As a TEFL volunteer arriving at site right at the beginning of summer, life has been both lugubriously snail-paced as well as delightfully undemanding. I met with my counterpart for a grand total of maybe ten hours before she was off for her summer vacation, leaving me and my imagination in search of ways to fill the two months of heat in the palm before returning to school.
Having site mates with whom I can tag along and learn from made these past two months thoroughly enjoyable and I’ve gained a much better insight into life in our region. I am eternally grateful for those afternoon invites to do anything and everything; any excuse to migrate from the cocoon of my host family’s home into a planned, partnered activity was a lifesaver.
Finally, though, we are headed towards what to me will forever feel like the real start of the year and I am very much looking forward to really beginning my service. That’s not to say these past few months have slipped by unattached, but I’m anxious to begin work in my area of focus.
Yesterday I finally called up my dear counterpart to talk about meeting plans. While we were supposed to meet up again two weeks ago, life always seems to tag on more than we think so I was not discouraged when I hadn’t heard from her.
I loved our chat from beginning to end.
From the moment she recognized my voice to the last sputtered good-bye, she entered into this beautifully hectic word spiral, trying to find a delicate and mildly-apologetic way in which to express, in so many unnecessary words, that summer is summer and work is just rotten: “Oh my dear, I promise I didn’t forget about you but it’s summer, you know, and I just haven’t been around much and I was visiting my son and then I had this conference and I kept meaning to call and invite you to tea but then my sister came and we went to the countryside and then it got so dreadfully hot and I forgot to attend these meetings and I hope you don’t think I forgot because I did not but I was just so busy and I – well, let’s meet on Monday, okay?”
So, Monday it is. I was hoping to get back into action this week, but what’s another few days of tottering around the house and grant-searching online? Our internet has been on the fritz (big shocker, hey?) so that is a bit rotten, but, like always, life goes on as normal at the quiet end of the street.
Instead of heading to the office, I spent a lovely afternoon making düşbərə (“small dumplings stuffed with minced lamb and herbs, served in broth” – thanks, Lonely Planet!) with Bibi and my host cousin, making progress on my first of sixty-five books in my lame but totally awesome personal reading challenge, and pretending to study language on and off throughout the day.
And while I still have these moments where I find myself thinking “what the whaaa?” and desperately trying to make sense of my purpose here, things, like always, have a way of slowly falling into place and I know that it’s all just part of this big, ridiculous, crazy journey.To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle. - Walt Whitman