May 26, 2008

Settling In

Posted in Journal tagged , , at 4:23 pm by Jenn

Well we’ve been here for a week now and are trying our best to get settled in.  We are still in our temporary apartment, so still living out of suitcases and still eating most meals in restaurants.  The bad thing is that it’s expensive, the good thing is that we are learning the city and meeting new people.  Max isn’t quite sure that he likes it here.  He is rather disturbed by the lack of grass and parks.  He also doesn’t like the way people stare at him and all the stray cats are driving him insane.  This is definitely not a “dog friendly” country.  I guess people don’t really have dogs as pets here.  It’s funny to see the children’s faces with their looks of wonder and sad to see the looks of horror on the mother’s faces as they pull their children toward them fearful that Max is going to harm their children.  Our new apartment is more dog friendly.  Several of our neighbors have dogs and their is a nice grassy courtyard perfect for potty breaks.  We’re still searching for the perfect “off leash” area.

I haven’t tried any “Azeri” food yet, but have been pleasantly surprised that the food I have tried (pizza, chinese, nachos) have been flavorful.  There are little fruit/veggie stands all over the place including one 10 steps from the entrance to my current apartment building.  Strawberries, apricots and cherries are plentiful right now.  Cucumbers, potatoes, and tomatoes are also available.  There is a little green fruit that is sour and has the texture of an unripe plum.  It is really good and sour.  I don’t know the name but will try to find out because they are really yummy and in season now.   The bread is good, like in Belarus.  The lavash type that you need to purchase almost daily because it doesn’t stay fresh long.

The shopping that we’ve seen so far has been interesting.  A pedestrian only area (thank goodness) with shops of all types.  Our favorite so far is the one with knock off sunglasses, watches and purses, etc. 

This is a short work week for Scott with the Memorial Day holiday and also Republic Day later in the week.  We’ve also got a few parties to attend so will be meeting lots of new people I’m sure.


  1. Ruth said,

    Thanks for the update. You sound so strong & brave.

  2. wineymomma said,

    Settling in is a good thing! Hope you find a good off-leash for Max soon!

  3. Jen D said,

    I am fascinated! Been looking for an update- almost stalking your site…not that you would know that! I am in disbelief about the dog thing. Who doesn’t like dogs or cats let alone an entire country…omg! Max couldn’t look more friendly!

  4. Angie said,

    I’ll bet if there are a lot of stray and feral dogs and cats then people are probably used to worrying about rabies.

  5. Angie said,

    OK, actually I just looked into this dog thing, and I think I have the answer. Azerbaijan is over 90% Muslim, yeah? And most people who practice Islam don’t own dogs because they’re considered unclean. So. That’s probably why your pup gets the reactions he does. Let me know if this isn’t true.

  6. Jay said,

    Guess who , congrats on the move,hope every thing is well for you their. just wanted to let you know I wasnt avoiding your contact from classmates talk to you later.

  7. sjsmart said,

    Jay – good to hear from you!

    Angie – I can’t remember if I responded to you about the muslim/dog thing but just in case – Azerbaijan is predominately Muslim, but I think that it is a “liberal” Muslim. There are pork products GALORE in the stores and women are rarely covered in the traditional way. I have seen a handful (ok, two handfuls) in the month that I’ve been here. I think the reaction is a combination of the rabies and fear.

  8. sjsmart said,

    No dog parks here! : (, little M is very sad, but he can go off leash at the Marine house or on the embassy compound.

  9. haha said,

    you guys sound pretty close minded. You are in a foreign country and haven’t even tried the traditional food. Eating your pizza and burgers.

    I guess that’s one way to look at it, or you can look at it the we did. We were in a country where we didn’t know the language. We were advised not to eat just anywhere and we had been through a lot in the previous weeks. We were trying to adjust to our new environment and needed some comfort foods, so yes, pizza and burgers. We did eventually try the local food and liked it.

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