“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Long overdue news!

Can't even remember the last time I posted, and since it's blocked I
can't even look to check. I'm assuming it was sometime near when I
went to Korea. Well, it's now February, and where does time go?
Anyway, I was inspired when I visited another Myanmar teacher's blog
so will try and share some news today. If only I could post pictures!!
Perhaps I can, I've just never checked.

After a fantastic trip around Myanmar with my family, I tumbled
head-first into another semester (my last!) in Myanmar. Within the
first week, I was well into my job search for next year. I secured
interviews and offers from Guatemala, Mongolia and Azerbaijan, and
since they all needed to know ASAP, I made my decision yesterday. I am
moving to Baku, Azerbaijan. It's very exciting! It was so interesting
discussing those places with friends and colleagues here. Almost all
of them had very strong opinions about me going to Guatemala or
Mongolia. I think they were thinking of what they would choose. Nobody
knows anything about Azerbaijan, of course, so it doesn't even figure
on their choice radars. I know about it, have even been there in fact,
so I was coming from a totally different perspective. While I would
have been happy in any of the three places, this was my choice. I will
make sure that in the next two years when I live there, at least the
realm of my friends will get to know more about it!!

Why didn't I choose the others? Guatemala was a wonderful job at a
wonderful school, but very poor pay, comparitively, and I would not
have been challenged in my job (I'd have been teaching the same thing
as what I am now). Mongolia had a very similar job to that in
Azerbaijan, but wasn't as good a deal, and I think wouldn't have been
a very plesant place come winter (the interviewer on Thursday casually
mentioned it was minus 25 degrees (either Fahrenheit or
Celcius--they're both cold!) and that everyone spends a lot of their
money getting out for winter break!). While cold doesn't faze me (I
also applied to Moscow and Iceland), I also wanted to be closer to my
family and Eastern Europe, and Mongolia is awfully isolated.

Where is Azerbaijan? You probably wouldn't be surprised at how many
people asked me that, and these are worldly people who live in
Myanmar, too!! Ironic, isn't it, that I will go from one obscure place
to another!! Well, Azerbaijan is the country on the Caspian sea
between Russia and Iran, roughly at the same latitude as Turkey (with
many similarities to it). It's one of the Caucasus countries (with
Georgia and Armenia), which I visited with my family in the summer of
2004. It's an oil town, with Muslim and Silk Road heritage, a "stan"
wannabe, and of course is still quite Soviet. I imagine it will be
similar to living here in terms of the civilization outside the
cities, the social life of the expats, among other things. I'm already
looking forward to having a winter, being nearer to Europe, travelling
south into Iran and Turkey, and having weekends in Dubai! Visiters, of
course, are most welcome, although from experience, living in obscure
places doesn't really entice many.

Anyway, am currently planning my exotic summer... on my dream list is
going around Myanmar, going back to NZ, going to the Philippines for
my high school reunion, going to Kara's wedding in the states, and
doing some travel with Mum and Dad--we've idly discussed the
Trans-Siberian, Bhutan and Ladakh. Not to mention I'd love to do
another dig in Romania, and my friend from here, Cecile is hoping to
have a nice French country house that will need visiting!! What a
wonderful time I'm going to have!

Well, I was supposed to be going for a pedicure an hour ago, so had
better get to it! Love to hear your thoughts on all this! :)


Rama said...

ACK! You'll be at Kara's!! Need a room? I think Nels and I are planning on bunking up.

Anonymous said...

How is it teaching abroad? I'm thinking about it too, but need some experience from others