Oren at 18 Months

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Well hello there.

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Idara at Four and a Half

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I promise this post isn't nearly as serious as this photo makes it look.

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A Walk through Baku's Botanical Garden

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Last weekend we went to Baku’s Central Botanical Garden. The garden offers about 90 acres of charmingly neglected nature in an otherwise urban environment. Click on any picture below to enlarge (unless you’re reading this in your email, in which case you’ll need to click here to open it in your browser).

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The Road to Lahij

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Curious about what it’s like to drive in Azerbaijan? The U.S. State Department, which advises Americans on the dangers they’ll face abroad, can tell you: “Driving in Baku should be considered extremely hazardous. Outside the city, even where roads are present, conditions are similar. Roads are often in poor repair, unlit, and lack lane markings, traffic signs, and warnings. Many rural roads are largely unpaved.” To be fair, the U.S. State Department could make Luxembourg in 2021 sound like Baghdad in 2003. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder, how much of it was true?

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The Right Way to Be Wrong

This year I’m teaching math to 6th graders through 10th graders. As my kids get older, they tend to get better at math, which is not surprising. But I’m also finding that there’s another skill that my students are actually getting worse at as they get older: being wrong. My 6th graders are actually really good at being wrong, and when I tell them this they’re always keen to flex their burgeoning sarcasm muscles and say something to the effect of, “Thanks Mr. Alex, we really appreciate the compliment.”

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A Fortnight and the Morning After

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On Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday, we flew 8,400 miles, crossing twelve time zones, two continents, and one ocean. For the next two weeks we were legally barred from venturing beyond the front door of our new apartment, which, with its heavy metal frame and multiple keys and deadbolts, looks like something one might find separating guards and inmates. Fitting.

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Moving to Azerbaijan (Finally!)

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In the days leading up to our departure from Oregon my mind kept circling back to the one-page letter that Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wrote to the soldiers under his command on the eve of D-Day. It begins: "You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you."

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The Books I Read in 2020

Stars (★) mark the books that I liked the most. Please let me know if any of these resonated with you too or if you have recommendations for what I should read next. And here are the lists I posted in 2019 and in 2018.

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Oren at Fifteen Months

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Oren has something to say and good luck figuring out what it is.

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Working in Azerbaijan (Remotely)

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If you'd told me a year ago when Rachael and I were that we'd landed spots and were now working at one of the top schools on our list, I'd have stared back at you in disbelief. If you'd gone on to tell me that we'd still be in Portland, working remotely through the night, then I'd *really* know that you were lying. And yet here were are.

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