As most of you know or heard about a month and a half ago I was asked to leave my host family’s house. I have come to learn that it is because my host Baba was getting increasingly sick and it was going to be difficult to take care of him as well as me. The funny part was how much time they gave me to move out. They told me I had two days to find a place and move out… Well, they actually gave me one day but I had Peace Corps call them and get me two days ha.
This is what I found on short notice…
I scoured the town (is that the right word,scoured…?) I searched the whole town looking for a place to live. I checked with all my contacts including: family, friends, teachers, school directors, land lords who I had met, various business owners and randos who live in Ucar. I went to this apartment complex on the other side of town and asked for the land lord; he did not have any available apartments but he knew of someone who did.
We walked a few minutes to what would be my future land lord’s house; his name was Mubarez,he has fewer teeth then fingers and even fewer manners. But the house I looked at was pretty nice and I was kind of on a time constraint. Including: a small yard for Mango, a kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, a bathroom inside the house (which is HUGE for PC, not having to walk to an outhouse is something not many volunteers have.)
The next day I moved in…
I have been living here for a month and a half, without any problems and integrating into my new community pretty well. I go guesting a few nights a week with my neighbors and the local kids come and give me flowers daily in exchange they want to walk Mango. (Not a bad deal.)
Last week my land lord comes to me and says that by the end of May I have to find a new place to live. “Niya?” why I asked. As he shrugs his shoulders, attempting to blow me off I ask again. “Man sene istamiram.” I did not understand why he didn’t want me anymore. As I tried to probe him for further questions he refused and just walked away. Classic Azeri reaction. At least he gave me a few weeks and not two days…Ha.
Then things got a little weird. On Monday of this week he comes over and said his friend is coming to visit him. “Mubarek!” congratulations I said not knowing why he was telling me. After a few minutes he confessed he was telling me because his friend was going to be sleeping in my house. “Olmas.” I said it was not okay, because he was not my friend and that I was not doing him any favors for unjustifiably kicking me out. This led to an Azeri argument, which isn’t always a fight because they just repeat the same thing, as if you don’t understand them, but their voices gets increasingly louder. Confessing that I understood him perfectly and by continually denying his friend permission to stay at my house made him want to speak with PC.
I called my housing coordinator and told him the situation and asked him to do two things; first I wanted to know why I was being kicked out and second I wanted him to make sure my land lord understood that my house is not a hotel for people to come in and out of. This is how there conversation went, well, the one side I could hear.
Land lord: “Josh is disrespectful. He is culture-less. He is messy. His dog has flees. He had twenty people over for four days and they were fighting in the streets…” (The ‘culture-less’ comment is a big insult in Azerbaijan; it is something that people use to shame each other.) And then he finally said, “…Next month I have a family coming in who is going to pay 250 Manat and Josh only pays 100…” (That seems like a good enough reason.) Mubarez hands me the phone and I ask the housing coordinator what he said. (My Azeri is pretty good and I understood the whole conversation I wanted to confirm what I heard from another Azeri.) “He is your host and he does not want you to live there anymore…” Okay, that much is clear, but why? “He did not give a reason, he just wants you to move out…” Oh, how helpful the housing coordinator is.
Wish me luck on finding a new place before June.