This year is my first Christmas without my daughter, Laura. Why? She's teaching for two years in the middle-eastern country -- Azerbaijan. She's on a steep learning curve about the Azeri language, culture, and landscape. While I'll desperately miss my sweet Laura, I'm glad she has opportunity to travel and make a positive difference in the lives of her students.
Her tiny country is bordered by the Caspian Sea, Russia, and Turkey (She's going to spend Thanksgiving Day in Turkey, eating turkey in Turkey). She once had opportunity to visit their mud volcanos. Yes, vocano-like formations with warm, runny mud!
Would you like to discover a few cultural differences she'll experience this first Christmas? She will miss
- Coffee - there's no Starbucks and most of the country's expensive coffee tastes weak to her.
- Plastic bags - we live in a disposable country but over there, even a small baggie is valuable.
- Riding her bicycle - adult women are not to ride bikes.
- Timely Transportation - they have public transportation but, keeping their schedule is optional.
- Quick Eats - A drive-through? No way! Azeri people make eating a long hospitality event that is always indoors around a table. Laura found out one day, while noshing her lunch on a park bench, that eating outdoors is frowned upon.
Have you spent Christmas in a new culture? Leave your comment sharing about your first and what your learned . . . or missed. ~ Brenda Nixon