Friday, January 30, 2009

The Nana

I am sitting in my lovely room in the home of my host family. It is in a nice section of the downtown area of my city. I like my family. They are a mother in her '50's, her son, who is 21 and in the army and my host mother's mother, my nana, who is 84. However at this moment, my nana has gone wild. She is flinging herself against the locked door of my room while she screams at me in Azeri. (She can also scream in Russian).

I am worried, because my nana has bad eyes and high blood pressure. I don't want her to hurt herself.

It all started when I wanted to shower. In the winter, it is not at all certain that a shower is available. It depends on if the water pipes are frozen. I asked her if it was possible to take a shower. She took me to the bathroom and began pointing to all kinds of hardward and pipes and going into a long explanation, none of which I understood. I told her that it was fine if I could not shower, just let me know yes or no. She started over angrily with her unintelligible explanation. I asked the yes or no question again. Finally I said fine and told her I did not need a shower. She was still angry.

Then I began working on some flip charts for work. She did not like the room I was using. I moved to another room. She followed me to say it was too cold in that room and I should wear a sweater. I was already wearing two sweaters and told her so. I let her feel the sweaters in case she could not see them. She still insisted that I put on another sweater.

I picked up my flip charts and went into my room to work on them. When I heard her approaching, I locked the door and told her that I needed to work alone. That is when she went crazy. She soon gave up and muttered on the other side of the door. She then called her daughter to report on the locked room. She was told to leave me alone.

Normally, nana and I get along fine. She has two basic topics-- food and why I don't eat enough of it and the mothers-in-law of her grandchildren, who are apparently all terrible.

I will not remain with this family as the mother is being posted to Baku for two months and they are moving nana to another relatives home for the duration. They told me I am welcome to come back in April, but I wonder about enforcing boundaries with a determined Azerbaijani nana.

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