I have officially been living in Baku for over a month now. Life has become pretty normal now, and I am enjoying each day. As any first year teacher would say, I’m exhausted! I officially have 20 little 4yo’s in my class, 13 of which are boys. For the past week, most of them have been out sick, so I’ve only had two girls and 10-13 boys. That makes for quite the interesting time trying to get anything done. These boys are something else!
Friday night, we celebrated winter with our school at the holiday program. Each section of the school was assigned a continent or region in the world and asked to sing a song representing that region. The preschool was assigned Africa. This was pretty Much my first executive decision as the new 4yo teacher when I arrived. I had to come up with a song by Friday of my first week. Well, my idea of what should represent Africa and the other preschool teachers’ ideas were a little different. I figured an African Christmas song of some sort was the way we were supposed to go, but they felt jungle animals was the clear direction of our program. Fortunately, I found “Kye Kye Kule” and they compromised. We started the show with “Kye Kye Kule,” and they followed with their two jungle animal songs. All in all, the whole preschool basically steals the show. My fellow teacher said, “They’re preschool, they just have to get up on stage and look cute and everyone loves them!” They’re just the cutest little kids! I don’t have any pictures, yet, but I’ll try and find one to share.
After the preschool performed, many of them left for the evening. I followed them to the classroom to make sure everything was okay, and was greeted by warm thank you’s from mothers who trust their babies with me each day. Some of these moms have little to no English, so our communication is limited to a few words or through one of my paras. I know things in the classroom would run smoother if the language barrier wasn’t such a struggle each day, but I don’t think I would want it any other way. There’s this incredible way God has of communication through people with or without words. I’ve noticed it before in Haiti and Belarus. There is something He conveys through the warmth of a smile, kiss, hug, thank you that reminds me how much He loves me and how He is with me every step of this journey.
Last week was Thanksgiving, which was both a struggle and a beautiful time with new friends God has provided. Last week proved itself to be very difficult, but it was mostly due to some unforeseen work-related issues. As far as the holiday itself and the weekend, it was such a wonderful time here. I was able to eat three thanksgiving meals, laugh with friends, and celebrate a holiday with my class that means so much to me. I’ve never really enjoyed holidays with gifts and expectations of giving or receiving items. I enjoy Thanksgiving because it is a time not to expect gifts, but to sit and reflect on the incredible blessings received through joyful times and hardships. I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given here in Baku. Sometimes I get caught up in the exhaustion and administrative issues that I forget how incredible it is to be here.
This weekend, I am meeting some American girls who are here for a year. I am amazed by the number of expats living in Baku. Each day, I feel my circle of friends growing larger and larger. My life isn’t tied down to school, which is a blessing in itself. I’m able to break away from school and enjoy people and life as me, not just Miss Kanani.
Thank you for your continued support and prayers!