Friday, March 27, 2009

Are you kidding me?

So, following up on my "women's exam" a few weeks ago (see this post), my GP decided to forward me on to a specialist for a GYN consultation. Forget the fact that I saw my GYN as a matter of course yearly back home. Today, I get a letter from said Consultant offering me an appointment... in August!

See dictionary definition of "whiplash" for the double take I did at seeing the date. Five months for a simple consultation? And that's before being kindly informed later on in the letter that if any procedures need to be performed I may have to wait "a considerable time".

Uhhm, are we talking 2009?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Unexpected Compliment of the Month

Driving instructor at end of 1st "lesson": "You're a lovely driver. You should have no problem passing the exam."

Me inside my head: "WOOHOO!!! I'm good, I'm good, I'm so freakin' good! [sung in childish melody]"

**Note: Decided to be smart and take a few lessons before my driving exam next week for my full Irish license (and lower insurance). Of course I had to wait 6 months afer passing the theory test (by the skin of my teeth) to take it. Apparently 20 years of experience driving in the states wasn't enough!

**Extra Note: Passing your driving exam is a HUGE deal here, considering almost 50% of those who take it fail! They even have cards in the shops for congratulating the lucky ones who pass :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Am I spoiled?

In preparation for my apartment move in 2 weeks - YEAH! - I popped over to An Post at lunch yesterday to pick up a change of address form.

Imagine my surprise, shock and outright horror at the realization that there's a charge for this service! Really? You need to rip me off for €55 just to transfer my mail for a measly 3 months?!!

I can understand this for businesses, but I may get 4 pieces of mail a week given the wonderful dearth of junk mail here. Why do I need to get charged in the first place?

I hate to resort to the "this doesn't happen in America" mantra, but.... Am I just spoiled? Does this make sense to anybody else?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

A four day holiday weekend centered around catching up on my reading, TV, and snacking.

Salsa dancing and some intense socializing at a great party on the weekend that, best of all, was held just around the corner from me so no lengthy trek home.

An actual date on Friday night that scored a 9 out of 10.

Lots of quality time in my pajamas and with comfort food.

But the ultimate topper was today's easy-peasy presale where I got U2 tickets for the Dublin concerts in the least stressful and most carefree interaction I've ever had with Ticketmaster!

Ahhh, now how else to loaf away my day?

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's A Brainiac To Do?

You know the economy is really tanking when, instead of being a blessed escape from the harsh realities of life, grad school is actively being discouraged as a "career" choice.

This NY Times article , "Doctoral Candidates Anticipate Hard Times" just makes me shudder (mostly in relief that it's not me). The thought of having survived so many years of research minutiae, dissertation writing, teaching bored undergraduates and surviving on noodles and peanut butter, only to not even be able to find a job at the end of it is just terrifying.

. . . . excuse me while I suffer through the flashbacks . . . .

If academia isn't the last, best escape from the working world, what is?!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Girls, what's missing from this picture?

Nothing makes it clear to you that you're in a totally different country, and culture, than getting an inside view into it's healthcare system. And, when you're a woman, the contrasts can be quite stark.

Let me start off by saying that this is not a complaint. In fact I've been relatively happy with the healthcare I've received so far here in Ireland. But, today ladies, I bit the bullet and went in for my "women's exam" and let me tell you, Ireland is a very different place than I'm used to.

I think it would help if I highlighted the differences by phrasing this in terms of what was absent or missing from the usual (i.e., American) picture:
  • No demand to see your insurance card, because there isn't one.
  • No paying up front before you even get in to see the doctor. (Yes, you do have to pay afterwards. This is Ireland, not paradise!)
  • No huge sheaf of papers to sign and disclaimers to approve in the vain hope of avoiding the inevitable lawsuits.
  • No waiting around while your doc rotates between you and 3 other people at the same time. One at a time, baby!
  • No extended contact with the nurse prior to your precious few minutes with the doc. No nurse, the doc does it all!
  • No being forced to wear a ridiculous paper gown that leaves you exposed, shivering and feeling grossly inadequate... because nothing but the most minimal stripping occurred (I was wearing a skirt so only undies went).
  • No privacy during the stripping that did occur. She just turned her back. (Now picture me with dumbfounded look on my face and quite a few seconds delay while it slooowly occurs to me what I'm expected to do).
  • No nurse in the room as the doc's insurance and proof against possible accusations. Ahh, the innocence. The trust!
  • No stirrups!
  • No fancy wipes afterward :-(
What was there was a kind yet authoritative demeanor by a skilled clinician with a fantastic bedside manner. All in all, an interesting but generally positive experience.

Strange but true

I've had a Happy Monday! Strange as it may seem. Let's hope it's an omen for the rest of the week and not the build-up prior to a massive smackdown.

Reason #1: I've been all tied up in knots for the past week after finding a great apartment in the city centre, with parking, but was terrified that they were going to balk at allowing pets. She may be crazy, but Meesha is my crazy cat and, despite snarky suggestions to the contrary from certain family and friends (who I have no choice but to love), she goes where I go. So after some intense supplications to "the man upstairs", I finally broached the topic with the agent today and she was all "that shouldn't be a problem" when I oh-so-casually broached the existence of my feline companion. Despite her annoying dismissiveness of something that's been keeping me awake at night, I'm extremely pleased!

Reason #2: I heard from my HR manager today that, after sitting on it for a week (surprised anyone?), she'd checked on my work permit situation and confirmed that I am released from the need to renew and will only have to get stamped by the Garda when the time comes. She then casually refers to that being it in terms of the steps needed to continue my employment here. When I question her re forms to be signed, temporary contract vs. permanent employment, etc, etc, she offhandedly says she'll check in with my boss about what she wants to do. What?? Aren't you the HR manager? Don't you make those decisions, or at least know what the parameters are? Argh! Enough with the casual dismissal of issues that are of the utmost importance to my life! The good news? I have a great relationship with my boss, so I'm not worried. And now I know that I will be staying on here after my contract is up this summer.