Sunday, March 25, 2012
This past Tuesday marked my first Novruz
celebration and it was great. Hard not to love a holiday that is a celebration of Spring, involves time off from work, valued time spent with friends and family, and a ridiculous amount of homemade treats and sweets.
Each of the four Tuesdays leading up to the holiday is dedicated to one of the elements (water, fire, earth and wind) and is marked with a bonfire at night that is jumped over. Then the actual holiday is marked the same way, but with an even larger bonfire. The belief is that all bad
things that have followed you over the prior year will burn in the fire and only good things will come going forward. A great holiday.
On the actual holiday date of March 20th there was a great festival in our city to mark the day and it was a lot of fun.
Included are a few pictures to give an idea of the celebration in our city and also at my home. (The woman in the last photo was too adorable for me not to take her picture. I loved her even more 5 minutes later when the festivities ended and the sweets were being given away from each table. She used her walking cane to hook the woman in front of her to get her attention and have her pass her some treats. Awesome!)
Saturday, March 10, 2012
So for anyone following this blog you will see that I am indeed perhaps the worst blogger ever. I will blame it on my internet access and the fact that all social networking is blocked in my office here, but the reality is I guess I am just not very good at keeping up with this.
It is now March and we are just starting to see the weather warm up which is a nice change. Generally speaking, I much prefer the cold weather to the hot, but there were certainly a few days this winter where I was praying for the cold to just go away. My office is heated with a main heater in our lobby and then the heat has to travel to each of our individual offices. My office is pretty drafty to begin with, so after 20 minutes or so of sitting at my desk my fingers would be numbing up so it would be time to head back to the heater for tea. I certainly drank more than my fair share of tea in an effort to keep warm.
All in, things are going very well here. This week we celebrated International Women's Day on Thursday March 8 and that was a great day. It is observed as a national holiday here so all offices were closed on Thursday, so a bonus day off is always nice. On Wednesday, the men in our office had a cake and gifts for each of us, which was so very thoughtful. Then on the actual holiday my sweet little brother brought me a rose and beautiful compact mirror. Nicest boy in all of Azerbaijan, you ask? Yes, there is a very good chance he is:)
We are also in the countdown to the Novruz Holiday here. The actual holiday will be observed on March 20, and the weeks leading up to it have been fun as the holiday is marked each Tuesday for the 4 weeks prior. Each day is dedicated to one of the elements - water, fire, earth and wind. My favorite part of each of these nights has been the fire that we set in our courtyard and then jump over. The belief is that with jumping over the fire all your bad energy and things that have followed you will burn in the fire. It is a lovely custom and we have even added our own twists to it as my brother and I will then stay outside until the fire burns down and we have been known to roast some marshmellows over the flame. Lots of fun. I am very excited for the actual holiday and to experience it here for the first time.
Here is some info for anyone who is interested in learning more.