Nothing exciting has happened—nothing that sticks out in my mind anyway. I’ve decided to say a little more about where I am placed. There are also PICTURES!!! I haven’t taken that many. I feel weird taking pictures and being “that weird American with a camera.” So, don’t get tooo excited.

I live in Cotej which is about a 30/45 minute walk to Sumgayit (the nearest city). Cotej is a pretty small town and it’s easy to walk right out of it without even knowing. There are a decent amount of mom and pop type stores with essentials (food, shampoo, soap, etc), fruit and veggie stands, barbers, salons, and schools. Since it is a smaller town, there is wild life out in the streets. Everyday I see dogs, cats, chickens, roosters, and—my favorite—sheep on my 1 mile walk to school. The sheep do not roam aimlessly; rather, they have a sheppard who herds them around the town to nibble on the patches of grass.

a street in Kotec

The picture shows a pretty typical street. Everyone has a fenced in yard with high walls. There are “side walks” if one can really call them that. Everyone just seems to walk in the streets though. People, youth playing soccer, animals, and cars all compete for road space. The actual rules of the road are almost absent or just forgotten. One’s side of the road is negotiable. This makes horns the most important aspect of a car other than brakes. Instead of posted speed limit signs, there are random speed bumps on every street. Cars need to slow down.

mud in the street

The massive mud pile!! I pass through this everyday on my way to school and back home. This mud pile has probably been there for 2 weeks now. It gets worse when it rains, but no matter what the weather is, there is ALWAYS this mud pile to trudge through.

Host family kitchen

This is the kitchen at my host family’s house. My host mom is sitting in the chair. The lady standing next to her is her sister-in-law. The girl in the back is my mom’s daughter-in-law (whom I called Ina which is actually spelled Aynu). They were making Peroskis! These are probably the best and worst things.

Peroskis. Made from a type of dough that becomes like a doughnut consistency and taste (but less sweet) after being fried in a pan. Peroskis can be filled with different foods. My family made 4 types: potatoes, rice, lamb, and jam. I ate them for 3 days.


Canning eggplants. Vegetables actually have seasons here. Something I’m not used to. My family was canning so we can have some in the winter.