My Azeri Family
A New Family!
These posts are getting long–sorry for the long-windedness! I’ll start getting to some shorter daily-life posts soon.
Who ever thought I’d have an Azeri family, and be an older brother! Meeting a new host family without being able to communicate with them is quite possibly the most awkward experience I’ve had in years. I got off the bus, my host father was ready for me in a beautiful suit and tie, we packed my things in his Toyota Prado, and off we were to my new home.
I really enjoy my host family–I’ve got two host brothers, Sabir and Xayyam, 17 and 15, and a host sister, Savinj, who is 8. My host mom is wonderful, and my host dad, while a little intense, is pretty good. I arrived at my new home to find them waiting, and the first thing we did was have tea. And then they asked if I was hungry, to which I responded no (had a big lunch before I arrived), but was then subjected to a 5 course lunch, followed by tea. I didn’t know what to do after that, so after a few minutes of smiling and awkward hand gesture communication, I excused myself to take a nap and organize my new room (pictures to come).
After I had sufficiently napped and organized my room, I emerged to find that dinner would be put out soon, or whenever I wanted it. It was delicious. There was lamb, chicken, plov (special Azeri pilaf), fresh cucumbers and tomatoes and peppers, a soup, and of course, bread (bread is the most important Azeri food there is–more on that later).
So the scoop is this: My host dad is a dentist, and host mom is a housewife, as most Azeri women are (as much as I’d like to change it, the overriding paradigm here is that women are supposed to be in the kitchen). My ana (mom in Azeri) stays home during days and cooks, cleans, keeps everything moving. She’s particularly wonderful–the food is good, she’s warm and generous, and even though she still insists on doing everything for me, I don’t know if there is anything more I could ask for.
Sabir is a pretty classy kid. He’s got a sweet Euro-mullet going on, and he dresses pretty well. He really enjoys photoshop and has shown me his collection of photo-shopped pictures of himself with various things like snakes (snakes are cool and dangerous!) and Hummers. He also likes Turkish techno-rap-pop music and American music including Eminem and 50 Cent. He blasts them on his superphone that has better speakers than most computers around here. After starting to look through my music collection, I offered him the 4 Eminem albums I have, and he also apparently likes Elton John.
Xayyam is a little more intense that Sabir. He’s a little in your face most of the time, but he’s well-meaning. He wrestled for a few years and is a pretty strong dude. We arm wrestled one day and he beat me with his right hand, but I took him down with my left. He’s also a big fan of 50 cent, but also revealed to me, unknowingly, how much Azeri folks like Enrique Iglesias. One day we were playing dominoes (a favorite game), and he put on some music on his phone, and it was blasting Enrique. On the basis of the research my PC friends have gathered, Enrique is popular amongst Azeris. Way to go, Enrique–you’ve got the Azeri market on lock for your music. I like both of my brothers, but since Xayyam is around more, I’ve spent more time hanging out with him, playing games, and checking out the area.
My 8-year old host sister, Savinj, is a cutie. We smile a lot, because that’s all I can really do, and she also plays “Bu Nedir?” (What’s that?) with me most loyally. I can count on Savinj to be home nearly all the time because she returns from school around 1-130 in the afternoon. She generally does her homework (or complains about her homework) with her mom before dinner, so I try to avoid being around then–apparently the foreigner is a bit distracting.
–OK, so these have been pretty boring posts, I’m sure. I’m working on getting some pictures up, and we’ll start talking about school, Azeri weddings, hanging out in Sumqayit, and my recent trip to Quba and Xacmas.