4 weeks in Russia: So I fainted into the pelmeni..

Well not quite. I think it was after the raspberry cream cake…

These last two weeks have been manic, trying to keep my head above water in a class a level above my own. My exam is B1 and I am in the B2 class, conscientiously spending hours doing the homework while at the same time continuing my work for Moodle. Study work eat sleep. Study work eat sleep.

So for a pleasant interlude my son’s landlord invited us to his home in the area of Peterhof. First he, his wife and daughter treated us to a guided tour of the palace – I was impressed with myself with how much of the commentary I could understand. And then we went back to their (very impressive) home – for another short tour which included a basement den where they have a sauna and cold bath)

We then met the two grandmothers who also live with them and I had plenty of opportunity to practise speaking Russian. Champagne to celebrate the event, along with the seven year anniversary of my son having his first Russian lesson in London. All the food was homemade – from the borscht to the salad olivier to the blini to the gathered mushrooms preserved picked and tomatoes, pelmeni, fruit compote and finally a beautiful cream cake made by Lisa the fifteen year old daughter. And yes, I tried everything offered to me. Strangely, just after the cake and as I was drinking the green tea I suddenly became very hot – not just for a few seconds but for what seemed a longer time – and then the room seemed to go round and round and I suddenly realised I was going to faint. I had enough awareness to shout “I’m going to faint! Somebody help me” In English because I couldn’t remember the Russian  -and my son was sitting next to me. The next thing I knew I was being tapped on the face by my son saying “Mum – are you going to come back to us?” And I felt a kind of regret because actually for the very few seconds I was actually ‘out’ I had felt a lovely calm, relaxing sleep… Then of course major panic ensued with the landlort, Sergei calling the paramedics and the mum taking my blood pressure…After feeling very hot and then cold and sick I was actually mostly ok by the time the paramedics came. That was an experience. I have never been visited upon my paramedics in England let alone Russia! There was a guy and a woman and they had a enormous bag of – well, what looked like lots of different phials of potions to me! They did my blood pressure (ok ) a fingerprick bloodtest (presumably ok because nobody said otherwise) and a cardiogram which was most interesting since I have never had one. I had to strip off, lie on the bed and have some monitors stuck to my chest and like a clip on each arm. Then some paper came out of a machine to the side of the bed. They both looked at it carefully and when I asked what it meant they didn’t say anything – which was a bit disturbing… They did talk when my son and the mum Olga came back in though. It was fine except for a “minor weakness” (we didn’t really understand what that meant) which might be nothing – I might have had it all my life without knowing – but which they recommended getting checked out by a cardiologist. They also recommended going to be checked out at hospital, but they weren’t too concerned when we turned that invitation down. Their general conclusion was that it was a ‘one off’ – maybe some food that disagreed, maybe over exertion – but they did advise going to a cardiologist. When they heard I would get it checked out in two weeks back in England they thought that was too long, so now, here I am, Saturday night, back in my own flat courtesy of Sergei, expecting a call from my son in the morning regarding a cardiologist appointment tomorrow evening (private, paying) He is working tomorrow until four and I have a nice invitation to lunch and a walk in the park, neither of which we feel the need to cancel, so it will have to be around sixish if available.

How odd.I am not the fainting kind. I really am not. In months to come I will look upon this as one of the pivotal moments in my journey towards mastering the Russian language. Today however, I would just rather  put it behind me. It has somewhat reminded me of my advancing age and my mortality….

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