Years gone by bring an isolated feeling...
Surprising how getting older increases my sense of isolation... not just from the USA but also how I feel in Russia. My grandma commented that after she left Scotland some of her relatives and friends there became emotionally distant. People go on with their lives, now separate from anything about you... others die.
It’s too expensive to buy a home in the USA now. I’m ready to visit again but I’ve been asked not to fly! My cardiologist views me as fragile as an uncooked egg!
Our last difficult trip to the USA kept us away for ten years...
Our visit last visit was a mixture of great travel, and bad situations. While traveling in California I was caught in a legal maneuver in New Jersey. The judges were switched by the opposing party, and the new one ruled I owed $27,000... done with no accounting, a case of local corruption. When we arrived at Glacier Park, Montana, I had heart palpitation. Locals drove us to the American Indian Clinic. Not being Indian they could only give me emergency care and send me back to our motel. An Indian woman drove us to the hospital in Great Falls. They didn’t keep me overnight because I had no medical insurance. This was ironic as I made most of my income as a medical insurance salesman before, but New Jersey residency requirements prohibited my having medical insurance on our return visit.
We decided to press on to a Duke reunion in Durham NC. As an alumnus, I hoped they would be willing to stabilize me for the return trip to Russia, where I had health coverage as a permanent non-citizen spouse. To our chagrin, even with Larissa’s yelling and pleading, they were chary about helping me, as, again, I had no health coverage (didn’t matter that I couldn’t).
Back in St Petersburg later when older and eligible for Medicare, I enrolled... but it’s only operative within the USA. Every month Social Security deducts a little over $100 to pay for Part B I’m at the point where I may cancel Part B, but I hate to take this irrevocable step even though it’s unlikely I’ll ever return.
Russian social culture and language both tough hurdles...
People in my neighborhood don’t wave, call out to people on the street, or make jokes with strangers. People can be so undemonstrative that for me it’s difficult to spot whether people on buses are related or strangers. After all this time I should have gotten used to this reserve, but it makes me miss the States a lot.
I’ve only been able to talk with people casually and often when we are in our summer village. I’ve found a direct relationship between my ability to speak Russian and my social life with the people I see everyday, Russians. I often go months without speaking English face to face with another native speaker.
So I am motivated every morning to study my Russian. Verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, names all change constantly so it seems Russian is a language I will never master. But I find when I know that my Russian is improving every day, I feel much better about living far from my natural environment!
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