From Seoul to Helsinki in 30 days! travel blog

This is what the lake looked like from the train

Some of the shores of Lake Baikal

Nerpa Seals

So I woke up this morning, hoping for a fresh start with my new roomies. They were still quiet. The mom wasn't a mean looking lady, but her son was driving me nuts. She let him get away with everything. So feeling tired and peeved again, I ate breakfast and sat back to read Sahara, for the second time. It was around 11am, when I looked up at Misha in the top bunk accross from me. He was making some strange noises (as usual), but this time I noticed his little hand was clenched kind of funny. It took me a couple of seconds to register what was happening. And as I realized Misha was having a seizure, his mother looked at the expression on my face, and imediately jumped up to look at Misha. Then she started screaming, ran out of the cabin to get help, and ran back in the cabin to get Misha. I realized I wasn't going to be much help so I got out of the way, and when she was trying to get Misha down from the top bunk I tried to help her. I don't know if I was of any assistance, but that's when some of the other people in the carriage showed up, so I just moved out into the hall and tried to leave as much space for others as possible. I don't know if I've ever been that scared before in my life, and I started feeling awful for having been irritated with the kid. Eventually, Misha came to, and he seemed to be doing ok. There seemed to be quite a few people who knew how to handle the situation, and his mother had some pills for him, so I think he had an epileptic (spelling?) seizure. Luckily our next stop was only about 10 or 15 mins. after he had the seizure, and when we stopped some paramedics came on board. Then they packed up all of their stuff, and they left with the paramedics. I was pretty well shocked and confused, no one said anything to me, and I couldn't understand what they were saying to each other. And then the train started to move on, leaving me in the room with a little bag of puke. So to be quite honest, this was the low point of my trip. After all of the events of the past three weeks I felt confused, upset, completely exhausted, and I just wanted to go home. Luckily I had a couple of hours to myself in the room (I removed the puke), so I could wallow in my unhappiness without an audience.

And then a wonderful thing happened. A woman from a couple of doors down, Oksana, came into my room and asked if she could stay on the newly emptied bunks. I had noticed her the day before, because she smiled at me, and she was wearing Orange. I actually said to myself then, "I know that I would like this woman". So I said "yes", and then briefly thought that maybe a room to myself would have been better. I found out later that she asked to move because she was in a room with only two bunks, one above the other, so the room was really tiny. Oksana brought her stuff over with her son, Serioga (he's 7), and he looked at me skeptically at first. But I thought I should try asking him to play cards with me, and this time it totally worked. We started off playing war (no language skills needed!), and soon one of the other little boys, (Pasha, also 7) from down the hall showed up. So I modified the game to work for three and we had a great time. I dazzled them with my shuffling skills. Serioga turned out to be a little bit of a tyrant, and cheated because he didn't like to lose. But he was still mostly sweet, and Pasha was adorible (he looked like the little German boy from the Simpsons). And while the three of us were playing cards, Oksana would go through my Russian phrase book so she could talk to me. They even shared their dinner with me! I was totally thrilled. I found out that Oksana was 27, a nurse, and that her husband was a Capitan in the military. Oksana and Serioga were going on vacation to visit Oksana's parents, and her husband hadn't been able to get vacation, which is why he hadn't come. I knew I had been completely accepted when Serioga wouldn't stop repeating my name, (it didn't stop for three days), and when we got off at one of the stops and he grabbed my hand and we ran down the platform to get some icecream. Let me tell you, I was on cloud 9!

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