Friday, April 07, 2006

honey: the bane of bolezni (illnesses)

I got sick at COS. I caught a cold, and I can't help but think now that it was because of the climate change from Ust to Almaty, and I didn't wear a hat. It's funny how things like that are propogated from generation to generation. I tried to talk to my girlfriend about the rather unreasonable ideas that locals have about getting sick. Now, granted, there must be something to them, if everyone believes them. It's annoying when my host-mother, every single teacher in my school, and my girlfriend hector me about not wearing a hat in cool weather. I never wore a hat in Texas in the winter, and never once believed that it, and not those pesky little things called germs, caused my colds. I asked her if she knows that colds are viruses, then she tried to say that she wore a hat because it's uncomfortable in the cold, to which I agreed, but was a rather answer. I don't think you can believe both. I then asked her if she sat on the concrete, to which I got another cop-out answer. Apparently she believes in these things, but equally realizes that they are wives' tales. Believing that a girl can become infertile by sitting on cold concrete seems ridiculous, and that one can catch a cold from not wearing a hat seems almost as unlikely. But they both grow more likely the longer I'm here. I've been in Kazakhstan too long.

Speaking of belief in illness and cures, here's another curious thing. There's toothpaste that my host family uses with not one bit of Russian on it. It's all in English, and I'm sure they don't understand it. It's Colgate Propolis Whitening. I don't even now what Propolis is supposed to mean, and I'm sure they don't know that their toothpaste is supposed to help the whiteness of their teeth enamel. I think it's probably the picture of the bee and honeycomb on the tube. They see the bee and honey, and think, "Honey, I put honey in my vodka and tea when I'm sick. Honey's good. It'll be good in toothpaste too. Brushing my teeth with this every other day will help me from not getting sick." Unfortunately, I think this is probably the actual scenario.


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