Being stubbornly/unnecessarily independent hasn’t gotten me anywhere. In fact, more often than not, it’s led me straight into a ditch and my friends have to extend twice as much effort to get me out.
Take, for example, my issue with “проводить.” It means to escort someone / to walk someone somewhere, typically in the case of walking someone home. It’s been difficult to get used to this. For a long time, I fiercely refused the offer – the mere suggestion was an insult! What, can I not walk home by myself? What, do you think I’m going to get lost on the straight line between here and the next few blocks? Do you think my wobbly foreign legs will slip on the ice and I will break my bones? And topple over all the others like a bowling ball to pins on my way down? Goodness gracious, of course I can walk home by myself! This is part of a general pattern – I’ve stubbornly tried to refuse help because of not wanting to be weak or to prove to myself that I can handle whatever comes my way. I came here to grow a thick skin, and grow a thick skin I will!! But all these feverish attempts at self-reliance are causing more trouble than asking for help.
I couldn’t quite remember which of the billion identical cement Lego blocks was my friend’s apartment, and, as luck would have it, I went into the wrong yard. There I was brutally and mercilessly attacked by vengeful dogs that had clearly just been released from eight years in a basement where they lived on a steady diet of lettuce and toothpaste.
I froze and couldn’t do anything as they played with my tender calf like they were teething on a rubber chicken. Then I just shrieked and screamed pathetically and somehow gained enough seconds to leap out of the yard and shut the fence. I came in panting and freaking out to my poor dear friends. They cleaned and disinfected my leg and then gave me tea, cookies and a great braid to calm me down.
Then we went to the hospital and got the whole mess wrapped up like a Subway sandwich and thus began my series of shots – one in the arm against lockjaw, one in the bum against tetanus, and then another 5 consecutive shots throughout the next two weeks against… more tetanus.
My friends told me that the dog(s) that attacked me was(were) a «кавказская собака». (Caucasian dog, dog from the Caucuses). Judging by the dazzling but unforgiving natural landscape in the region, I assumed that the dogs were similarly brutal, which would explain why they got to work on my leg like a dentist on a post-Halloween mouth. Then I googled them:
Well that didn’t make me feel like a very thick-skinned, hard-ass independent Russian-Mongolian-Viking crusader, given the fact that I just got mauled by the cutest teddy bear ever.
In hindsight, I probably should have just called to confirm their apartment number (and exposed my weak memory to my friend) instead of exposing my calf bone to the outside world. (Yikes – it wasn’t at all that bad, I just couldn’t resist the parallel structure!!) Yeah yeah, lesson learned… for the most part!