Soon we will be celebrating, and since all of us Peace Corps Trainees will surely be homesick, my group is gathering for our own special Thanksgiving feast. We will have turkey and as much of the traditional items we can manage. I am going to bring a variation of a Waldorf salad; I can find the apples and walnuts in the bazar (market), but no celery—can’t find it here; so instead I will add pomegranates, of which there are plenty, since Azerbaijan is the pomegranate capital of this region. We even plan on playing some games, and maybe watching an American movie on someone’s DVD player; it’ll almost be like home.
When I told my host mom about my plans to celebrate the American Holiday with other Peace Corps friends, she right away offered to make some Azerbaijani holiday specialty to send along to our gathering—she’s making “plov,” an Azerbaijani version of rice pilaf, which contains dried fruits, raisins, onions, and lots of oil; it’s delicious.
Tuesday I meet with my upcoming host-country national counterpart, someone from the university in Mingechavir. We will all be gathering to meet our counterparts in a hotel in Xirdalan, and it not only should be a nice affair, but I am very anxious to get acquainted and find out more about the job expectations. Some I have already heard, and my assignment may include a lot of traveling around the country, holding training seminars. That should be lots of fun. I am also excited to re-establish some connections I made some weeks ago in Mingechavir, including the university conversation club, the school and teachers I visited, the Peace Corps Volunteers already working there, and the new ones, along with myself.