Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Rain Rain Go Away...

So the last week, I'm sitting at the kitchen table finishing up my first breakfast of the day, getting ready to put on my shoes and take the dog out for her morning constitutional when I see these huge splats begin to hit the window. Uh oh.... In about 30 more seconds the splats turn into a deluge and it's raining harder than I've seen it rain anywhere in a long time. I apologize to the dog, but tell her I'm not going out in this, and neither is she, and put her back in her crate. I thought it would rain hard and then lighten up a bit, but no. It rained hard for an hour or so. The street flooded, our lobby flooded, it was crazy. As I watched the street turned into a little river, and cars were driving by in water up to the middle of their wheels. But then it was weird, it finally stopped raining, and out came the sun and it was a gorgeous day. Except for the small creeks, and rivers everywhere you'd never know that it had been raining. Crazy!

uh... Honey we're not going out right now
the street in front of our apartment
driving in the river
more water
the pool inside our lobby

Friday, October 27, 2006

Flirting with kids

I was out walking with Honey today, when I was ambushed by a group of highschool boys who started off slyly asking about Honey. Started off innocently enough, although I should have known better most people here are terrified of dogs. They petted her, once I assured them she wouldn't bite, talked about how good she was, and even asked how old she was (although in retrospect they might have been asking my age). I talked politely with them, answering what I could with my limited knowledge of Russian, and their limited usable English, and then continued on with Honey to finish her potty break, which is why we were out there to begin with. As Honey finished up, two of them circled in again to make their move.... Apparently there needed to be courage worked up or something. The two of them approached as I was trying to get Honey to poop and started to compliment me. I didn't understand at first, but soon caught on, and tried to figure out a way to turn down these young'uns without being too mean, and in a way that they would definitely understand me. I tried to tell them in English that they were too young, they didn't get it, so then I moved on to hinting around the topic by asking them how old they were, and then implying that I was old... which when you're talking to 18 year olds a 30 year old is OLD. I was pleased though.... it's not everyday you get hit on by 18 year olds, while you are carrying your husband's child no less. Score one for the pregnant girls!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mommy's first maternity outfit

So I thought we were going out Saturday so I got all dressed up and I thought I would celebrate by putting on a maternity outfit for once. I didn't think I actually needed one, so far I have been getting by with slightly baggier shirts and loose fitting pants, but when I put on the outfit I was surprised to see that I actually DO look pregnant. I suppose it's about time, I am nearly halfway through. But still, it's shocking to suddenly look in the mirror and see a pregnant woman. Anyway, I just thought I'd share the new look.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 20, 2006


I was in the park with Honey this morning doing a little long neglected brushing when I noticed that there was an awful lot of commotion going on at the local school. I ignored it thinking that it was just regular noise, but then I noticed that the loud boys were herding two sheep into the schoolyard. Honey and I went closer to investigate, but could learn nothing, except that the I think kids were being let out of school early. Mothers and littler kids were fleeing the schoolgrounds in force, while the older kids were gathering in groups to gossip and exchange plans for the upcoming holiday (I assume. The govt. declared Mon & Tues to be national holidays in respect of Ramadan). Some kids and parents were milling about in the schoolyard. The kids running wild, as kids will do, and the parents watching with one eye and talking to teachers and other parents out of the other. The two sheep were alternately ignored and chased around by groups of boys, while the sheep handler tried in vain to keep the sheep contained and keep the boys away from them.
My best guest is that these sheep will be sacrificed. From what I have gathered from Wikipedia, at the end of Ramadan there is a feast of Eid and it is possibly a tradition to sacrifice a sheep in a symbolic nod to Abraham's gift of sheep from God when he was supposed to sacrifice his son. I also think, and I don't know where I'm getting this from that part of the sheep is eaten by the family, while the rest is given to the poor. I was curious to see if this is what was going on so I waited around for a good half an hour to see what they were up to, but nothing was happening so I went back home. Some pics...

mad handler trying to calm sheep
run sheep run
kids in school yard

Thursday, October 19, 2006


We are overseas, and no surprise, one of the first things we did was hire a maid. It is actually beneficial to our marriage that we have a maid, because I don't like to clean... at all, and neither does Vlad, but both of us hate messy dusty apartments. In the states, we couldn't afford to have someone come clean once a week, so we had to do it ourselves. Which is fine, everyone does it, but in the spirit of women's lib and all, I will not be the only one to clean anything. I hate it! And in the spirit of men's lib and fairness neither will Vlad. So it's generally a constant battle between what we would like to see done, what we are willing to do, and what we can negotiate the other person into doing. BUT! Overseas we can afford to have someone come in twice a week and make our apartment sparkle. No more whose going to clean the toilet fights. No more I'm not mopping the floor this week fights. None of that. Just come home, house is clean. Beautiful.
But now I have guilt. In China, there was no guilt. Our maid was from a village somewhere and what we were paying her was far and above better, and the work was safer, than anything she could have gotten on the local economy. We were paying her something crazily small like a dollar and a half an hour, but if she was working in the city as a laborer in some factory she'd be making less and have the added benefit of risking her life every day when she went to work (take for instance the guys who washed the apartment windows. They went to work suspended from the top of a tall building on a length of rope no bigger than my arm. No saftey harness, no platform, just the rope. I guarantee that our maid was making WAY more than those guys).
But Baku. With communism just ending and the private sector taking some time to work out the corruption, well it's just sad. True, no one is starving. In general I don't feel bad about the population. Everyone looks healthy, suitably dressed, and housed. In China this was often not the case. Almost everyday I saw people, even kids, where I thought to myself there's no way that guy's eaten today, and he HAS a job. So I don't feel overly privileged just because I eat everyday. However, I was talking to our maid today, and I was asking how she learned English. Well, she taught herself while she was in school. And she was in school a long time because she's an economist. She used to work as a manager (I'm not sure if I understood her right) or maybe the head of a department in a company, until she got laid off due to the corruption (maybe she didn't take bribes, or didn't take bribes from the right people I don't know). Before that she worked for an insurance company, and before that she was a government official in a communist organization. HOW CRAZY IS THAT??? She says that she doesn't have any bitterness about this work, but still I feel bad. Would I be able to go from running a section having important things to do, to sweeping someone's floor? And do it cheerfully to? I don't know. I'm barely handling going from the THOUGHT of a legal career to housewife. I don't know if I had actually done stuff. Which is once again why I'm grateful that God has allowed me to be where I am and who I am. I could have easily been born in America with no prospects, or in China with even less prospects.....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In Country at Last

We've finally made it to Azerbaijan. Not until the very end of our journey did I actually think we would make it here. I thought, surely, they are going to call us up and say, "I'm sorry, did you think you were going to Azerbaijan, well in reality, Vlad is going to Iraq and you are going to stay in the states for a year." Which would have been fine... um not really, except that it interferes with the other news that's going on with us.... We're going to have a baby. I know, I know, I talked a lot of talk about not being mommy material, and children being difficult and sticky. And well, I still think that, but hopefully our infant will change my mind. Vlad is tickled pink and can hardly contain himself with excitement. I can hardly contain myself too, but it's not excitement that threatens to leak out.... I don't know why, but my morning sickness still continues to linger on. It's not the overwhelming all encompassing nausea that it was, but now a more subtle, have to eat or else I get headachy and subject to bouts of vomiting kind of thing.
I am pleased though, because I did not explode right away into a three hundred pound pregnant woman. I'm still manageably small, and if I dress appropriately I can hide the fact that I'm pregnant, even at 19 weeks. I might still explode, but I was not huge at 10 weeks. So maybe I'll have a reasonable sized baby afterall.
Anyway, I am in the process of collecting pictures of Baku to share, and I've got some anecdotes and whatever. I'll try to blog better in the future.