Monday, December 17, 2012

It's Time

"So this is what you meant when you said that you were spent?
And now it's time to build from the bottom of the pit right to the top,
Don't hold back
Packing my bags and giving the academy a rain check

I don't ever want to let you down
I don't ever want to leave this town
'Cause after all
This city never sleeps at night...

It's time to begin, isn't it?
I get a little bit bigger, but then,
I'll admit, I'm just the same as I was
Now don't you understand
That I'm never changing who I am?"
It's Time by Imagine Dragons

What an incredibly busy year this 3rd year is going to be! I am LOVING it! The quick trip to the States really refreshed me and allowed me jump right into everything with my ridiculous brand of energy and enthusiasm. Today I visited a leaving PCV in Sheki and got to see the first snow fall of the season. It was heavenly...mainly because I knew eventually I'd be leaving that area for my Barda...sweet Barda where it rarely snows.

Soo for up-coming and current projects (both my own and ones I'm helping with) this 3rd year:
Soccer Field with a Running Track
Recycling Art Project
Recycled Materials Playground
HIV/AIDS Awareness
Organic Markets
PSA's Videos
Master's Project
Women's Group
Flag Football Club
Previous Sports Clubs
Basketball & Volleyball Tournaments

I guess since I'm making lists, I'll put my personal goals as well...
Better at Azerbaijani
Learn Russian
Study for the MCAT
Write my DAMN thesis!
Do Yoga daily.. (gotta replace the running somehow)
Learn to play the guitar
Read more books

I know that some will drop away and more will be added. I'm sure either way that it goes, it'll be a great year full of challenges, great moments, and learning experiences.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I Was Here (United Nations World Humanitarian Day Perform...

When I first heard this song, I thought, this..this right here is the sound of my soul.  Now seeing the video, it has embodied all that I love doing in my life and what I hope to continue doing for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Blink

Normally, I would quote the song of the post here but I just can't do the song justice by doing that.  So here is the link to the video.  I hope you all know that every moment is precious and to be appreciated.

Kenny Chesney - Don't Blink

The idea of "Don't Blink" has pretty much been my motto this whole time here. Along with many, many other phrases such as "Go, Do, BE!" and "This is your time, do with it what you please." I find inspiration in all the other volunteers, international aid workers, and especially the Azerbaijani people. This train of thought has led me to slack in blog updates AND journal entries. I don't punish myself for not posting or writing because I know my time spent here has been amazing and all I require later is the feeling of warmth and love. The sense of accomplishment is not what I aim for or remember the most, it's the smiles and laughter that I record for later usage. I guess if I could record anything from my life it'd be the trips and challenges I experience that I just deal with by laughter and tears. This experience has made me stronger and yet weaker. I have developed some emotional problems with the isolation but then with each of these isolation challenges I have become stronger in other areas of my life. I may have been stubborn before but now I am officially and completely bull-headed.

I feel like I talk about my projects entirely too much so this post will be more about my inner-journey rather than the technical part of my life.

Whenever I think about the emotional difficulties I encounter my first reaction is to take a scolding tone to myself. I think things like "You aren't here to work on your issues" or "You have an amazing life, so quit your bitchin'" but I think these words have affected my service and work here. Maybe the idea is that the more stable my emotions are, the better my service. So then maybe it is worth the time I take out of my schedule to work through this issues. All sound like a jumbled mess? Then we are on the same page. I also have developed quite the ADD and sometimes bipolar behavior. This is all natural when presented with stressors and outside pressures BUT when this happens it only spirals and creates more problems internally. How do I stop this cycle? I run or do an Insanity workout. Now herein lies the current issue, I hurt my foot last week and I can't run OR do the Insanity workouts, so this has left me irritable, quick to react negatively or just cry. I depend on exercise to function. My other outlets for stress are hanging out with guys, painting, craft projects, etc. Hanging out with guys here is NOT possible right now. Painting is not available seeing as paint is not easy to find and probably the cost of a week's allowance. Sooo again onto the next, an art project. I have run out of yarn for my blanket or I've become bored of the other projects. The list goes on and I know once my foot is completely healed I will become more stable but for the moment, life is CRAZY! I'm tellin' ya, these weeks are putting me through the ringer.

I long for days in America where I can come and go as I please, walk the streets and not be noticed, hang out with guys whenever the moment suits me, or just relax. It has been drilled into my head that relaxing is not for this lifetime, every moment has to be filled with planning, creating, or doing. I meditate when my mind is spinning but this is always the last resort before I debate committing myself. HAHA! When I sit down with a good book, I always think "I could be working on the next project" or "My time here is so short what am I doing wasting it?!" I have come to realize that no matter where in the world I am, I carry this same notion, I could be doing more. I never want to slow down to appreciate my successes or learn more knowledge because well for the most part that bores me and I think my time would better be spent dreaming and executing ideas.

If you came to this blog post looking for inspiration or a story to reflect upon, I apologize, it's not here. You now have an example of my brain in full ADD mode. I can't keep one train of thought and my moods throughout this message have been anger, deep sadness, happiness, embarrassment, appreciation for the good times, etc.. I'm all over the place these days. Let's hope this foot heals soon so that the world becomes a better place.

How about some short updates:

-The Eco-Farm project is almost finished

-My counterpart gave me a lecture yesterday that I'm old and need to marry asap!

-My cp also told me that I'm much prettier in person than in my pictures.. umm thanks?

-The people at my org are worried that my family won't recognize me when they come to the airport in May. I have lost so much weight and went from, what can only be described as a giant blueberry, to a thin girl. By no means am I thin, but in their minds I have been cut in half.

-My organization shut the doors on their office in my city and if they don't open another one soon, I'll have to switch organizations.

-I have received the green light on my extension from several people in the Peace Corps and with my organization.

-I will be basing my Master's Research on the Chestnut Blight in Azerbaijan.

-My next major project will be Eco-Markets in several villages.

-My dream project would be a large rain water collection in a village that can give the people water when the river dries up for a couple weeks during the summer.

-I met a really great dude in Baku and every time we talk, he makes me laugh even after we stop talking. I cherish laughter more than ever now.

-People here have decided that I must want to be married to an Azerbaijani boy because I am staying for another year.

-My program manager has left the Peace Corps to live in Canada. He has been one of my biggest inspirations and mentors. I will miss him dearly and I hope only the best for him in his bright future. (NOW I'm crying).

-Before my injury I was up to running 2 miles straight and about 6 miles in one routine. A little walking in between the miles.

-My family will be here in less than a month.

-I have become known through this region and neighboring ones as the girl that works at the agriculture organization that has that worm house. THIS is so cool! I love that people are talking about composting. Not so much talking about me, but the project is a beaut!

-I have not only been proposed by Azeri’s to marry their nephews or sons but now I have had several American women offer me their nephews or sons. This has become quite hilarious and caused me to become slightly awkward.

-We will be starting an Ultimate Frisbee Club in our town.

-My sitemates are sent from heaven. They tolerate my mood swings and random train of thoughts. I will miss them dearly when our service comes to a close.

-I now happily drink and appreciate dark coffee with no sugar or creamer! Oh yeah, I’m becoming a bad ass! Back up now.

-I miss the beach with all my heart. I have always lived near a beach and this whole land-locked business is breaking my soul with every moment I can’t breathe in that salty, sweet air.

-My landlord and his family are digging up the garden for this year’s crops and are reminding me of their random shouting matches that may or may not be based on anger.

-Every moment of the day, I think, “I wish I was a better volunteer.”

-I have become even more obsessed with music. The music allows me to work through emotions and connect to other souls.

-I love doing short one day trips to different areas in Azerbaijan with one of the young males in my city.  He calls it "Adventures in Azerbaijan".  We go around taking pictures and exploring his wonderful country.

-How I Hurt My Foot:  Alise asked me "How did you guys move the plywood to get to the thin sheets?" so I went outside to show her and as I'm leaning the plywood back I start screaming that I'm unable to hold it up and it all falls on me, 30 sheets of plywood crushes me.  My big toe on my right foot was almost bent onto the top of my foot.  I screamed that I broke my foot then one I moved the foot so it wasn't being pressed against I started laughing hysterically because I'm a klutz AND Alise was screaming "I CAN'T GET THE WOOD OFF YOU! STOP LAUGHING! YOU ARE MAKING ME LAUGH!" Which only made me laugh more.  I didn't break any bones (experienced x-rays in this country, check) but I think I sprained some tendons or whatever that is in the foot. 

-My new site mates bring joy to my heart.  They are great people and will do wonderful things they are both aware of and not aware of.

-My old site mates that ET'ed at the beginning of my service made me realize that maybe there is such a thing as a soul-mate.  They have been together for 50 years and they still love each other completely.  They will always be such an inspiration to me and I hope to see them again when I return to America.

Random Pictures:

My tutor is a teacher at School #2 and she wanted to bring her class to my house to learn about Ecological Farming and our Eco-Farm Project.  It was great to talk to the youth about our project and how it ties into Earth Day.

Two very tired volunteers overlooking their work.  We had finished painting the inside and outside of the solar dryers.  It was a fantastic day.

I was coating the inside of the worm bins in sunflower oil so that it would be partially water resistant.

Loading up lumber for the Eco-Farm Project.

Jumping over the fire for the Novruz Holiday.  It is a celebration of the coming Spring. When you jump over the fire you are leaving behind your worries and issues in the past.  Staring fresh.

My site mate, Alise, and me.

Henna is sometimes given out in weddings and you put the first letter of the guy you are supposed to love.  Something along those lines.  Alise put "D" for Donna (me) and Dacia (her sister), awwwweeee..

Just chillin at the wedding.

In the Biology Lab there are directions in both English and Azerbaijani.

Look at how HAPPY I am to be in a lab!!

I've got JODI!

Giving a presentation over our new Eco-Farm project.

LOOK what I found in the junkyard!

SNOW?!?  What am I supposed to do with this?!

We visited the Eurovision tryouts for Azerbaijan.  It was fun and great to support two PCV's.

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

BBQ in Baku

BBQ in Azerbaijan
We had a cooker from TEXAS!! The whole party was great and we met a ton of new people in Baku.  The food was delicious, plus there were margaritas involved! WHOOP!

Organic Agriculture Implementation Project Pictures

Here are some random pictures from my Organic Agriculture Implementation Project.  I hope you enjoy the random beauty I find in this country.