Thursday, February 28, 2008
Hail... Ail... Wail...
Edited at the end; a bit more information added. And back to bed.
This picture that I took on Saturday (that's my windshield during a hailstorm) pretty adeptly describes how I'm feeling all over. Hammered by little pellets of ice, a little foggy.
Like my friend "Big Katya," I was diagnosed with "walking pneumonia" today. I saw a doctor who is new to Moscow and who asked such insightful questions such as, "Do you encounter any stress on a daily basis?" (Does that fact that it took us almost an hour of heart-pounding driving along tiny, narrow alleys lined with luxury cars you are are terrified of scraping in order to find a parking space a the medical center count?) "Do you live in an environment with comprised air quality?" (Have you opened your eyes recently?) "Have you been in contact with other people who could be sick?" (Let's see... I'm have kids who attend two different schools, I work in a school, and we live in a city!!!!) This guy has clearly not grasped that we live in MOSCOW, people! I didn't have the heart to just look at him and say, "Um... DUH!!!"
I don't need to be hospitalized (standard procedure in Russian clinics here), but I'm supposed to take it easy. I hate having to miss work!! Katya is sick, too, so we've both been home this week... Poor kid had to miss a big birthday party*, a cool field trip and she'll miss her ballet recital this weekend (she missed all the rehearsals this week, so even if she is better on Saturday, she wouldn't feel able to participate). It's too bad I wore myself out on Saturday on a goose hunt to track down the various parts of her recital costume!!!! (More about that in a post I've been working on since Saturday--but have been too weak to finish). I got a shot to help me breathe better and am now on antibiotics.
And now I'm off to bed. Please forgive me for being so bad recently at answering e-mails and leaving comments on your blogs! (And for replying to many kind comments received from you). I'll get back at it soon.
*On another note, however, we did get to attend the same girl's "family and close friends" birthday party over the weekend. (Here you have a home/family friends party and then a shindig at school, partly b/c you could never fit everyone in an apartment. They rented out a historic movie theater and we were there for over five hours! Chris left work for a few hours to join us. It was a on a national Russian holiday when all the other adults were off, but Chris still had to work. The kids were entertained by actors doing a variety of games with them and then they saw "Alvin and the Chipmunks" in Russian. The adults, meanwhile, mingled and had a formal--and delicious--meal fitting for a wedding. I don't think I'll ever get used to how important birthdays are here! Love it, but we just can't afford to do something like that... I'm glad good Russian friends of ours who are heavily exposed to the US have decided to make a drastic switch and "go American" when it comes to birthdays--it was getting out of hand as costs soar through the roof. That takes a little pressure off of us and makes it not so obvious that we don't do this. Even if we could afford it, we just couldn't bring our American selves to spend money like that on birthday parties--every year--for all four of us! When you're the adult, you're expected to host a formal dinner for all your close friends and family.
I actually sat next to Robin Williams' acting coach at that party, a most interesting man who has produced a plethora of acclaimed movies and trained many American actors in the Stanislavsky Method. (I read up on the method and tried to teach it to my junior high students when teaching at my last job in the USA--typical private school stuff where you're hired to teach French and Spanish and then find out, oh, by the way, you're also the drama teacher and in charge of putting on a school play. This little background info made it SO interesting to talk with this man!) There was an equally nice couple sitting across from us. Only after a few hours did we make the connection that I'm their eighth grade daughter's (she wasn't at the party) Spanish teacher! I'm used to "expat Moscow" being VERY, VERY small... but we've been here long enough that we're even finding ourselves in similar situations with Russians now. A few weeks ago I was shocked to see a little girl I had tutored last fall on the cover of "Hello," The Russian equivalent of "People." Well, I'll be darned. I had no idea her father is EXTREMELY famous in the music industry. That does explain, however, the head-to-toe Christian Dior ensembles on a four-year-old...