6 months in 3.5 months left: Where did time go? Do I love Azerbaijan?




Yesterday I realized that I have been in Azerbaijan for a little over 6 months. It’s hard to believe that the months have gone by so fast. I have seen so many new places, met new people, and tried so many different foods since my arrival back in September. Baku has been looking very beautiful these past few days as Spring begins to roll in. The sky is clear and blue, the wind is refreshing versus freezing, and everyone is in a better mood. I am now walking everywhere instead of taking the bus. I am looking forward to the trees in the park to be green again. The city definitely seems to be more bustling these days. But where did the time go? Since I arrived here in September, I have been taking classes and improving my comprehension of Turkish. Although learning a new language is fun it is equally exhausting. My weekdays are filled with language lessons, meeting with language partners, completing homework, and preparing for the following day. As a group we have traveled to Sheki, Goychay, Quba, Shahdag, and Atesh Gah. In hindsight I have seen very little of this country. I hope to see more in the coming months as the weather becomes more suitable for outdoor activities. Since September, I have had the opportunity to travel a few times outside of Azerbaijan. For New Years break I went to Georgia and Poland. During Winter Break I traveled with my classmate through Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand. I have always wanted to go to these places. I never thought I would be able to visit them so soon. I am definitely grateful for the position I am in life right now. I am also thankful to my family, friends, and mentors for sticking with me through it all. Do I love Azerbaijan? Yes, I can say that I have greatly enjoyed my time here thus far. I have meet so many people that I would have not had the chance to if I didn’t come here. Just think I almost went to Kyrgyzstan when my program was cancelled. As my time here becomes shorter and shorter each day, I have been trying to do new things in Baku. Like going to new restaurants, neighborhoods, and social events. I truly want to get the most out of this experience here. I have started to plan out what I am going to be doing after this program. I still have one more year of my undergrad at FIU and I am looking forward to completing it. I have a summer that is free until I go back to FIU. I having been searching for internships with NGOs and international opportunities. I was offered a Summer Camp Counselor position in Istanbul. At the moment I am strongly leaning towards returning to Istanbul for the summer, but there is also an opportunity in Nepal that a friend shared with me though it is unpaid and of course getting to Nepal is not easy. If I can find something in D.C. I would be open to relocating there for the summer as well. I like that this summer is empty for me in terms of plans. At this point I could pick up and go anywhere.

– Christian