samedi 15 novembre 2008

Settling In

Diego and I are finally moved into our new apartment here in London. By a strange twist of fate, we are now living on the same street that Diego used to live in when he was in London. In the process of narrowing down neighborhoods, we visited Diego’s old stomping grounds, including the local pub he used to frequent back in the day. And, much to his surprise, one of his old friends from the neighborhood was also at the pub, seated on the same stool he always used to sit on when Diego first lived here about five years ago. It was then that we decided to stay in this area, and part of the nostalgia we both have about this neighborhood made us chose the apartment that happened to be located on his old street. I like to think that no matter how far our travels take us, we can find home just about anywhere.

So, last Friday, after spending a month in a hotel, the movers came and unloaded all our things at the new place. We still don’t have telephone or internet (not until December 12 anyway), but at least we have an address.

Those of you that know us personally have likely figured out that Diego and I seem to like making big life changes all in one go. Life would be so boring otherwise, don’t you think? Last year, for example, we got married and moved to Paris all within the span of two months. Every time I hear a bride-to-be complain about the logistics of wedding planning, I feel a smug sense of superiority, imagining that this not the sort of woman who could plan a cross-Atlantic move at the same time as she picked out what font to use on an invitation.

True to our pattern, we have now embarked on our second international move, this time with a little kiddie-to-be in tow. That’s right...I’m pregnant! We won’t know the gender until next month, but really, all we both care about now is that we have a healthy baby.

Luckily for us, we live in a country that, despite all the misconceptions Americans have about socialized health care, has great prenatal care, regardless of the mother-to-be’s economic or legal status. The first time I went to the doctor here, I could not provide the proof of address needed to register for the UK’s National Health Service. But, the doctor’s office found a way around that technicality by simply registering me as a temporary patient until I could provide proof of address (they did not even ask to see my visa). This meant that, even though we were still living in a hotel, I was still able to see a doctor and get referred to the prenatal clinic and midwives’ office at the local hospital. Throughout the entire process, no one asked to see any proof of NHS registration or of even my legal right to be in this country.

I love America, but health care is one area where it lags behind even third-world countries. Most people here simply cannot believe that there is no guaranteed health care coverage for Americans, and many ask me if the stories they hear about health care in the US are indeed true. Sad to say, they are true...and quite incomprehensible considering taxes for those earning a middle-class income in the UK are not that much higher than in the US. That said, I am hopeful that things will change in the near future, as we finally have a President that does not misunderestimate the concerns of the average American (and for those wondering, yes, we both voted, although Diego had to try about three times before he was able to do so...but I guess it’s not really all that surprising when you consider that we vote in Florida, where dead people’s votes count more than the votes of the living). Until that moment comes, I’ll just sit tight right where I am, drink my tea and have a crumpet. Cheers, mate.

2 commentaires:

Heather a dit…

I can't wait to visit!

makietdiego a dit…

Do come!! I can take you to get some bacon-flavored potato chips :)