Sickly Superwoman, Russian Style

September 4, 2011

Well the program staff warned us during orientation that we would all get sick sooner or later, but I figured it would be later than my fourth day in the city. Apparently my immune system is not so immune to Moscow germs. I would treat an American cold by drinking a lot of water, probably taking some Emergen-C, drinking tea with honey, and generally just going about my business as usual, although blowing my nose rather frequently. With a low fever, a little Advil never goes amiss.

How to treat a Russian cold: AKA, Curing a Russian Cold 101, as taught by my host mother.

  • Rule 1: only drink/eat hot beverages/foods – I had hot milk with muesli for breakfast because cold milk would be bad for my throat
  • Rule 2: absolutely necessary to wear a scarf or some other warm clothing around one’s neck, and to wear thick socks to protect from cold drafts from the window
  • Rule 3: drink a lot of tea – with small lemon slices, as they are THE source for Vitamin C
  • Rule 4: Do not shower, as wet hair would be dangerous to my health

Now I shall wait and see how such methods pan out (although my experiment won’t be very well controlled, as I took some Advil this morning. Next time, I won’t mix remedies of different nationalities.)

One of the girls in the program, Tabby, connected with some Russians our age through her church at home. I went with her today to play volleyball with them – which was a lot of fun! Sports truly do transcend language barriers – and it was nice to finally see some smiling Russians. (On the street, Muscovites DO NOT smile). I will be not so modest for a moment – as an only minimally talented female athlete in the US, here in Russia I become like some super-woman. My very limited volleyball skills were widely applauded – wait until we play soccer next week! I’d love to find a soccer team to play with here, as a way to make some Russian friends, and was told that such teams are generally quite happy to have an American girl like me, because soccer development and opportunities in the US are much more widespread and accessible than in Russia. (Maybe I was generally applauded because the Russians were being polite to the foreigner, but I hope not…)

Small – no, make that LARGE – victory of the weekend – successfully using the metro, not once, but 4 times! I correctly communicated what tickets I wanted to buy and sailed through the gates like a pro. Now it’s just a matter of walking to the correct station in the first place…

Until classes start,
Hillary

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