As if the Children of Azerbaijan Have Not Suffered Enough Already...

Baku Travel Blog

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While it is not definite, I received an offer today that at first I refused.  After receiving another phone call, I agreed.  And now that I am thinking about it, I am really looking forward to the possibilities.

As some of the regular readers of my blog know, I am a Georgetown University English Language Fellow currently stationed in Baku, Azerbaijan.  Being as such, I work with the US Embassy here.  I received a call today from the embassy asking me to do a children's television show about learning English on one of the national broadcasting stations.  At first I refused.  I hate to admit I am very camera shy.  While I love to be behind a camera, being in front of one is another story.  Usually, if someone wants to take my picture, I try to get as many other people in the picture with me as possible and stand in the back. 

My first thought was who in the world would want to watch a children's television show featuring a pasty-skinned, balding (presently head shaven), 40 year old American, who if he had a few really cool tattoos could pass for a member of the Hell's Angels?  I would not want to be responsible for all of the possible nightmares that I may cause any of the young and innocent viewers of that television station.  I know that stumbling into the bathroom and seeing my own reflection in the mirror after dreaming that I am Brad Pitt has shocked me on many occasions.  I thought someone younger or at least more attractive would probably be received better.  I know that I am always fascinated with the world weather when Jenny Harrison is discussing it on CNNi.

I was completing one of my classes when I received the call and told them of the offer.  These students are young diplomats, ages 22-26, not the same as children.  They were all telling me that I should do it.  I received a call from the PAO (Public Affairs Officer) of the embassy.  He gave me a pep talk and told me that he would put me in for some award.  I am not concerned with awards, but the thing he said that made me change my mind was I would in essence be teaching to hundreds of thousands of kids across the country.  OK, so I have a rough exterior but I am a big softie when it comes to kids and animals.  So I agreed to meet with the television station and discuss what we could do.  I have been told that I will only be doing 5-10 minute segments per week and will have some kids that will be working with me.

Walking home, I started to think about the really big children television stars, not that I think that I am going to be huge.  I watched Captain Kangaroo all of the time as a kid, along with Mr. Rogers.  Neither one of those guys were very hip and not that young, but kids loved them.  I also remember watching some old guy on Canadian television when i lived close to the border.  I think his name was Mr. Hat.  This guy was funny, he would place a hat on his head and act out the job that usually goes with the hat.  How often do you get to see an older gentleman act like a french maid and somehow not get totally creeped out?  I really do not think age is a problem, it is more of the personality.

Granted, if everything works out, I will have to change some things.  I will probably have to grow my hair out.  Maybe I can convince someone to spring for a hair transplant surgery?  Seriously, television stations here do not have a lot of money, that is just me dreaming.  I will probably have to shave off my goatee.  I think that I have only been clean shaven about five times in the past 12 years.  I have really grown attached to having hair on my face.  If the camera adds ten pounds (4.5kg), it is a good thing that I had the flu because I lost about that much weight.

I should know more on Tuesday.

IceTea says:
What a story... Amazing! You are on a kids' show. As I said nuts... but so, so cool. :D
Posted on: Apr 09, 2008
CrazyLisa says:
Awww I agree with the other girls! It sounds likea really neato opportunity. You can mold thousands of children. I think with what you do you are a prime candidate for the position. Just go and be you and try to have some fun with it. They are just kids and hey maybe someday they be thinking of you when their older like you think about Mr. Hat. Good luck with your decision.
Posted on: Oct 05, 2007
sybil says:
that's awesome! what a great opportunity. can we see it via sattellite? ;)
Posted on: Oct 05, 2007
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