I have called Baku “home” for a year now. It has been a year of learning, growing, and even grieving. I have made friends from countries all over the world. I have learned many things about the cultures from which these new friends come, as well as the cultures their families have created by mixing home country culture with Azerbaijani culture. Each family or person adapts to and interacts with their surroundings so differently. Ultimately, though, we all have one major link that brings us together. Each of us left our home country and came here. It does not matter what brought you here. Diplomat, teacher, student, child, business man/woman, spouse, etc. Together, we create this culture and community of our own. We lean on each other, depend on each other, lift each other up in tough times, and simply live life together.
The past several weeks have been extremely hard emotionally. I have felt isolated and alone. Without going into detail, my close friendship dynamics changed drastically. Suddenly, I struggled to see my community. I started spending less and less time with people outside of school. It is really easy for me to get to that point. Go home after school. Do not go out on weekends. Make excuses, so you do not have to be social. I know we all go through periods like that. I went on this way for a few weeks, with occasional exceptions of social outings. I began to feel mopey and depressed, which only leads to more time alone. Sometimes we do just need time alone, but there is a point when we need to stop saying no and just say yes.
I said yes this weekend. I balanced a good amount of time at home with time socializing. Each day I devoted time to my community. I invested in families from my class. I learned more about Turkish culture. I had lunch with a new friend. I listened to the stories this community has to share. In the end, my soul feels rejuvenated. My spirits have lifted. I have a new, fresh outlook on my community and life here in Baku.
He has blessed me beyond measure with this community. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for each and every member. I am ashamed that I took them for granted the past few weeks.
They, you, are all so important to me. Thank you for loving and supporting me.