At the beginning of April, I moved host families.  I moved because I thought the former host family’s house was too crowded and small for me.  There were literally only 2 rooms in the house.  I slept in one room, but it was not my own room.  I was feeling stressed because I could not get away from the constant noise of the TV and voices at all hours of the day and night; I also felt there was no space for my stuff and for me to be me.  All my stuff was tucked away.  I felt like no space was my own.  All this plus more was causing me so much stress that I got insomnia.  I had stopped sleeping for about a month.  Not completely stopped sleeping.  But I would get less than 3 hours a night.  Time to move!!

I moved to another family.  I have my very own room now in which I can do whatever I want!!  I can watch my American movies and read books with no disturbance.  I also don’t hear the TV or people calling at 2 am which used to wake me up constantly at the former host family’s house.  I’m loving the new place.  I have a host mom and host brother who live at the house.  The host brother is also 24 years old.  The husband is in the Ukraine along with the older brother.  The host family is very sweet and kind.  We get along fabulously.  They have a garden in the back plus they have a dog and a cat!  Most families don’t have either.  Azerbaijani families do have or treat pets like we do in America.  It’s not common for families to have pets like cats or dogs.  It’s more common to have chickens.  When they do have a dog or cat, they are not house pets.  These pets are NEVER allowed inside the house.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen them pet them either.

In my new house, I am also in a new neighborhood.  There is a small girl who comes over every now and then.  She is about 5, I believe.  I would ask her, but I don’t understand anything that comes out of her month.  Most of the time, I just stare at her while she goes on and on about something.  Sometimes when my host mom is around, she will translate for me what this little girl is saying.

Because I am at home, I don’t cover up my tattoo on my ankle.  My host family saw it, and they think it’s funny.  They were saying it looks like Pikachu from the show Pokemon.  My host brother also has a tattoo on his leg.  They weren’t fazed by it at all.  The little girl saw my tattoo and asked about it.  My host mom was telling her about it and asked her where hers was.  The next time the little girl came over she was talking about getting tattoos all over her and started pointing at her face and arms.  I wasn’t there to hear it though.  When she came over again while I was there, my host mom asked her about what she had said earlier.  My host brother chimes in by asking, “Where’s your tattoo?”  He points to his and to mine and then asks again where her tattoo is.  She becomes a bit shy and doesn’t say anything.  The next day she comes over and is talking about wanting pictures (tattoos) on her too.  She wants to see my tattoo again because she wants one.  I think she said something about giving her a tattoo right now because my host mom starts talking about how she can’t have one.  She told the girl that she is too little, and she needs to ask her parents.

Instead of furthering the development of women why showing them that women can live alone, we can work as business women and be successful, or we can be community leaders, I have caused a little girl to want a tattoo.  This is in a place where tattoos are only associated with men, but if a woman does have a tattoo, she is probably a prostitute from Russia. Let’s hope this phase passes quickly.

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