am doing it from time to time; I take a picture of moments in my mind as I want to have them with me forever. One of those pictures was taken in that bus. I remember it so well, the main difference between those pictures and other pictures is that there is no way to share them.

My new life began from that bus. Six trainees and I were going to live in the place that we didn’t have any idea about, and with people that we were going to see for the first time. Time always flies, but there it was flying faster. I was there to teach, but I guess I was learning more; I was not learning English, but I was learning more about people, places, life and most important, myself. In our society not all old people listen to young people, instead they prefer to be listened to. To my surprise, there I was being listened to by older people, even maybe everything I said was wrong, but yet they were listening to me; it was actually a good feeling. Out of cultural norms, mentality or I do not know exactly why in our culture, we have been taught mostly to listen to our teachers at school, even if sometimes everything they are talking about is nothing but nonsense, and to our parents, older family members, relatives at home.

There are some turning points in everybody’s life, and one of my turning points in life began with this job. Not words but in fact, acts teach us a lot things. I was not taught anything; I just saw and thought about what I saw. Now I am here blind typing on my computer, because I was amazed at Gretchen how she did it, and I decided I can do the same, I am writing a blog, because Mason told me about his blog, and encouraged me to send an application to women-forum, I am doing master in another country because Eugene was with me during whole process, I have read books of my favorite authors, because Judith sent them to me, I know young people also can do amazing things, because I saw Tim doing it, I continued holding on my motto ‘Impossible is nothing’, because Joe wrote down something for me, right now I know it is ok to be a young girl and live in another country, because I saw Morgan doing it, I saw how positive attitude towards people, culture can change everything, because I observed it in Colin, I learned nothing, no language problem, culture, or any other factors have anything to do in building friendship, because Alise called me a friend, although it was too early according to our culture.

I know we have a very few time in this world, so I always prefer to express my gratitude first to God, then to all the people who have helped me to come to the point where I am now. I haven’t done anything big yet, nothing at all, but I have done one big thing for me now; I know Sabina more now, and it is what matters.

I remembered Thanksgiving last year, when it was my turn, I said just one sentence: I am thankful to God for everything in my life. And I still am no matter what. With this post, first I thank to God, then to all of my ex-trainees, but new friends for everything but everything. Mason and Tim already left Azerbaijan, and the rest will leave before I go back. I want to believe we will see each other again somewhere sometimes. (Yeah, I know, it sounds like a farewell, but it is not, of course. I should keep reminding myself –‘There is internet, Sabina’)

Best times and worst times over. Congratulations,Tim and Mason, you made it. I am proud of you, I don’t know exactly how it was to be a duckling a  trainee and a volunteer in Azerbaijan. But on my part I can say being momma duck, ‘Bad’ Sabina with you was great, hard, fun and a pleasure, ducklings. I love you all, and I wish all the best and xeyirlisi to you in your new adventures.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Gretchen on November 19, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Oh, Sabina, you are wonderful!! You helped me survive all those unknowns in a new country and taught me so much. You’ve continued to make me so proud by following your dreams!! Thank heavens for the internet… we will always be in touch.


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