My summer in Chita – 2. Catching a cold

My summer in Chita – 2. Catching a cold

Yesterday we had a fantastic day at the Rope Park 20-25 km outside of Chita in the mountains.  The day was brisk and we were outside from 10:30 until 4pm.  I’m blaming that for my cold…mainly because I want to mention the day and show some pictures!

girls climbing at the rope park
At the rope park-Kristina (8), Olya (9), Snezhana (7-8)
two girls on high rope walkways
Natasha (13) braving a high challenge. Polina (11) just finished on the right.
5 kids on a great big swing
The four-person, uh… five-or-six-small-person swing: Vlad (10), Anzhelika (8), Kostya (8), Kristina (8), Maxim (11)

So, I caught a cold.  It came on very quickly, starting on the bus ride home, with serial sneezing as if I had allergies, which I don’t.  By 9 at night my nose was a river and I’d used up the old roll of TP, and I could feel it coming into my throat.  Very little sleep followed and I was up at 5am, just about sunrise, and at 7, I starting texting Julia, my boss, that I shouldn’t come and be near the kids today.  And then went to bed (listening on and off to the amazing election results in the UK on my smartphone).

At 1pm, Anna, the preternaturally competent Office Manager (and recently former girlfriend of the owner of this flat, son of the school’s director, if you must know…) came over to find medicines for me in the apartment.

And this is the fun part: The Regimen.
–I’m to gargle chamomile tea whenever possible.
–I have an herbal inhaler, like a Vicks inhaler, and other herbal drops to send into my sinuses
–I have Tiger Balm for my temples and nose
–I have herbal cough lozenges to suck on to loosen the mucus
–I have two actual medicines, one seems to be a mild Contac-like pill to reduce symptoms, the other an expectorant
–And then I have berries.  Anna went through the refrigerator’s freezer and there were bags of berries collected last summer:
         –Bird Cherry, a small black cherry (on a beautiful tree) with a large stone and very astringent–to eat straight.
         –Black Currant from the dacha garden–to make tea
         –Gooseberries from the dacha to put with boiling water to make “compote,” essentially fruit softened in water that flavors the water and you eat and drink the whole thing
Wild Blueberries (голубика), which are somewhat different than American ones, at least in this part of Siberia–they don’t have the prominent flower at the end and are a little oblong–for munching or compote or tea.
–Drink a lot of water
–But mainly I’m to sleep a lot.  What?  I’m so busy with all this good stuff, when do I sleep!?

group photo in front of a flowering bird cherry tree filled with tiny white blossoms
Under the beautiful bird cherry tree at Viktor and Elena’s dacha in May 2015: Vova, his Dad, Viktor, Olga Fleshler, Elena, and I’m with Vova’s daughter, Varya.


small black bird cherries densely bunched on the tree
Bird Cherries










black currants on the bush
Black Currant
gooseberries on the bush










wild Siberian blueberries
Wild Blueberries (голубика) found in Zabaikalye

So, here I go, and tomorrow I’ll be fit as a скрипка (skripka)!

(NOTE: Minneapolis’s wonderful Museum of Russian Art had an exhibit a couple of years ago on the Forest in Russian Culture, and here that pre-industrial life continues today in medicinals from the forest.)

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