Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Shall we run?

14 November 2008

Shall we run?

Thursday morning, Gunay tested how awake I was by asking me to go running on Friday morning. WHAT? We have been told so often that a culture of running really doesn’t exist in Azerbaijan. So I ask her again, just to clarify, yup, she is serious. She wants to go running at 6am on Friday.

Ana is sceptical telling me that Gunay likes to sleep in and that she doesn’t like to exercise. Tunar, upon hearing the plans to go running, decides he also wants to go running. I am frankly in disbelief, but I’m game.

Throughout Thursday, I keep asking Gunay if she still wants to go running. She tells me yes and seems really excited about it. It just sounds too good to be true. Well, you know what they say…

I wake up early on Friday, put on my running clothes, and whisper into her room that she needs to wake up so we can go. Sleepily Gunay gauges my running clothes, dresses, and comes outside to meet me. Tunar who is now awake quickly dresses and comes out as well.

I ask my host sister where her shoes are. Pointing to her sandals, she asks me if she can run in them. I scoff. I couldn’t hold it in. Pointing to my running shoes, I tell her these are good. She puts on her fake Chucks – good enough.

We take off shortly after 6:20a. It is still dark, M____ is quiet, and I am ready for a nice run. This would be my second time out since coming to Azerbaijan.

Pretty quickly, I can tell this isn’t going to work. Well, I pretty much always knew it wasn’t going to work. But I give Gunay and Tunar many thanks and appreciation for trying. Gunay jumped at every dog bark, and Tunar couldn’t maintain a steady pace. At different points in the run, I brought them each home and kept going myself.

It was a fun cultural exchange. I feel like they have more respect for my running. And they were curious about running and tried it. It was fun.

The final results:
Gunay- 5 minutes
Tunar- 10 minutes
Amy- 30 minutes

I don’t think Gunay likes running