A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about reflection

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)

Stories from 2013

"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow."

I was lucky enough to be starting and ending the year back home, but most of the days in between were spent on different journeys. I got to spend my days with wonderful people, exploringing new countries and trying new experiences. After a good break I'm soon going back to normal life in Baku. Last years created a lot of memorable, exciting and new stories and new friendships were formed.

Happy new year everyone

Posted by CamillaS 01:46 Tagged egypt reflection serbia norway portugal georgia azerbaijan newyears 2013 Comments (0)

Contrast and Thoughts Norway vs. Azerbaijan

Reflection after my parents visit

sunny 20 °C

2013-10-11_22_14_28-1.jpg

I finally got a long-awaited visit from my parents after 4,5 months of living in Azerbaijan. When you are moving to a different country or environment, you undergo a initial culture shock and discovery. The first few weeks are thrilling exciting and full of new experiences where even taking the bus can be an exciting new adventure. (I remember my huge challenge in China; figuring out how to buy fruit). But as time passes you find your own pace and place in the new environment

So now that I've been here a while it was an especially interesting exercise of reflection to see what they reacted to and thought of my temporary home . country. These are some of the things that my parents took a notice of during their weeks here.

Beep BEEEP
Norway is a quiet country, small cities, its even illegal to honk the horn unnecessary. So coming to Baku and seeing a totally different traffic picture left memories. First of all its the honking, the drivers will not think twice about hitting the horn as if the drivers feel the need to let everyone know that they are coming. The traffic is definitely a lot more audible than Norway. But even when the car is not in motion it brought a shock, because the parking is all over the place. Imagine a "unblock me" game and you have the parking norms, who cares about the guy that is parked is blocked in by 2 cars on all sides. That's his problem! I guess because I've never had a driving license I don't notice everything about the traffic picture, but this is obvious to anyone that its not a good solution.

2013-10-15_11_31_56.jpg

Oh Baby
I knew before coming here Azerbaijan is a family focused culture, but it was my parents that pointed it out for me just how much the city has for kids. Going to the center or a park in the evening and you will find families with their kids playing around. And there is a lot of things especially equipped for children, the parks has trampolines, toys, electric cars and other activities for the small ones. I guess its not that Norway is not focused on kids (Norway is infamous for spoiling them), but rather we have more of these things at home, and many use their own gardens or playgrounds around their house instead. But its not just this practical aspect, there is also a bunch of stores focused on the kiddies. The country adores their little ones that's for sure.

Taste of Azerbaijan
One of the first things people asked me after I arrived (after "did you like Baku?") was "Did you try national food? Azerbaijan has the best cuisine". I have since tasted Azerbaijani food several times of course, (best be when home-made). Food is an important part of the culture. Let me tell you my parents loved the food here! And not just the local ones; we went to Azerbaijani, Georgian, Lebanese, Japanese, Turkish, Chinese and more. The diversity of food you can get here is amazing (They even sell Norwegian salmon!) In the edible section you can find just as much diversity here as you would in Norway, and when it comes to products in stores perhaps even more diversity. You can get danish cookies, norwegian water, Ukrainian chocolates and french wines. Its perhaps a novel thing, but having the opportunity to get the types of products you get in your home country really makes a difference when you are living abroad. Anyway it also says something about the diversity of people living in Azerbaijan(well Baku) these days; its an international crowd and ever expanding.

This was perhaps a bit of a short list, but I don't want to drag it out. My parents liked Baku a lot, thought it was a beautiful city with good food and many fun experiences.

2013-10-20_14_05_19.jpg

2013-10-17_11_44_38.jpg

Posted by CamillaS 06:00 Archived in Azerbaijan Tagged children traffic reflection baku azerbaijan visit living_abroad Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]