A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about picture

Day 365 - Celebrating one year abroad

One year in Azerbaijan

sunny

2014-06-02_10_39_31.png

Tuesday 2nd of June marks the one year anniversary of arriving in Azerbaijan, so I thought to note down a few reflections of the year abroad.

I vividly remember arriving at the airport in Azerbaijan, nervous, excited and full of wonder. It was a dizzying thought that this foreign country would be the place I would call home for the next year.

Standing in the shuttle bus at the airport I was looking at the people around, a few solemn looking businessmen looking bored and tired, an old woman leaning heavily on her son as the bus started driving, a little girl with pigtails and big brown eyes excitedly pointing at everything happening around. It seemed like the girl was the only one sharing my emotions of wonder and excitement for arriving in Azerbaijan. Her mother was wearily looking out without enthusiasm. Perhaps it was also the girls first time in Azerbaijan, or she was just happy to be back home, at any rate she was just as excited as me to finally be in Baku!

Now one year later I would probably be more like the bored business men arriving at the airport, the romantic honeymoon stage of my journey is lone gone, and has been replaced with routine of ordinary life. But I still remember and treasure the first few weeks when I was experiencing Azerbaijan for the first time.

One of the things I love with being abroad is the wonder of it all, how you can be like a child again exploring and discovering the world. Okay, I admit, that might be a bit of a romantic take on it, at times adapting to a new country is more a feeling of frustration, embarrassing and helpless. But for sure

2013-06-02_18_06_51-1.jpg

My experience somehow came to a full circle at the 365th day (That would be Tuesday 2nd June 2014). I was showing an intern around the city and to her new work. The girl had just arrived a few days earlier and all of this was very new for her. I took her around to her new work, took her out to lunch in one of my favorite restaurants and talked about the experience of living in Azerbaijan.

Over the last year I have gotten used to many things I couldn't understand in the beginning. For example when the bus we were supposed to take to the city suddenly changed its route and started going in the opposite direction. A year ago, I would be lost, but now I had gotten used to the roads and paths and managed to find our way from his strange route. Dealing with narcissistic businessmen (who of course were late for our appointed meeting time by 50 minutes). Who arrogantly told us “yes, yes, we can negotiate the working hours”, though we already have a clear contract on it. I found myself firmly repeating the same contract to him and what they had agreed on, I have started to understand the language of business now and learned the hard way that every condition, deliverable and requirement needs to be stared clearly. (And to always have a wide buffer in the timeline, as nothing will happen on time.

The last year has been a (for the lack of better words) rollercoaster. It has been amazing, frustrating, perspective-changing exhausting and unforgettable experience. Its not over yet, I still have 28 more days to go, and I plan on making more memorable experiences! F758041E2219AC681719A6C2A04DA066.jpg2013-06-24_21_32_15-1.jpg2013-06-24_20_09_25-2.jpg

Posted by CamillaS 22:05 Archived in Azerbaijan Tagged picture reflection baku azerbaijan abroad living_abroad 2014 one_year_abroad Comments (0)

Experiencing an Azerbaijani wedding

2013-09-08_20_21_12-1.jpg

Time passes fast and I'm quickly approaching my 6-month anniversary of arriving in Azerbaijan. That day will also make the start of the december advent time, and we can already see the stores are starting to get ready for Christmas. The approaching festivities make me think back on the more special days I have participated in over this time.

In these 6 months I've seen and experienced many things, so I thought to write a few notes on some holidays and celebrations I've experienced. The most noteworthy must be the exciting wedding I got to be a part of!

So, In September I participated in my first azerbaijani wedding, I was thrilled to get to experience this as wedding was on the top of my list of what I wanted to experience. Joining a wedding in any country is always a special event, but especially seeing foreign wedding traditions is a great memory.

The event we joined was "the girls wedding", so it was just the first part of the wedding of sorts. Let me be explain, there are two "weddings" in Azerbaijan: "The girl wedding" is actually an engagement party, it makes the engagement official, but the couple is not living together yet. Then some months later the "boys wedding" is the real wedding and the couple is husband and wife with all that entails.

The wedding started at the girls house, where aunts, grandma, mom and friends (and me!) were hanging out with the (slightly nervous) bride-to-be. The mood was giddy with excitement and relatives in other countries Skyped to participate by long-distance. People were chatting and hanging out while we waited for the boys family. After some time someone burst in saying that tha car had arrived, and nervous laughter and last minute make-up checks were done before the family came carrying baskets of sweets. After a photo-shoot the couple were escorted out to a waiting car, and we quickly followed as we went off to the wedding palace. All single girls (me included) were carrying the baskets of the sweets as we drove over to the celebration place. (I suppose to wish us luck or encourage us to find a man soon)

The wedding palace is elaborately decorated halls with circular tables filled to the brim with food and sweets. In the middle of the room on a "stage" the couple sits in front of a dance space. After a bit of waiting for everyone to arrive the couple entered the room, cameras were fixed on the couple as they entered and the ceremony where the couple put the ring on each others fingers. The ceremonial part of the wedding was over, but now the feast started! New, delicious dishes constantly came to the table and I got to try dolma, plov, kebabs and many Azerbiajani dishes. The waiter noticing I was not from Azerbaijan took special attention to me, bringing me two of everything, so I came home stuffed to the brim after that.

2013-09-08_18_30_08.jpg

The couple is quite young, so the music was a mix of modern (English, spanish, french, russian) and traditional azerbaijani songs, which of course we were dancing to! Now, I'm terrible at dancing, but to everyones amusement I was dragged onto the dance floor several times (dancing my awkward version of azerbaijani dance, but having even children outdoing me).

Take a look at this small video I compiled

Posted by CamillaS 03:25 Archived in Azerbaijan Tagged wedding picture family bride baku azerbaijan engagement movie video celebration living_abroad Comments (1)

(Entries 1 - 2 of 2) Page [1]