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August 4, 2011

So here I am in Sudak, concluding day two of working at Camp Intellect.

When I signed up to do this, I did not know what to expect. I was told I would be instructing three groups of kids each day, and what topics they wanted me to talk about (though really that is just a guideline) and the age range of the kids. Other than that, since I do not work with children on a daily basis, I did not know what to expect at this camp.

So it was that I set out two nights ago to come to Sudak. From Kirovograd, it is relatively easy – take a marshrutka to Znamenka, since there are no trains from Kirovograd to Simferopol. Take the overnight train from Znamenka to Simferopol, and then a bus to Sudak.

This train trip also happened to be my first trip in coupe. Why did I choose this? By default – I did not know until after I bought the ticket that the entire train was coupe. Whoops…well, I must say I understand why people prefer it. Though most of my time was spent sleeping, it was significantly quieter than platzkart, and cooler – the car was air conditioned. The people were pretty nice too – I found out that two people, who got on with me in Znamenka, were also from Kirovograd and were also going to Sudak! So I took the bus with them to Sudak, and when I got a ride to my camp, we found out that their “resort” was right next door – talk about coincidence! The only bummer is that they don’t return until 24 Aug., whereas I return 21 Aug…ah well…

My first coupe experience, and I hopefully made some new friends. So far so good.

With the welcome sign

I got to the camp, which is actually held at a sanitorium, and was welcomed by a sign that the students made. Good omen number two. Good omen number three is the view from my room – and the fact that the room has a balcony.

Wow – I was liking this already.

I must say, the food is, well, meh. I like eating fruits and veggies in general, and especially in the summer. Here, because they are feeding many people at a time, fresh veggies and salad is rare. Ah well, you can’t have it all…

This morning I had to register. Because I am sleeping and eating here, I have to be on the books. Fair enough. First we go to register, and when the woman asked questions, I answered. Then she would turn to the woman who was with me, who would repeat what I had said exactly how I said it, and the woman would write it down. Finally I said “LIKE I SAID”. I was a bit irritated that she was pretending she did not understand me. I have an accent but am able to hold conversations with people!

Then comes the amusing part. I also had to have an “examination” by the doctor (well, this IS a sanitorium after all!). She kept asking me

The view out our balcony door

if I had any afflictions. I kept saying I am in good health. She started naming afflictions – angina (REALLY??), kidney problems, blah blah. I said nope. Finally she got to stomach problems so I threw her a bone and said occasionally I have stomach problems (well, it’s true). She seemed pleased.

Then she listened to my heart and lungs, tapped my kidneys and asked if it hurts (I already said no…) and took my blood pressure. She was not pleased to see the results, regardless of the fact that I am in the healthy range, just a little on the low side (always have been -since when is this a bad thing?). She seemed to really want something to be wrong with me and to give me some treatment, so when she offered me to take some kind of jacuzzi bath, I said sure. Then she wrote down instructions for me to take ginseng three times a day. Seriously? Okay, fine – I mean, there is nothing wrong with ginseng.

She also told me not to eat anything but the food at the canteen. Well, I cannot promise that…

After the doctor, I went to lunch and on my way back in the building I was waylaid – the doctor was there with a couple of nurses, and said I needed to take my ginseng, which one of the nurses prepared, and then instructed me to come three times a day for it. I drank the preparation, agreed to return, and left. Now every time I pass by her I keep waiting for her to tell me it is time for my next dose!

But I know it is because they are doing their job. It is just foreign (ha ha) to me as an American, because this is not how it works here. But hey, free jacuzzi baths? Maybe I should have tried to get massage therapy too – dang, if I had only thought of it at the time…



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