15 April 2011

Getting Sick: Russian, American, and Chinese Style

I've finally started a beginning Russian class after trying to get something going for a month.  I have two teachers; one is Russian, one is Kyrgyz, and the other students in the class are Chinese from Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Russian is the closest thing to a common language, and it's not all that close.  English is also helpful at times.  Anyway.

Today we were talking about what to do when someone is sick.  There were obviously some different cultural expectations.  The Russian version had people going to the doctor, buying all sorts of stuff for sick friends, and generally being very solicitous.  The Chinese students suggested acupuncture for various afflictions, plenty of rest, and various medications (the Russians like the medications too).  I suggested that I might make dinner for someone and read them a book if they were sick (since I figured I'd better come up with something more than I'd usually do, which is to leave the person alone to sleep).  My Russian teacher thought that was very "interesting."

I'll remember only to get sick with American friends around.  I don't think I could convince my friends here that I really didn't need anything.

(One other thing that fits here- the reason why I took so long to start a class was that my original teacher got sick.  Three weeks ago.  I am under the impression that it was the flu, which is nasty, but I don't know many people outside Asia who would take over three weeks of work off for it.  I'm not saying one way or the other is better, just that the expectations are hugely different.)

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