Monday, March 29, 2010

Another respiratory infection - which led to thoughts on my name

I had to go to the doctor today - I could feel it starting last week and hoped that some cold medicine and vitamins would ward it off, but I was wrong. My little cold turned, along with the weather which is now dreary and wet and grey, and once again I have a lung infection, tonsillitis, and am dealing with "seasonal asthma".

When I met the doctor today she addressed me by my full first name - Jennifer.

Only she didn't say Jennifer like you (Americans, I mean) and I would... She called me "Jennnafur"

Which got me thinking, during my brief wait, of all the ways people have twisted and tortured what was the most common female name for years. Here's a little bit for you - some are my phonetic interpretation of their pronunciation and some are what has been written:

Yen (these people, more than one, have seen it spelled and then said it aloud)

There may be more - I've definitely been called other things... but this is it for now.

I'm going to go rest my weary lungs and work really hard on getting better before my friend catches her flight in SFO in the next couple of days.

more on the whole Easter whipping thing

After an enlightening conversation yesterday with both Czech and non-Czech but long-term Czech female residents I understand a little bit more about the whole Easter whipping thing.

First - it's not on Easter Sunday, it's on Easter Monday - and you can expect people to come to your home and whip you...

Second, they sing... combining number one and number two is a story I heard yesterday -a girl new to the country was staying at her boyfriend's family's home a while ago, and was sound asleep when her boyfriend's cousin came in to her room, pulled her blankets back, and started whipping her and singing her a little song. That's how she woke up. To a stranger beating her and singing a little ditty in a language she didn't yet know. And when he stopped he waited for his treat. Yes, after this sort of abuse you are to reward them with decorated eggs or chocolates or some such nonsense.

Third - the boys throw water, not the girls. Not only do you get beaten but if they like you, then expect to get drenched too.

Fourth - as a woman you start preparing for this in advance. There was talk last night of giant egg decorating parties, how many eggs to give to each man, the best way to decorate, etc... I don't know why but it sounded as though there was some social stigma attached to not having a ton of eggs for every potential beater.

There isn't an age limit - children and grandmothers alike.

Finally - it ends at noon. Supposedly. There aren't any real repercussions for whipping a girl after that time, but supposedly it ends at noon. We'll be unavailable to the good citizens of the Czech Republic until after that time.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

sunglasses at night... 80's moments in a modern world

Coral has just returned from FebioFest - she and her friends watched The Invention of Lying and checked out the bands and booths too. Now she is watching Corey Hart's music video for Sunglasses at Night. (You should now open another tab and paste this link... unfortunately embedding has been disabled...

Sunglasses at Night video

And of course this song reminded me, again, of last night's events. There was a man, maybe 15, 20 years older than me, straight out of th 80s - Miami Vice style. Scuttling around, underground, at night, with his sunglasses on, linen jacket, open button down shirt and loafers - that, combined with the red carpet we walked, the MTV crew everywhere, the colors, the dancing, the odd little eye candy effects, the numerous video game consoles, the intermittent flashbulbs of the professional photographers and their strobe light effect - it all combined to make me feel like I was in an 80s music video... the afterparty only reinforced the 80s rock star lifestyle with the multitude of DJs, the velvet covered couches, the heavy silk curtains, a champagne room, the hidden little nooks and crannies - the opulence and the hours and the dance and the drive... a memorable night, possibly for being more like someone else's memory... a la Less than Zero or something.

objectionable behavior

Let me preface this post with three very relevant bits of information:

1. Drug laws here are really lax.
2. Dogs are loved and allowed in grocery stores, restaurants, trams - just about everywhere.
3. You can smoke just about everywhere in this country.

Last night I was a FebioFest - primarily a film festival it also has a large music festival which takes place in an underground parking garage. I was with some friends, their friends and their friends' friends... etc.

This Czech guy stopped by with his dog, took a seat on a bench nearby, pulled out his papers, tobacco, a filter and some pot and struck up a conversation with an acquaintance of mine - some one whom he knew. His dog was a great big lab and quite friendly and greeting everyone in doggy waddling distance with a big brush-up, a fierce tail wag and a loud bark.

A few moments after this guy joins us security approaches him and he stands up to greet them - he's still rolling his joint and as he stands up to talk with the security guard he literally sticks drugs in the guy's face. They have a bit of a discussion which I couldn't follow - but the jist of it was the guy was going to have to leave.

Not because of the pot but because the dog wasn't allowed - I think the barking in an enclosed concert area was distracting or something. And the guy was told he'd have to go up another level to smoke as the concert level was strictly no-smoking.

This was all translated for me by the person he'd been talking to - I asked what was going on when I saw my acquaintance shaking his head. We're both expats, different countries, but we were both a little incredulous about what was being viewed as objectionable behavior.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

british's a girly gripe

I grew up with lovely British movie icons... I've loved black and white movies since I was a kid, raced through Hitchcock's stuff so quickly I know my Mom was concerned it would affect my mental development, and then the oh so charming Hugh Grant (early years) came through, followed by Rupert Everett (that also would fall under a gay man gripe) and more recently Colin Firth, Clive Owen and Daniel Craig - gosh there are so many more, just pick a name... but the idea I'm getting at is the concept of British men being oh so popular and honorable and do the right thing eventually, with eventually being soon enough so they haven't truly done anything unforgivable, and they're charming and intelligent and well mannered and quite possibly a little emotionally repressed with a more subtle sense of humor (or humour, I suppose, if you're British).

Maybe they are. Maybe all the ones who are have stayed in Britain.

The ones here - every single British guy I've met in the past, wow, 18 months, has moved here following a girl. (I know that doesn't negate any of the potentially positive and/or endearing attributes mentioned above.) Actually, almost every male expat I've met here came or stuck around, if they came for school, for a girl. How lovely, how romantic, how devoted, how... I think I'm gonna puke and not just cause I'm sick right now. It would be, but without fail, every British guy I've met here either is cheating or is trying to cheat or has tried to cheat or is talking about cheating on their significant other. Without fail. And for that, they suck. Except one and he was here for a short term work assignment and is already happily back home in England.

That may be a rather infantile summary, but it's also succinct. My illusions have been shattered. Maybe what I'm used, being American men, is just a certain level of underhanded sneakiness about issues like this - maybe it's a different approach. Maybe men all over the world think nothing of having their wives at home and multiple mistresses - maybe women all over the world find nothing wrong in being the mistress(there is definitely a high level of compliance with the women here - I'm astounded by how many women knowingly enter in to relationships with married men... actually that's another gripe too). Maybe I'm being shown a cultural norm or something... Maybe all of this is true.

And if it is - I have an answer for that...

It may all be true, but it's not my truth. I don't have to live my life according to what other people have determined to be right for themselves. I am not interested in being someone's milenka. (I had to look that up actually, it sounded so much like Lenka, a common name, that I thought it might be another diminutive or something... I was wrong, sort of.) And I don't want to be in a relationship where one of the parties is searching for another lover.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

where would the relationship be?

It's funny how you meet someone and you have a connection - or not. Here I make connections with people that I may not have made had I met them back home - whether that's good or bad I can't say, it just that in my comfort zone I'm less likely to step out.

I was talking with someone recently about getting in to relationships - the opinion was thrown about that many people they enter into relationships with people that they wouldn't be in if they were back home. I'm sure there can be any number of reasons but the human desire for connection is probably a pretty strong one. It creates difficulties that require more time than I'm giving it right now.... right now I was just thinking about how hard it must be, to be in a relationship as an expat, with another expat from a 3rd country... knowing it works while you're both on equal footing, equally unsure footing, but not sure it would work in either party's homeland. Where do you go? Are you doomed to live a life of happiness outside of your homelands? What kind of relationship is that if empowering one party by moving to their native area would jeopardize the connection? And I am actually really curious as to how many cross-cultural foreign established relationships work when it is relocated to one party's native country. (It's different than getting involved with a local... not what I'm talking about here.) I think I might research it later but if anyone has any statistics or sources please do share.

Monday, March 22, 2010

for future travelers... a word of advice

In honor of my friend Becky (woo hoo you!) who is coming to visit and with insight gained from having hosted numerous couchsurfers (yea over the past year I'm putting together a list of things you should bring, know, or do in advance of your trip to Prague. This may evolve, we'll see.
  • As a native Californian accustomed to a non-smoking environment, even though I have smoking friends (smokin hot friends!) I was completely unprepared for the prevalence of cigarette smoke. Your hair, clothes, and skin will stink. It's gross but I can't change it. Hopefully this summer there will be some government mandated changes taking place but they're limited and few and not likely to be too effective.
  • Building on the smoking theme, the air here is not what you Californios are accustomed to - at least not you north bay beautiful people. And the pollen is different. In order to protect yourself from dry irritable eyes and allergies bring some eye drops. And allergy pills - even if you don't have dry or irritable eyes or allergies. I'm serious about this. You'll be grateful. Also - pack a bottle of tylenol or advil or something. Yes, there is a version sold here, Brufen, in the lekarnas (not in a drugstore, there isn't anything drug related in the drug store) but the lekarnas aren't usually open in the evening or on Sunday or bank holidays - and those are the only time you'll need something.
  • Shoes. Bring 2 pairs for walking - one pair may get wet. And lots of very comfortable socks - but hopefully not socks with sandals - you'll see when you get here. You're going to walk a lot. Your feet will hurt. If they don't hurt then you're not doing the tourist thing right.
  • Sunscreen. It's expensive here and hit and miss with the brands. Bring what you like... when you're outside walking you're outside in the sun (hopefully).
  • Converters - if you will want to charge your phone, ipod, computer, etc in an airport or during a possible out of the US extended layover then you will need one. If you are not staying with us you will need more than one. If you have no desire to lug that sort of electronic equipment around in your limited carry-on space, and are staying with us, well, we probably have the right kind of converter for you. There is one potential issue - and please go talk to Bernie at the Luggage Shop - heating appliances... hairdryer, hot irons, curling irons, etc. Most converters don't work well with those types of appliances. And quite often the converter is quite expensive. My suggestion - find out his thoughts and let me know... get a price quote. I'll let you know if I have what you need - and if it may be cheaper to just buy one here than it would be to buy the darn converter.
  • Phones - take yours in to a local shop and get it unlocked. Then you can use our extra phone number, if I can still find it, or we can get you your own pre-paid card while you're here. Service is super cheap. I spend about 500kc per month on my phone... Coral maybe 200kc - the exchange is about 18.5kc to the dollar right now.
  • Rain - yes, it quite likely will rain if you're coming at any time when it's not winter. Most often it is a rather warm rain. We have umbrellas. And sweatshirts. Don't worry too much about cold weather - we have a few things to lend and you can always get a super cool awesome jacket if you decide it's not enough. With that in mind, bring a light weight jacket at least and maybe a sweatshirt. Unless it's the summer and then you won't need anything warm really, it's rather humid here.
  • Money - the best way to get cash is with your bank card. Bring some with you for the exchange so you have some right away, but then use your card for the rest. When you go to an exchange desk don't hand them the money first - ask how much they'll give you for it. The exchange rate and their fees should be posted clearly. Quite often there are two tiers based upon how much you're exchanging. Unless their calculation is at the higher tier and totally fair (NO FEES) tell them no start to put it back in you wallet and walk away. They'll usually recalculate it at a better rate. If they don't, well walk 100 meters and you'll find one that does. EVEN with the best rate the exchanges offer you'll usually get a better rate and lower fees by making a withdrawal from you bank.
  • My house - well, I just flooded it and am hoping not to have too many repairs to deal with. We live near a metro station and a number of tram lines. You can walk to the city center in less than 10 minutes and my favorite church/square in less than 5. We live on the 3rd floor (4th floor if you're American) and each floor beneath has (yes, water damage, but, also) really high ceilings. We don't have an elevator. Everything that you bring with you will need to be carried up the stairs. It bites. While you are here I will ask that you help us carry groceries. I don't cook much, you're welcome to, but when I do cook it's nice to have carried up enough food to feed everyone. You will be sleeping in the living room on a futon. We have blankets and sleeping bags and a pillow or two. You can sleep as long or as late as you need to so long as you have keys. Without keys you're locked in the building. We don't have a tub, we have a shower... a small shower. It's maybe the size of your hall closet - no, quite honestly your hall closet is bigger. You may want to pack a towel. Rephrase - bring a towel... because... well, if you want to survive out here you've got to know where your towel is.
  • Laundry - We don't have a dryer,we have a washer. It's a demon machine. It shreds clothes, makes new things look old and pilly, turns whites gray, and spewed water 6 inches deep across my kitchen. I hate it but I use it anyway. You are welcome to use it too, however I think someone should go downstairs to the witch shop and get some powder or something to release it from the voodoo curse. Or not. *
  • Service in shops and restaurants - don't expect a smile. People tip based upon their satisfaction... while tipping is common here, it's not nearly as high as in the US. Most people I know think ten percent is fine, - some thing it's too high and just round up to whatever is convenient based upon the check and level and quality of the service and food.
  • Batteries - more expensive here. If you might need some for your camera stock up. Anything you might need for your camera you should stock up on as all electronic related items are much, much more expensive here.
  • Fashion - unless it's a high priority don't worry about it. Mullets and frosted boy band hair are big, as are tights with daisy dukes, nylons worn as leggings, thigh high stillettos, animal prints and bold color... and then some people wear the same shirt and pants 5 days in a row while others are always impeccably dressed. You may not fit in, but you won't stand out... You will get some awesome photos!
  • Have a little bit of an idea what you want to see/do. Having a few things that appeal to you helps me to identify what else might be of interest. Be honest about what catches your attention - but also keep in mind that I'm not going to try to offer you something knowing it will be lame (some times things that are supposed to be cool just end up being lame, it's not intentional and I'm just as disappointed as you are). If you have every day planned out that's cool too, but it's hard when someone shows up (couchsurfers, this is directed at you) and hasn't taken the time to read up on the city/surroundings, and expects a handtailored guided tour from a stranger who hasn't an inkling as to where their interests lie. I am many things but your psychic tour guide is not one of them.
  • Bring a razor. For some reason they're really expensive here. I hate it. A 4 pack of Gillette blades is around $20 USD.

There's more but I'm tired. I'll get back to this later. Hope it helps a few of you :)

* I was updating this... and my darn washer started leaking again!!! It wasn't the filter and it wasn't my fault, but there is water on the floor - just a little puddle and I've cleaned it - but this is ridiculous! I will continue this update another day.... to frustrated with inanimate objects at the moment.

Friday, March 19, 2010

the waiting game

Yes, I flooded the flats below and yes, we have to wait to see what sort of repair work must be done... there is definite and obvious water damage in the common area walls and ceilings in the floors beneath us. Yesterday was a busy day.

We had three visitations yesterday - sorta like Ebenezer Scrooge. Those that informed me of the flooding, the one affected by the flood, and the one who will take care of post-flood repairs.

The first ones I couldn't converse with but we were able to clearly communicate nevertheless. The second looked a bit like Johnathon Rhys Meyers and if had been any other circumstances than me hunched like a cripple, unshowered in sweats and having destroyed his home... well I might have looked a little harder and truly determined how cute he was. The third was our landlord - and she was as kind and understanding as could be - not a problem, accidents happen, we'll wait and let things dry out and then evaluate what needs to be repaired, do you need anything for the flat? Lamps, furniture... how are things working?

I sent Coral downstairs after we finished mopping up the remnants of the water with a note and some money for the JRM doppleganger. He said his kitchen stuff had been affected and I wanted to make sure he could eat dinner and replace what was destroyed - and she offered to help him clean up. He refused and was quite gracious, again. Actually he was when he came upstairs too - and even told us to let him know if we ever needed help with anything. (I'm rather confused by our interaction - in the US if someone you don't know screwed up your stuff there'e be obvious frustration or something... or the affected individual would say something like 'just buy me dinner or a beer sometime' and not mean it at all and in fact if you tried to offer would be somewhat irritated. Here, when people casually mention something it's more like a commitment... I don't know where the - you flooded my flat so you can buy me beer - fits in to here. A way of placating the person who obviously feels guilty by holding out this future opportunity for them to make amends which they can latch on to and then mentally reconcile their guilt... or a genuine statement. I think I'm going to offer at some point and then find out which it was. Unless I burn the building down I don't think he could have any more reason to like me less.)

Anyway - I'm completely blown away by how different this whole interaction has been compared to what has been my experience here to date. The people whose lives I've, greatly, negatively affected have not only been graciously forgiving but have offered to help us in unexpected ways. I'm still discouraged at this moment - just home from PT and need x-rays and scans, off work for a while longer and my new found asthma is kicking in... but those are primarily physical obstacles. (physical stuff will piss me off and make me unbelievably cranky but - I can overcome that and move on) The other things that were adding up to the physical have since been taken away - I've been in contact with work and am working from home, the operations manager has called to make sure things are taken care of so my pay isn't affected, my friends have offered to help both with movies and food and company and with cleaning up my mermaid mess, and I found a nice neurologist for Coral... I think that maybe this moment is a good moment - despite my frustrations I've just realized I found a community and this isn't just where I'm living for the moment, but this place is slowly become more like a home, temporary of course, but a home nonetheless.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

my landlord's father...

As a follow up to my immediately preceeding post, about the flood in our flat and the fact that we and everyone beneath us may need to move... Coral reminded me that our landlord has lived here... since 1923 or so. Great. He survives a world war, nazi invasion, communist occupation and any vast number of related difficulties... and then 2 Americans move in and flood him out of his home.

Now I really feel awful.

i really wish i wasn't here right now

I am ready to move back home. We may have to move again so why not?

This week I've hurt my back - can't stand up straight or walk freely, have been removed from work and put back in the PT loop... Coral is still dealing with her headaches... the weather is god awful - the warmest it's been in many months was today... 42F. And now.... now I've managed to flood the building. We're on the third floor and every apartment underneath us has been damaged by the water that leaked out of my washing machine. It's my fault - the washer is a godawful piece of work... but it came from a loose filter I had cleaned rather than a hose that broke or something like that. There are 3 floors with water damage - and I can't bend over or stand long enough to effectively clean it up. Coral came home from school and is helping.

Apparently, with water damage - the health department won't let you stay in the building. Which means... moving. Again.

At this point I'm thinking of changing countries. Seriously. I've had it and am tired and sore and frustrated. I can't even call people to figure this out for myself. I'm entirely dependent upon others and I hate it. It's really not a good day... and there have been too many days in a row where I've wished I was elsewhere for me to say I'm entirely happy here, right now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

healthcare reform

I'm not in the country to be inundated with news and pundits and perspectives, etc., but based upon my life experiences - both personal and professional - I see a need for a major overhaul of the American health care industry. Competent and complete health care should be a right, not a privilege.

If you know me, or have been following this and read allusions to my medical past, you know that I've had ongoing health issues that haven't always been resolved satifactorily - due to some cursory exams and delayed necessary treatment I have some lifelong otherwise-avoidable heath issues. I'm not happy about it but I've accepted it, I just hate it when they start affecting my life.

This past week I slipped and hurt myself. I've had to go back to the doctor a few times, get some shots and various prescriptions to address my back pain - now I have to start physical therapy too. No, I'm not thrilled about it, but I'm impressed with how easy it is to get in and get treatment. Yesterday I saw someone who referred me to someone who saw me today who referred me to PT who should see me tomorrow. I've had 2 examinations - one with a neurologist, a round of injections, light massage, minor manipulations, and a couple of prescriptions in the past 36 hours. The total cost for everything - under 220 crowns - the US equivalent... $11.82.

If you get sick here you go to the doctor. If you miss 2 days of work you need a note from the doctor. Everyone goes because it's so easy once you understand how... you go to the office and sit and wait until it's your turn. I still don't understand the appointment concept here... it's rather useless it seems, but I call and go and wait. The doctor takes you immediately, skip the American nurse step, and deals with you one and one until you are through. Then they take the next person. It costs me 30 crowns (less than $2) for each visit. It's odd to me, but that's an outrage here - people don't think that 30kc should be charged... it should be at no cost - I think the charge is relatively new. Some doctors will charge 60kc for translated paperwork, but I've not met that.

I still am quite uncertain while waiting... it flows but I'm not quite comfortable with the stream just yet. I am however, quite impressed with the ease of access everyone has. I don't understand why our medical care, American medical care, with a system and technology as advanced as we have access to, can't assure a universal level of quality, care, and attention for every person in need. There is no reason for people to be going bankrupt for medical purposes, for people to die of colds or pneumonia at home, for an illness or condition to go undetected or untreated as regular doctor visits and required care are so expensive - even for people with insurance. (My medication, with insurance, was once costing over $2,000 month - this while I was unable to work due to my condition. My situation wasn't that unusual.)

Years ago Coral had some medical issue suddenly arise - the doctor did an exam and it didn't go so well - he turned grey and left the room suddenly. When he came back, she was still in tears from the pain, and he sat at a desk - I asked, on edge, what was wrong, and before he would answer me he asked me about our insurance. Before telling me what he believed her condition to be he wanted to check the parameters of our insurance policy to make sure what he thought she needed would be covered. Our policy was more complicated than what what he wanted so he had us go a different route. Care should be dictated by what is medically necessary, not by how easy it is to get a hold of a customer service rep to check the rules and hoops a doctor has to negotiate in order to keep their patient healthy.

I don't know what the solution is for all of this. I haven't taken the time to weigh the pros and cons of the proposals. I just know that for us to hold ourselves out with pride and esteem we need to take better care of all our people - the haves and the have nots. No one should suffer because they can't afford to see a doctor, and no one should be rushed because the doctor needs to turn a bed over to a better insured patient.

neurology and physical therapy.

I spent the majority of 10 (plus) years with my life centered around my physical being... lots of hospitals, tests, needles, scans, doctors and PT. The end result - some permanent nerve damage, chronic pain, mobility limitations, and a few other wonky things that I'm stuck with or need to monitor. Last week I misstepped and now I'm off work and home from school. Today I'm feeling a bit out of sorts and contemplating my continued existence on this continent (as in, why am I here, still, what are my intentions in being here, and what about going home).

I went to the doctor yesterday and he wanted to start sticking needles in my back full of medication (?) I didn't understand. I passed so I could come home and translate the words and think about it... and so he gave me some pills and told me to call him in the morning. I called a short while ago, and based on the lack of improvement, I now have to go to the neurologist, today, and start PT and get those shots. (It's lidocaine, not a big deal, but he used the local word for it and I didn't know.)

While my doctor visit and the medication cost me less than $10 total, I'm far from thrilled about having the 'opportunity to take advantage' of my health insurance. I wish a lot of things in life were different sometimes, only momentarily, as after some resolution I find that I'm grateful for the challenges I've surmounted... but really, it would be nice if I had a little less physical pain in my personal challenges. Please.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

uff, and thanks kiddo

Yesterday was I had some meetings and had committed to attending the opening of a new art space. I got dressed knowing my plans for the evening and the fact that I wouldn't be returning home before going out... so I put on some heels that complemented my outfit.

Then I went outside... where it was snowing - and things sorta came to a halt. I ended up rushing all morning long, despite having gotten up early - but the tram was 30 minutes late and then got stuck in traffic. I was running late for a meeting. Getting off the tram at my final destination, it was curved away from the curb and I stepped on to the street, rather than the sidewalk, even thought I had the intention of stepping on to the sidewalk, and somehow I stepped wrong and did something odd to my back.

Now - after 30 hours of spasms and such, I'm stuck at home, unable to get fully upright and/or make it down the 3 1/2 flights of stairs to the street.. which doesn't matter much as I'm not walking all that well either so if I got downstairs then what? Turn around and come back?

On the weekends we usually do a major grocery shopping. That means, by Friday we're pretty short on food... as in, we don't have much, if any. Coral is a lifesaver right now and heading out to the grocery store for me. Thank you CORAL!

Later - we're going to watch 3 movies - Lost Boys, Silver Bullet (both part of our Corey Haim tribute - my first real movie-star pre-teen crush) and then Highlander per Coral's request. I can't do much else, the weather is miserable, and her friends are busy so it's gonna be a movie weekend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

a few truths and a lie... join me, why don't you?

The other day Coral lent some notes to a classmate... that classmate apparently got a little bored during the class and, along with another friend, started playing a game on the blank side of her papers.

It's often called two truths and a lie, but in this instance the kid put down three truths and a lie. I saw the writing this morning and decided to share them with you all... hoping that you'll take a guess - that's the point of the game - pick out which is the lie. Please keep in mind these were written by a high school aged student.

1. I have been naked in an ambassador's residence.

2. I have been assaulted by the Czech Special Forces.

3. I have been in a plane that was struck by lightening.

4. I have split my head open three times.

Good luck and thanks for playin!

Friday, March 5, 2010

lovely wonderful doctor lady and gratitude for Jill

Today we went to the newest doctor's appointment for my monkey... and I have so much appreciation for the doctor, the office, and one of the monkey's friend's Mom, Jill.

The regular doctor was on vacation but the woman who filled in was just lovely. She was quiet and calm and peaceful and not only listened, but checked the parameters of our insurance and had prepared a list of potential appropriate contacts for us in advance of our coming. Then, she contacted one of the people her contact had referred her to (stronger English skills) and scheduled the appointment for us. She checked to make sure that the kid had everything she needed and was so pleasant and helpful and doctorly yet listened - it was truly a world of difference.

And Jill - she had called and scheduled the appointment, met us at the metro, walked us to the place, dealt with the Czech speaking staff, and then offered to come with us to the next appointment too. Her presence is so bright and cheery and friendly and helpful and Czech-competent... I'm truly grateful.

The plus - in addition to finally getting on the right track for the appropriate care, my monkey has also been having a little bit of a reduction with her headache pain.


spring head

During the winter I think men look more attractive here. I've figured out why. It's cause they wear hats.

When everyone is wearing hats you can't see that they don't wash their hair. Right now (not today cause it started snowing again today, but other than today) people aren't wearing so many hats. I don't like it. Greasy oily dandruffy hair everywhere you look.

I've been told by some people that they think it's normal to only wash your hair once a week during the winter. I thought the people who told me that were all joking, but since it's come from more than one source, and a few were spontaneous utterances and unaffiliated people, and based upon my own observations... well, I'm beginning to believe it.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

cinderelly cinderelly

I got invited to a ball... but I don't have a dress to wear... and I have a lot of work - so I don't think my evil step-mother (also known as my conscience) will give her consent.