Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Eh?....."Hi-king?”....nedir o? ( or what is that? in Azeri)

One of the aspects of being married is getting used to your husband’s habits. Marrying into a completely different culture, like the English, places additional demands on an Azeri woman.

Of course, I have to be objective here. In all fairness, it would have been a disaster for someone like me to have married say, my first Azeri boyfriend. (see my very first posting on the subject of not plucking eye-brows, not wearing jeans and other nonsense) He was just too traditional. Which means, he would probably have at least one official mistress, plus one secret one, depending on his level of income, whilst I would be expected to sit at home cooking lots of elaborate dishes for his relatives. Every single Azeri dish is carefully designed to keep a woman occupied in a kitchen for as long as it is physically possible. And I can’t even scramble an egg.

So for me, the choices were in fact, quite limited, thinking of husband material back home. There are of course, some cool and good-looking Azeri guys. But unfortunately, most of them escaped the country years ago, so as not to be forced to join the army. Azeries do not really like to fight. Yes, all right, I am generalizing here. But I think certain cultures and nationalities do indeed, have specific characteristics. And for Azeris it is drinking hot tea and wheeling & dealing. That’s just what we do best. (I do OK on the tea front, but am pretty crap when it comes to dealing, even on e-bay)

That is just how, having had one serious but very traditional, and a few useless boyfriends of various nationalities, I ended up meeting my English husband.

Cultural differences can be fascinating or funny. But they can also be difficult. If you think about it, men and women are from different planets to start with, anyway. So you have all this inter-galactic stuff to deal with first. And on top of that, you then need to face the culture clash.

As I personally discovered, one of the joys of being married to an Englishman is his passion for for the outdoors. Just like in my posting about sustainability and safety, Azeries have a very different approach to admiring the nature. Oh, don’t take me wrong. We love the nature. There are some stunning spots in Azerbaijan.

But let’s just look at the outdoor entertainment from an Azeri point of view:

Option 1: We choose a nice spot. We pack a lot of meat and bread. We drive there. We make fire. We cook shashliks. Very often drink vodka ( this is where the influence of Mother Russia comes in) We drink chai and only then, satisfied, we kick back and collapse underneath those shady trees, admiring the fresh air and the beauty around us. Nirvana.

Option 2: We chose a nice spot. We drive there. We find a nice local restaurant or a café that makes shashliks. We eat them with a lot of salt and herbs for a couple of hours. Vodka. Chai.We drive back.

When my husband brought me to the UK, we stayed with his parents in North Wales for some time before we moved to London. As far as my husband was concerned, the place had plenty of entertainment. The choices were unlimited. There was windsurfing (in a freezing water!), hiking, climbing or simply walking. Unfortunately for him, he married a Scary Azeri.
Let’s just see….hiking. What on earth would I want to do that for????
Or walking across some fields? With no purpose? I need some destination, preferably with food and a glass of wine, at the end of any such track. Otherwise, honestly.. What is the fun in that? And don’t even start me on camping.

So these days we have to work out a compromise. We live in a beautiful area of Hertfordshire. Someone kindly knocked on our door when we just moved, and gave us a Welcome pack, which included a country walks map. Husband caught me shoving it straight into the recycling bin. If the weather is nice, (and luckily for me, it is the UK where it is normally pretty miserable), I am happy to go for a walk, as long as he can tempt me with a lunch or at least, drinks in a nice pub at the end of the journey. I think that is only fair, don’t you?


  1. wow! nice blog!

    Looking at the length of your posts one wonders that either you don't have much housework or you have a good gaynana ))))

  2. I have to be honest, whenever I went on hikes in Somerset we would always take the public footpaths to designated pubs en route. Basically it was an environmentally friendly pub crawl... :-)

  3. Hi and welcome to MBC! Great blog.

  4. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  5. Hi! It's a great pleasure for me to read these posts! So many similarities with Armenian lifestyle... :)

  6. Thanks so much, you guys!!!!

  7. Yep, a pub at the end is a must. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't just like hiking, he likes to climb mountains, as quickly as possible! Maybe it's a man thing?

  8. Guess what, Working mum...My husband is from Manchester. could there be a connection? :)

  9. Salam Scary

    Sorry for late response for this post (just found you on twitter) but i have to say that i dont like cliche words about azeris. Come on, I dont think that most of azeri women sit at home and cook all day long. I understand that you adore your husbank and it is ok. I feel that you want to say these people are "cushki okozivayetski i kak xorosho cto ya vovrema uyexala otsuda". Sorry but this is how I read yor message.

  10. I'm not into reading posts but enjoyed the culturally enriching feeling it gave me. Thanks.