Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Observations of Azerbaijan (so far)

So I've been in Baku just over two months already. November flew by! Baku is so different from America. Here are some observations I've made so far:

1. There are stray cats everywhere. This was one of the first things that stood out to me. I walked about three blocks from my apartment to the nearest mall and I saw about ten strays. Not an exaggeration.

2. People openly litter. I mean not to be mean but Baku looks like one giant dumpster. There is trash EVERYWHERE. The city is very dirty, which is unfortunate because it could actually be a nice city if it wasn't so disgusting.

3. In greeting, men kiss each other on the cheek. It's weird.

4. Apparently, it's perfectly normal to kill and skin lamb right in the middle of a neighborhood…on the sidewalk…no joke. For a few days there was a pen of lamb right outside my apartment building and the butchers were just butchering them up right there on the sidewalk. I came to understand it has to do with some kind of Muslim holiday and way of eating. Still…disturbing.

5. There are no street sweepers in Baku. Let me rephrase. There are street sweepers in Baku, but it is literally just a woman with a crappy broom attempting to sweep the curbs…they tie a rope around their waste which is connected to a bucket that they drag around behind them. This bucket acts as their waste bin. And there you have it…street sweepers.

6. Traffic is ridiculous. If I had a car here, I would have gotten in a wreck within 5 minutes. Even crossing the street feels a lot like the game Frogger. People go wherever they want. And to let everyone else know that they are going they honk. So I hear about 100 car horns every day. Most days, it's a car horn that wakes me up in the morning. It's not uncommon to see traffic moving in three lanes down a two lane street. I witnessed two cars crash in front of my apartment building. They both just drove off like nothing had happened!

7. Last observation for now, and I learned this the hard way. It is apparently very rude to put your feet up on the back of the seat in front of you. I had a man scold me for doing it at our gym one day.

That's all I got for now! More blogs from Baku to come!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013


That's how long it's been since I blogged. That's right, a year and some change. And for those of you who have been missing it, I apologize, but I just wasn't inspired to blog. I know that seems awfully selfish of me, but I always felt like blogging was something I wanted to do because I was inspired to do it. For me.

A lot has happened to me (and for me) this past year. And although you may not know all the details, I kept my own personal journal, and I'd like to share with you the things I've learned in these 395 days. Some of these were easy lessons, and some were very tough.

1. Expect nothing. Work your ass off. Hope for the best. 
2. Boys are stupid, but I still love him (them, I meant them). 
3. Sometimes you have to smile through the tears, even though you may not want to. 
4. Adversity will find you sooner or later. Be grateful it came sooner rather than later. Roll with the punches. 
5. There are things you can control and things that are completely out of your hands. Why spend time worrying about something that you have no power over? It's a waste of time and energy.
6. Your opportunities will come. Stay ready. 

The 2016 Olympic Gold Medal match is 1,019 days away. And after the first year of this Olympic Quadrennial, I feel more prepared and motivated than ever to (continue to) battle for a spot on the Olympic roster, and to win a Gold medal. I believe I am a better, stronger woman today than I was October 6th, 2012, and I'm very proud of myself. The journey is just beginning for me.