Day 1: Nothing like closing out my service with some “fun” challenges… Finishing what feels like endless paperwork, navigating Baku traffic, and battling exhaustion, a lingering cold, and a tummy bug. Still makes me laugh and really appreciate the calm days. Also, the office changed my last day recently and it is now on the 11th so I will have now two Day 1’s. Whoop!
Day 2: We got together to watch the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who and ended up watching that plus several Christmas movies. Which of course meant some Papa John’s pizza. Loved the Doctor Who episode and I expect a complete breakdown from Tati about it.
Day 3: Random Events. It’s quite common for my life here to take odd, yes..odd routes. I always love the adventures and welcome the change. I had a great night at the Christmas Party Ball with some fun friends!
Day 4: Friends. American and Azerbaijani. Saying goodbye to some people that have been extremely supportive and kind through my whole service. Tom and Gretchen became RPCV’s and are now heading to a 39 day adventure through India, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Hong Kong!! WHAT a great trip ahead! Mahammad has also been a great help to PCV’s in Barda and to those in the surrounding regions. Thanks, Mahammad (and your family) for being such great people. We wish you the best of luck in life!!
Day 5: Goodbye, Barda! As always it was an adventure. The geese started eating my bags, the sun looked beautiful coming up, the mountains are clear, and we stuffed the 3 of us in one taxi.. one of the fastest taxis I’ve ever been in. A normal 4.5 hour trip turned into a 2.5 hour trip. Holey moley!
Day 6: Barda. My home. I came here 3 years ago, or to be exact, 1,090 days ago. From the first moment my foot hit the soil here, I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I know, I know, cheesy, but oh so true. I have had some of the highest of highs here along with some of the lowest of lows. Everyday was a challenge and every night there was victory. This city will always be apart of my heart and I will always hold my friends and family here in my heart. It’s been a somber night, my last night in Barda. During the day, I packed, cleaned, and sorted all while reminiscing over time passed.
Day 7: Projects! I have been so lucky when it comes to projects. Constantly surrounded by people with excellent ideas and patient souls. HA! Each of the projects brought me insane amounts of stress but I would just focus on the goal and somehow it’d all work out in the end. Lucky Donna. I guess this side of my service helped me focus on what I thought I could do best: fill needs? I am thankful for every person I’ve worked with and for every community that allowed me to become apart of them. I will forever be grateful for everyone that taught me more and let me watch as they chased their dreams.
Day 8: As I’m packing up my place, I look up and catch this kitty sneaking in my house. She obviously didn’t care for it because she immediately turned around and left. Pfft. Guess my house wasn’t to her liking.
Day 9: Site Mates!!!! During my 3 years here, I have had 10 site mates in Barda. Lucky me that all of them have been incredible people. THEN even luckier, we have had the joy of having more PCV’s in the neighboring regions visit and become apart of our Barda family. It’s been my pleasure to serve in the Peace Corps along side this bunch!
Day 13: Care for a persimmon? Much like pomegranates these babies are ubiquitous in the Barda scene during the Fall. One volunteer pointed out how they look like Christmas decorations on the Charlie Brown Christmas tree since the leaves fall off and leave these bright red and orange fruits behind. Delicious when ripe, by the way.. OH and persimmon cookies, YUM!