Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another Sauna Story

If you haven't picked up on my humor yet then let me explain that I find life to be hilarious.  Even throughout the hardest times in my life, when at that moment I was broken and crying, I look back now and think that most of the time I was being ridiculous and probably overreacting.  Well, things that I have been exposed to here in Russia that are very tough and testing right now are already hilarious to me.

Let me share with you another ridiculous story...

I dont know what it is about saunas but I should not go in them. Until I played for this team I think I maybe went into a grand total of 2 saunas... I just dont like them.  They make me feel like I cant breath, that I am breathing in other people's sweat and everyone is literally dripping with sweat... I mean, really, when else would people voluntarily choose to sit in 120+ degrees sweating profusely??.... and when else do people like to sit in that sweltering heat that close to a stranger and not exchange any words?? I just dont understand the point of them.  Anyways, sorry for that tangent, but we did another sauna sess, and I realized how much I really dont like them.  We call the club house "the base" and it has all of our facilities.  Our dorm rooms, three fields (1 turf and 2 grass), a gym, the sauna, the kitchen and dining hall.  The pictures are below (again, a tangent, sorry!!) But we were in the sauna at the base and two of the gentle men who work here help with our sauna time.  They must have been in there for a long time prior to when we got there because when I walked in he said "Amerikankee??" and I said "da!" as he grabbed my hand and pulled me in for a cheek kiss that was drenched with sweat.  

K, so to the story... we went into the sauna and he was talking and flinging his sweat everywhere and I was sitting on the floor again because it is the furthest from the heat and the most likely place not to get hit with sweat.  And I heard him say "Amerikankee??" somewhere in his words, so I again said "da?!"... this was a mistake.  He grabbed my hand and my towel and moved me up to the top bench where he laid out my towel and slapped it as if to say hop on up!  I said "neite, neite" and everyone said "da, da" so I laid down not knowing what was going on.  He left the sauna and brought back two bundles of leaf branches tied together to make large fans. I was on my stomach at this point (o and mind you, we are required to wear beanie hats in the sauna as well)...and all of a sudden he started slapping/beating me with the branches....this sounds funny and honestly it was.  I am not exaggerating one bit when I say he just slapped/beat my entire body with the leaf branches.  My legs, my feet, my back, everything.  It fanned all of the hot air onto my body and I seriously felt like I was burning up and getting no air.  Then after about 2 minutes of slapping he flipped me over.  By this I mean that HE actually flipped second I was looking at the ground, the next I was looking at the ceiling.  I didnt know what was going on, I was still trying to breathe and figure out why I was getting hit with leaves, then all of a suddent I was on my back and he was again slapping the front side of my body.  He even slapped my face. It knocked my hat off and so someone put it back on and it was covering my eyes, not like they were open anyways (I was getting slapped int he face, after all).  Then when my hat was over my eyes, he apparently got a bucket of snow and dumped it all over my body.  It completely took my breath away, not like I had any air in my lungs anyways.  

He grabbed my hand showed me out of the sauna and into a shower stall that looked more like a sink on the ground and he hosed me off with freezing cold water.  I seriously thought my heart was stopping.  My body was bright red.  He dragged me back into the sauna and set my towel on a bench and sat me down on it... then he said "normal??" which means "are you ok??" I had just barely enough time to push my hat out of my eyes and looked so frazzled.  I literally had no idea what had just happened, but I felt like passing out again.  I responded "si, yes and da" That made him uncomfortable so he told me I could leave the sauna.  But he was laughing at me... I decided I really liked him. hahaha... I felt like it was the epitome of my experiences so far.  I have been slapped by a lot of branches and experienced things I never knew existed, almost (and actually have) passed out several times, had my eyes covered, asked to do things I have never been asked before... but I have come away from all of them smiling and laughing at what just happened! 

That was a long story, but I have no one to laugh about it with so I hope you guys got as good of a chuckle from it as I did.  Anyways, here are some pictures of where I am living... Let me start off by saying that everything you picture when you think about Russia is pretty much exactly how it is.  I dont think this place has changed since it was built.  

Just joking, I just spent an hour trying to upload these pictures, but the internet is so slow that I am going to have to take a rain check on this blog and I will get the pictures up as soon as possible!!!




  1. I seriously saw this with Samantha Brown on the travel channel I think. They would sit in a hot spa, get beat on by branches and then run out into the snow. Supposed to be really good for you! haha. Probably really expensive too! Funny!

  2. I dont doubt it.... thats funny you say that though pops because I have always thought she had the best job... maybe I am starting to live it!?? Love you!!

  3. I have a friend here in denver that took her husband to a russian sauna...and he got beat with branches too! In friend and I went to get facials at this beauty school..we were in rooms next to each other seperated by a curtain...she had a russian lady...I heard her getting slapped and will never forget how funny it was! Lol...I still hear her saying ouch you're hurting me:) plz take care and know how much u r loved!

  4. That's a rather hilarious retelling of your account there. While I'm sorry you were uncomfortable for the duration of the experience, it does make for a good story. On a more serious note, for the Russian banya, the birch beating is for improved circulation and it increases the heat directly above the skin. Once you undergo a round inside a sauna, you're supposed to go through cold water afterwards.

    iHealth Saunas