Monday, July 18, 2011

Forced socialization

Last night an out-of-town friend called me at 9 PM. She was nearby and wanted to drop in. Of course, I was lounging in an armchair in front of the tv, no make-up, nursing my broken toe, feeling apathetic, and I started to explain all the reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea. Then I thought "This is stupid. I'm always going on about how it's okay in Russia to just drop by and visit versus the American system of calling to set up a day and time." It's okay to do in college, just knock and start hanging out, but then it becomes a complicated system of "let's hang out sometime" when you don't really mean it. So I said yes. And I didn't regret it.

That's Part 1 of my "re-Becoming More Social" weekend.

Today was Part 2: The Russian Experience.
We had promised to go to the home of my Russian co-worker to do some computer repair work. As usual, I was feeling kind of it's-just-easier-to-stay-at-home (but then I would have nothing to write about!) but deep down I was looking forward to it. When we got there, they fussed over my health a little bit and settled me in a comfy spot on the couch, and then we had a long while of drinking tea and eating cake. And by drinking tea, I mean like ten cups! As usual, everything was very tasty and very beautifully presented. Then while D went off to fix the computer, I got to hang out with our hosts. Russians make wonderful hosts!!!  Then we had dinner together: they fried up hooligan (a kind of fish), made уха (uha) soup, and a salad from fresh dill, cucumber, tomato, and yellow pepper. I got a little worried when I saw the mayonnaise come out.... I'm trying to "man up" and not get so squirmy about the icky 3 (mayonnaise, tomatoes, onions)...but can't quite stomach mayonnaise yet. Anyways, I've always avoided small fried fish (skin-on and with bones) in the past, but I decided to give it a shot today. And you know, it wasn't bad! In fact, it was pretty good! I ate the fish eggs in the soup and I even crunched my way through the fish bones. (They were soft bones. Plus, her husband is a doctor and said the calcium would be easily absorbed to help my broken bone heal. If that actually happens or not, I don't care, because it was me learning to be more adventurous.) I really enjoyed the whole afternoon. We ended up spending about 7 hours there. How cool is that? That "openness" attracts me. As an American I usually start to feel antsy after about 2 hours at someone's house.

The only thing I didn't like- my terrible command of Russian. I confused the words for church and circus, but I don't really care about little things like that. Mistakes are funny. Plus, church...circus....sometimes they're the same thing! What is frustrating is the lack of ability to communicate like I want to. It's so easy to slip into English. I need to start studying!!

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