It's interesting, my internship class teacher said the first two periods of culture shock are the honeymoon when everything is new and exciting (this is the only period you really have when you go on vacation for less than a month) and then the plunge when everything stinks and you hate the world and you compare everything to your country and find it lacking. This he said usually sets in when you realize this is not a vacation or an adventure but regular life. It can be set off by several things often the first day at work or sickness. In my case, the two came at the same time and then I continued to get sicker so now I'm really really suffering culture shock. I still really think I will like it here it's just a matter of struggling through these next couple of days or weeks.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Traveler's Tip #1 Never travel to 3 continents in the same week!
My biological clock has been blown to pieces. I am usually pretty good about jet lag...here, I've been awful. I've been here almost two weeks and I have gotten no where on getting onto Kiev time. My body is convinced I've gone back to Australia, so even if I stay up until 12, I can't sleep past 3AM. And normally I might try to just exhaust my body and beat it into submission but I have already been sick sick sick so that's not an option because the only way to get better seems to be to sleep and sleep a lot...in the middle of the day. Add to that the fact that I've not only had the cold kind of sick but I've also had Khlemnytsky's (Ukrainian folk hero who actually ironically is the guy that accidently sold them out to Russia) revenge all night long starting at 1 in the morning after eating something that didn't agree with my stomach. It's amazing how much harder it is to be positive when you feel like hurling. Walking to school that morning, everything made me mad, the ice, the stray dog poo, the smoggy sky, the charcoal like pill my host mom gave me when I said I didn't want breakfast because I felt sick, the car that stopped to let me cross the street, even the little litter picking babustka who smiled at me. I had a very good Russian face that day. Fortunately, my lesson went well. But I crashed as soon as I got home and slept for 2 hours and woke up with a fever. But I am starting to be afraid that because I've been sleeping so much my host family thinks I don't like them so I am trying to be friendly. I played with Styopa and Vanya and watched a movie with Sasha. The movie was in French about American money in Japan with Russian dubbing...maybe that induced the trippy dreams last night. Anyways, later that night, I went to bed and slept how you sleep when you have a fever...not really well with really really strange dreams. When I woke up at 3 I decided to just try to over power my body so I stayed in bed staring at the ceiling for hours and hours until I could hear Natasha feeding Styopa. Then I got up and started cleaning my room. I was supposed to go meet Meagan and Christina and we were going to explore the shopping center and market around our area but when the time came, I still felt awful. So I went to try to call them but my phone is out of grivna so I couldn't call out. Finally Meagan called me and told me Christina had gotten herself lost. I tried to help but wasn't very effectice. Meagan said she's call later and see if I was feeling better and when I wanted to meet for the ballet. Then I went and had blini (like crepes) for breakfast with my host family, which were relaly good. then I went to try to get things together to do my laundry. But I felt really awful so I decided to take a short break. I didn't want to fall asleep so I lay down on the floor which is concrete and impossible to sleep on right??? Well, I was reading and I can remember Styopa coming in and climing over me and then all of a sudden I was waking up to Meagan calling me. She said it was 3 and sh'd call back at 5 and see how I was feeling because from my groggy answers she could tell I wasn't yet ready to meet them. I can't remember if I tried to get up or not but I slept feverishly (more weird dreams) until I woke with a start to find it was 6:55 and the ballet would start in 5 minutes. I had slept though Meagan's phone call and there was no way I could go now. It nearly killed me. Add to that the fact that I'd slept for almost 7 hours and totally set myself back in any attempt to get on the right time. But I was feeling a bit better. I think my fever had gone away. And I got to take a shower! My 4th one! Two showers a week seems a pretty good average here.