Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pregnancies (not mine!), Alcohol Checks and Moving Forward

Hello all.

I recently went with a fellow expat friend to a cafe to meet with a group of other expats to practice the language.  There's a man that leads it who's been in the country for almost 40 years and likes to help.  There were several of us the other night and it went well.  I was a bit (read: a lot) overwhelmed, but I trudged through.  I even participated a little.  I ended the evening both tired and stimulated.  I think I'll go back and give it a try for a bit.  Even if I didn't understand everything, I think it got the 'ol gear box working, y'know?  It already enforced more Dutch thinking through the week and even though it started to taper off the longer the week went, it's still good progress. W. was impressed with my reading/translating tonight.

It's also been decided that I'm (even more so) joining the magazine editors team.  I already contribute recipes, but now I'm going to be helping W. with graphic design.  I'm even learning Adobe's InDesign.  The guy who was doing it had to leave, so I'm stepping in to help out.  Besides, it's something else to add to the resume and it makes my not-working time more constructive.  All of this is good progress; I'm not working, yet somehow I'm being kept busy.  I'm very grateful for this.

I don't know if many of you have heard of Ello (https://ello.co/).  It's touted as the new anti-Facebook.  It's very simple and clean-looking.  You can sign up to be on the waiting list, or get an invite from a friend who already made it on (also) through an invite from a friend.  It's very quiet now with not a lot of people on it and it's still in beta stage.  Anything that gives me a break from Facebook wins, so... yeah.  I'll say that after looking at some people's profiles (your profile is public) that it's very much for the art or culturally-minded community.  Lots of art.  Lots of photography.  I'm not sure I fit there.  I used to be this person, but it's been a very long time.  I really miss Google+, I'm not gonna lie.  Not as many people are on it as Facebook (or at least they weren't when I walked away over a year or two ago) and you had more control over who could see or not see your posts, but maybe I'll try again and see who's lurking.  Last I checked there were new friends on that hadn't previously joined.  Google+ 's network is fantastic.  Much more user-friendly, I think.

There were a couple other things I wanted to talk about, but I'm going to put them on the back-burner and talk about them another time.  I wanted to share a couple of cultural differences, 'cause you know those are always fun.

So the other night on my way to choir, I was on the bus and when we turned one of the street corners, traffic came to a dead stop.  You know how it goes, everyone pokes their heads up and around to see if they can tell what's going on.  There's talk and guesses what's holding us up.  Yeah, they had an alcohol check.  So get this.. the set up is pretty much the same; cops in the middle of the road, stopping traffic both ways to check for alcohol consumption (on a busy one-lane street, no less), there's two of them per station.  They check you for alcohol alright.  They make you blow on the spot!  Every.  Single.  Vehicle.  Even our busdriver had to blow!  They have their devices with disposable cap thingies to replace with each use.  Our police guy's partner was holding two bags of them.  On.  The.  Spot.  They're not messing around!  I think it's fabulous!  MUCH less room for error, much less guessing (for the cop, and for you and your chances. "Oh, I've just had two tonight, it's a weeknight, a RIDE Program won't be out, I'll be fine.  BAM!  You'll be 'fine' alright because you'll get a fine). How it works after they find alcohol in your system, I don't know how that process works.  In this instance they couldn't have exactly made you pull over, cause there was nowhere to pull over *to*.  So I shall ask around about that.  WHY they're not doing this where I'm from is beyond me.

Gosh, there was another cultural difference I wanted to write about.  Hmm.. this one is kind of a two-parter that I don't have time for, but I will get into it a little bit.  So.. the list of my friends becoming pregnant around the globe is growing.  Had babies.  Having babies.  Going to have babies.  Your social life quickly diminishes if you are of the non-baby community).  Gah.  It's an epidemic everywhere :P  Anyhoo... did you know that when you have a baby here, there is help that comes to the house to help you clean (and do laundry), make meals, they make tea and cut cake for guests, cut your flowers.  Like.. the whole shibang.  I couldn't believe it.  Again... fantastic idea!  You're alloted a certain amount of hours (which is fairly substantial, from what I remember) and I believe everyone has access to this.  Maternity leave is much shorter though (compared to Ontario); 16 weeks (combination of time off includes both before and after birth).  I do side more with the year off that Ontario has; it benefits everyone.

I've decided to make (at least) one recipe a week out of my Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table cookbook.  I've made a few already (and will exclude those) and have really enjoyed them.  It'll broaden my cooking and baking repertoire and bring new dishes into the house at meal times.  Much needed!

Okay, I'm going to take off.  It's Saturday, so it's sit-back-and-binge-watch-Doctor-Who night.  I better get the popcorn ready.

Hope y'all are having a good weekend.  If the weather is as beautiful as it is here, be sure to get out.  There is much colder weather coming around the corner.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Cultural Differences

I've been brewing this one for a while.  Since things are a bit stressful here, I thought I would make a fun post. Since I've been talking about doing this post for a while, I thought it was high time.

Births.  I can't comment too much on this because I (obviously) have not had personal experience with this.  However, being able to witness these experiences through my friends, I'm getting an idea what giving birth in the Netherlands is like.  Most births are at home (you can also go to a birthing centre (that is not a hospital) or a hospital).  The Dutch are very relaxed when it comes to birthing and very much believe in listening to the mother's body (not the many machines one would be hooked up to in North America).  I don't know if I would ever choose this option, but a lot of them do it without flinching.  Also little to no meds.  Sometimes they'll even start walking the baby on the birth day.  It sounds silly (really; I'd have to witness this to believe it) but they like to test motor skills - and they keep them walking!  We also have friends who started feeding whole foods to their baby after a few weeks (i.e very soft, very steamed vegetables).  I think this is fabulous.  So they're very much progressed in this area.

Deaths.  One of W's uncle's wives passed away recently (cancer) and I was informed the body stayed at home until cremation.  I'll tell you flat out I did *not* believe this one at first.  What has been considered an old practice in Canada from a hundred years ago, is still done here today.  Not always, but I think it depends what the deceased wants, what the living wants, type of death, etc.  I believe it's very rare for embalming (not typical Dutch practice) so they'll rent a cooler bed and place it under the body to keep it for a few days until the body will be cremated (I think it was 4 in this case?).  I'm not kidding you.  The body was at home.  They were receiving no visitors at this time (I think this is by choice?).  I take things in stride usually and haven't gotten *that* much culture shock here, but this one threw me.  We were unable to attend the funeral as it was quite a distance away, but I heard it was nice.  In typical Dutch fashion, they view death a little differently than we do, I think.  Where you and I might find it obsurd and unfathomable, they find it a personal way to say goodbye instead of in a cold, impersonal funeral home.  There's something to be said for that.  W. promptly told me (when we were having this discussion) that I was going to the funeral home right away and it's not open to discussion :)  I was okay with that.  Not that I'd given it much thought.  Not in this country, anyways.

The dentist.  When I went for my dental checkup I was surprised how little I was in the chair.  Maybe.. 5-10 minutes?  They didn't do all the stuff you'd expect from a dentist in Canada.  No flouride (I think it's discouraged here, but I'm guessing based on cultural observations), no cleaning.  The dentist does most of it himself; he looks you over, flosses, etc etc, but you're not in the chair for half an hour getting things done by a hygenist.  While I was very skeptical he was doing a good job, he did notice a couple things upon observation that you wouldn't know to look for unless you were really looking.  I've seen him a couple times since and I have faith he's a good dentist.  When I become more comfortable, I'll ask why they don't do all that stuff they do in Canada.

It seems to me there were a couple of smaller things I wanted to discuss, but I don't remember.  I think I'll wrap it up for now anyways since it's dinner time (@ 18:30 - late by Dutch standards!) and W. will be home soon.

Hope y'all have a great weekend.  Supposed to be a bit warmer this weekend, if not much sun. Get outside before it gets too cold to!

Friday, September 19, 2014

I Continue to Find Myself

A hundred things to do and all I want to do is (feel overwhelmed not being able to pick one and) procrastinate and blog.  I'm feeling quite hungry so I've grabbed leftovers of a salad in the fridge until I can decide what to make for a real lunch.  I have a craving for mac 'n cheese, but I don't think we have the necessary ingredients for me to make it.

I've been quiet for the past month because I've been working out a lot in my head.  Almost a month back I'd had a bad day.  Like, a really bad day.  I'd become so homesick, I'd felt this bottomless black pit of a swirling hole inside me that was no longer filled.  I wanted nothing but to go back.  I felt trapped.  I felt alone.  I fell into a deep depression (uncrontrollable crying, not eating, oversleeping, no talking, etc) for 24hrs.  I'd left my family (read: my friends are my family).  How could I leave my family?  I felt the pangs of separation like I was that 12-year old girl away at (2 week-long) camp for the first time.  The inconsolable pangs of questioning if you did the right thing, how to fix it and how to make the pain go away (read: get home as soon as possible).  Even in my darkest hour I know I've done the right thing, that was no question, but I also knew there was no taking the pain away.  I'd just have to ride it out.  I knew my friends were my family and I knew I relied on them a lot, but it only occurred to me now how much.  I'd been grateful enough to receive care packages from a couple friends when closer to when I first arrived and I'd wanted nothing more at this time, yet I had problems asking for it.  I'd wanted that tangible...something.. that helped me feel connected to a place I'd left behind.  I didn't want to put anyone out and I guess I knew it was a temporary 'feeling' and as soon as it would pass, that 'tangible something' would arrive beyond my difficulties.  Funny thinking, that. As if I could appreciate something like that any less.

I didn't discuss it with any of my Canadian friends, by choice.  It was part of letting go and the growth process.  I know I could have, and I know I would have been loved and consoled.  But this was also an opportunity for my "new" family to prove themselves (for lack of better terms), or to show me what place they will take in my life, just like everyone had a place in my life in Canada.  I'm not trying to say this in a haughty way.  I'm not trying to replace you at all, but in such circumstances, one needs to find ways on creating a new life in an effort to fill the void.  W. talked with me about it a lot.  I was able to voice what I'd discovered about myself, my parents (original and newly adopted), my past.  I got to see some things in a new light.  It was a dark hole, but it was fueled with a higher light and higher purpose.

"Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
~ Terry Pratchett

As predicted, I've come out of it okay.  Even further ahead.  Anytime you learn something about yourself it's a bonus, I say.

This was all happening while I was anxious to make that certain trip I'd talked about in my last post.  In fact, I wanted to make the trip even more at this point because of the above.  It's no secret anymore because it didn't happen.  I was supposed to get my tax money from the CRA, except they didn't finish it in time (and why they hadn't I'll never understand; it's not high tax season, the bastards).  With that money, I was going to go to London, UK.  One of my friends from Canada was travelling over and I wanted dearly to meet up with her.  A real life hug from a Canadian friend.. how joyous that would have been.  I also have an internet friend there and would have met up with her as well.  It wasn't meant to be, unfortunately, so I was a bit sad over that.  (The money still hasn't come through, btw.) :<

There are other things I've learned about myself, but this post is heavy already so it'll have to wait.  On a lighter note, one of our neighbours who just moved in a month or so ago (a younger couple) had the courtesy to stop by and let us know an FYI that they would be having a party Monday night for her birthday and there would be noise, stuff going on outside, etc. She said we were welcomed to stop by... and I think we will :)  We're looking forward to it.

I haven't had a phone for a little while now and ...argh.  I mean, I'm living fine without it, but it sure comes in handy when you're out.  And for messaging.  And instant translating.  It's my old (well, 3yr old) Samsung Galaxy SII.  Problems with the motherboard we think (after much research and troubleshooting).  I took most of the photos off a while ago, thank goodness, but I'm afraid I've lost some contacts now and recent photos.  I don't remember what all I put on my card, so it'll be a surprise when I put it in my new phone.  My dad's sending me his old 4s when he picks up the 6.  It can't come soon enough! :)

It's the weekend!  I have singing tomorrow morning.  I forget the occasion, but we're singing the Litany of the Saints (Latin version).  We're doing a lot of Latin songs tomorrow.  We have a version of O Taste and See (I apologize in advance; turn your sound down, quality isn't great and.. you can turn it off after 20 seonds. Really.  It doesn't get much better) that I don't care for as much as the one we did at COOL.  We have a Marty Haugen song that it true to Marty Haugen form (Soli del Gloria) simple but pleasant :) What other Marty Haugen song have we done?  Was it this one?  We're also doing Veni Creator Spiritus and while I love singing Gregorian Chants, this one was new for me and a bit awkward to learn in the appointed time, but I'll be trying my best.  You have to get the flow and once I get that, it's just a matter of putting words to chant/music.  I can't find the Kyrie Eleison we're doing (Rombach), but it's beautiful and one of my favourite.

Well, I've been sitting for a while, so I'm going to get up and moving.  Gonna head into town to the grocery store for a couple of last-minute things for dinner.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend planned and if you're as fortunate as us - enjoy the weather!  The cold will be upon us before long.

Be well :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Life Continues

I'm going to discuss various things today. Jumping around health, cultural differences and... who knows what else.  Get comfy.  It's a long'un.

Life has been pretty good lately. It's summer, so that means holidays. The north takes their holidays now, and in a week or two, the south take theirs, all for like, 3 weeks or something. I might not be spot-on about that, but it's close. And weird. I explained in Canada while the majority like to take a couple weeks in the summer off, we basically take them when we want. The plus is you know everyone's on holidays and expect that things are a bit slower. The con is... you know everyone's on holidays and expect things to take s-l-o-w-e-r. I digress.

The weather has been pretty fantastic.  It's been hovering anywhere from 23-28.  We've had a couple hot weeks in there, but nothing has beat an Ontario summer.  Really.  When it's hot it's hot, don't get me wrong, but the humidity cannot be matched.  Yet.  I hope not ever.  We had two random downpours in the middle of the night and the last heatwave just broke. Ahhh.

So remember me telling you about going to my doc, explaining that my monthly issues were rather painful and really getting nothing in response?  Well, she had the heart to send me to a gynaecologist. Thank goodness for that.  Went to the specialist (if you're on Facebook you saw my pictures of the hospital cafeteria - O.M.G) and I got answers *on the day*. I'm not kidding. I was in shock.  Never in Canada would I have gotten results that quick and decisive.  I had an exam and she showed me the ultrasound while it happened and explained to me what she saw; what was normal, what wasn't so much. She had an idea what it was when we first started talking, but post-examination she confirmed: PCOS.  I had a diagnosis.  Cure? There isn't one.  Treatment: painkillers.  Naturally, the pill and IUD etc were advised, but I dismissed them as treatment options.  All I care most is about controlling the pain, not as much regulating my cycle (it would be nice, but it's not a priority).  First was shock.  Then there was validation; I wasn't crazy, the pain is real and someone actually HEARD what I was telling them.  Then anger; my body was fighting against itself.  That's not cool and there's not a damn thing I can do to stop it (unbeknownst to me).  I think I've finally come around to acceptance.

I've gone to a couple get-togethers and have met some more people.  Expats, mostly.  I'm still not social a fraction of what I used to be in Canada, which has been something to get used to, but it is what it is.  Oh!  I have met one of my neighbours on a walk, though.  Very nice man with very good English (and he has a cute dog).  I try to be social when I can and I have been trying to come out of my shell more to talk to the locals.  I've been enjoying developing my new friendships.  In fact, I had a party for my one year here (sorry I didn't post that day to celebrate it, but, life y'know? Also.. it was July 4th) and some of my new closest friends came.  Not everyone was able to make it, but we still had a great turnout (for the size of our apartment vs people not being squished) of 10 (and omg presents!).  I made the food stuffs, a basic spread on the table (and I made a strawberry-mint water that I couldn't keep full, it was going over so well, very refreshing!!) and we sat around and talked.  Everyone got to know someone new and they interacted with each other very easily.  I was asked to give a speech and one of the things I said was that meeting such wonderful people helped ease the void of missing my other friends in Canada so much, making it just a *little* bit easier.  It's a compliment to the new people and an ode to the old; you guys gave high standards to live up to and I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I miss you all dearly and you cannot be replaced.  Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Did I mention a possible trip in September?  Perhaps I did, but I still will not disclose my location until it becomes final.  I'm waiting on good 'ol goverment of Canada to finish my taxes and deposit them in time.  C'moooooon CRA.

At the end of my party I noticed someone exchanging business cards.  I thought it was wonderful that people were networking.  This gave me an idea.  As a side tangent, W and I got talking last night about how to be successful in selling your product or service and what some of the keys are of making that a success.  Marketing, we decided was one.  You can even have, say, an average product, but HOW that product is marketed - clean, polished, professional - can make or break you. You know the others in the list: word of mouth, certain professional habits you can acquire as a person, self-confidence (or even a 'fake it till you make it' mentality) etc etc.  But it got me thinking; what if I held a networking party?  A couple people I know are out of work (me included) and the others are able or looking for additional work. I'm starting to very much believe in asking for help and support from those around me; without that I don't think success is (as) possible.  Who's skills can I enlist in my baking-from-home to help me be successful?  But I'm rambling.  What do you think?  Is this a good idea?

COOLers, please pray for me.  My spiritual life has been dry again and I have not had the dicipline to get my arse to church.  *sighs, ashamed*  I have said a couple basic prayers, but nothing of substance. It really sucks being so far away from a church.  An excuse?  Perhaps.  Reality?  Definitely.

 Well, I think I'm going to list cultural differences in another email. This one is long already!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quotes

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within."
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Technologus Interrupt-us (there's a pun in there)

So I'm going to share something a little more personal today. Let me bring you inside our home for (what would have been) our normal routine.

W. gets up for work and has a shower. He asked me last night if I would start his breakfast while he was in the shower, in an effort to save him time. No problem.  So we both got up at the same time, basically. He had his shower and I started his oatmeal.

I sat on the couch with the iPad, checking messages from the last several hours (one thing about living in a country/time zone 6 hrs ahead of everyone else leaves much for one to catch up with in the morning). Checked basics like email and chat messages, then I went on Facebook. He was not yet out of the shower and there was not much to attend to with his breakfast except to let it cook. I spun through the feed of the last several hours, checking the usual updates and 'shares' (Weird Al Yankovic's Word Crimes exploded overnight, I see. You should watch it if you're a grammar nazi.. it's fantastic).

He got out of the shower and got his breakfast and sat next to me on the couch. Now, he likes to play a couple of games in the morning before work. I knew this, but I was just trying to finish reading my feed quickly aaand.. admittedly I got a bit caught up in it. "I'm almost there," (to where I last read) I said to myself. Spin. Spin. Meanwhile, he's letting me know gently that he'd like to use it. I keep going. I'm almost there, as you know. He lets me know more. I keep spinning. Now he gets vocal about it and after a few seconds I finally shut it off and hand it to him, but with a look. He takes it, turns on his game and we continue staring at each other. He knows I'm thinking something, but I'm not sure he can quite place what it was.

Finally he gets pissy and says, "You know what, it's not worth it." We're on the verge of a fight. Shuts off his game, hands it back to me and walks away. I sigh and said (too late), "It's fine! Play your game!" I shut it off, throw it on the couch and go talk to him. He's polite, but curt....

"...Nope, I can see it's very important to you."
"Can you please talk to me?"
"Nope. It's okay." (read: not at all okay)
I sigh. I stand at the door, he walks past me.
I huff and get his lunch ready for work, frustrated at this point and starting to get upset and maybe slam a couple cupboard doors.
I slightly shout, "I'm trying to talk to you instead of getting angry."
Too late.
Quiet pause.
I slap his sandwhich together, hating that he's leaving the house for work before talking because now I'm starting to get upset. I didn't want to fester with this all day in my head.

Now before I continue on with the rest of the morning, let me preface with what was in my head. What I wasn't saying -> If I don't get moving first thing in the morning (and I sit around and catch up on Facebook or games or computer, etc), I get nothing done. That lack-luster energy follows me the rest of the day. I hate it. I've already spent the last two days feeling unproductive, I didn't want today to be like that too, so that's why I was getting my Facebook in early. Also, sometimes I feel ignored while he's "in his game" on the iPad and I.. don't exist. So, perhaps I felt a little spiteful and wanted to see how he would feel if I did that. He wasn't seeing my master plan at the time.

He comes in the kitchen, leans against the counter facing me and says he's ready to talk now.
I breathe a silent sigh of relief.
I can't help it though, and tears well up even more while I'm trying to vocalize my emotions. I explained what was going on in my head (the unconveyed thoughts) and he pulled me in for a hug. "I never meant to make you feel less important than a game," he says. The anger melts away.

We talk a bit more and all is well before he leaves the house.  /end scene

Near when I was leaving Canada, I had a small get-together at my house. At one point there was just a handful of us (3, 4 maybe) sitting around a table outside. On the topic, I'd mentioned that when I came here, I was going to keep cell phones off the table at dinner time. I'd *literally* heard guffaws, "Ha!"'s and even one very dramatic/slightly comical eyebrow raising. Apparently it was common consensus I lived in my phone. To me, rightly so; I was trying to stay connected to a partner 6000+ miles away which given time differences and work schedules, wasn't easy. Still, I meant it. I would like those friends to know *cough* I have held true to my word. We've even gone as far as making low-tech or tech-free Sundays. No word of a lie. We barely turn on a device on Sundays. Quickly maybe, if I want to check the weather for the day if we're going out, but that's it. Connecting with my partner one-on-one is more important than any technology device.

So I'm left thinking after this morning; at what point are we allowed to 'shut off' (in whatever manner) and at what point do we engage with our partner?  We all need that time to zone out, to get lost in something that is nothing. Unfortunately, I have opportunity to get mine the 10 hours he's gone for the day, and he only has his in the morning or evening. Who am I to interfere?

Well, that's something we're going to have to discuss further I guess. The convencience of an iPad (or insert small personal tech device of choice here) is super nice, but at a price. We've been hearing the adage for a while now; technology in it's connectedness, contributes to us feeling less connected. How do we find that happy medium? Is it possible to make everyone happy?

So.. I shall continue with my day and try to be more productive than I have been, sitting with this in the back of my head. I'll bring it up tonight and see if we can't talk it out more.

How much do you let technology in your house?
Do you know when to shut off and when to engage? Have you talked about it? When is it important for either of you to have your zone-out time? If one zones out with a device for a set time period, what is the other one doing? Is it something productive? Taking care of kids? Their zone-out time/alone time, too? I think a lot of these things are in our head and we make unspoken rules as we go along, but ask yourself when the last time was you talked about it.

Well, there is ironing to do (who irons anymore? Me doing tablecloths, apparently) and walks to go on and errands to run. The weather is fantastic today; sunny with little or no breeze. The heat and humidity is gone.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Medical...Non Interference

Today's post is coming with a bit of a vent. Warning: there might be language. I'm pissed.  Also.. this has to do with female issues, so if you're squeamish (not that there will be much detail), move along.

I'm calling it a matter that I'm passionate about because... it's about me and my body.  Go figure I would have strong opinions about this. How could I, when the western (Western? Does Western have a capitol at this point?) medical profession usually scuttles me through the system (I think I should type it as, The System. It almost has a body of it's own, doesn't it...) as if I have no voice?  Maybe I should duct tape an 'x' over my mouth. That's right; I don't have a voice because you're (the doctor) not fucking listening anyways.

I went to the doc this morning to do a checkup on my Vitamin D levels. Three months ago we found they were exceptionally low and have since been taking supplements (and getting lots of sun, of course).  I thought we would do new blood tests to check my current levels, but as soon as I told her I was feeling much better for having done so, it didn't seem to cause her concern. So.. do I keep taking the supplements or don't I? I'm confused about this and received no feedback.

Next, I'd given her a list of symptoms I've been having the past 5 months about my cycle, that in some ways have been getting increasingly worse (including pain). I was given a (very) brief exam (literally, 2 seconds) and I was told the following....

1) "Every woman experiences pain during her cycle"
      a) What I heard -> I'm going to dismiss your pain because it sounds normal, regardless of the fact you told me you're doubled over in pain and it feels like / this... / (description held back from the squeamish)
2) Go on the pill. It's the first thing we prescribe.
      b) What I heard -> We have learned to medicate everything, so I'm going to do that in this case, too, without asking further questions. 
3) ..silence..
      c) What I heard -> When you ask me what's causing this pain, I've learned to shake my head and keep in silence because I wouldn't be considered a strong medical professional or person if I told you: I'm sorry, but I really don't know.. because that's our culture and how I've been trained. 

Let me be clear; the symtpoms I gave her are *not* normal. I'm getting so sick and tired of how the Western medical system pushes you through not caring about what's causing your dis-ease, and medicating to cover it up so it's not an issue anymore. That cyst or tumor you have? Oh, we'll get around to it. *said issue explodes*  I'm sorry, you're dead now because we've become complacent.

Now medical professionals, don't go hatin'.  I've worked in health care long enough to know how the system works and I'm *not* discounting the fact that doctors are very intelligent and that some *do* care. We see them for a reason, right?  I'm allowed (right now) to bitch as a patient.  This is the only body I have, and I have to honour it by keeping it as healthy as I can. I don't feel like the current health care System is fucking listening to me; the very same System that was built to care for me when I feel frail, weak, sick, ill, unwell in any way, or at worse, terminal. So how is it servicing me right now? This is the one System that many people lean on for support and care. When you get 10 minutes with a doctor, how are you supposed to connect? How are they supposed to understand what's going on?*

Now, having said all of that, I do see a Japanese acupuncturist. It's the first time ever (I've been seeing him almost a year now) that I've been seeing someone for alternative care (besides chiropractor). I can't say enough about it. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine - and yes, I'm quoting 2 different Eastern medicines, but they do treat along the same values) treats the whole person, not just the dis-ease or symptoms. My acupuncturist has gotten to know me, my disposition, personality and my habits (eating, etc).  He knows when A is off, it's causing a ripple effect for B to be off or out of balance. So you're thinking, why am I bitching about my doctor to begin with when I can just see my acupuncturist? Because (while not necessary) he can treat me better when there's official diagnosis.

After some pushing with my doctor, she's referring me to a gynaecologist to do an ultrasound. That makes me somewhat happy. I can't say I'll stop pushing for answers after that (if it shows nothing), but it's a start.

I'm just so fucking tired of not being listened to about my symptoms. Don't dismiss what I'm telling you as normal when you know damn well it's not!  I just don't get it.. and it upsets me greatly.  It makes me very sad.

Anyways, that's my rant for today. I'm curious if you've had similar experiences, or if there are medical professionals, what your opinion or take on this is.


*Disclaimer; I do like my current doctor for the most part and she's nice enough to get to know me a bit and ask questions at the beginning of an app't. I will say that for her. She has also been right about things in the past. Still, her approach to healthcare is representative of the culture they were raised. She's a bit older and I'm not sure if newer younger doctors come with a different approach.



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Need Some Positive!

Okay guys... I'm usually the one to list the "things I'm grateful for" (I do so mostly out of earshot of the blog), but I haven't done it in a while. As I intend to get back into it, I need some inspiration. I would like you to share with me what *you're* grateful for! I would love to hear them! Let's spread some gratitude, people!

List (minimum) 3 things :)

Quote

I normally don't honour dead people in my posts (dead celebrities, for that fact) but I can't not post this quote. Hearing the passing of Maya Angelou the other day was a sad one; I didn't know she was unwell, and her mental attitude towards life is one to be inspired after. I remembered I had a quote of hers that I've hung onto.  I've hesitated posting it all these years because.. because.. I don't really have an answer. It's hit me personally and has been an extremely challenging and every time I go to post it, I can't because I'm just not that strong (as the quote implies).

"Just because I am in pain, doesn't mean I have to be one."
 ~ Maya Angelou

I have not become this person. I try, honestly I do, but this is a level of humanity that I have not (and wonder will not) achieve.  But like I said, she's inspiring, and I do try.. so maybe someday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Unemployment Woes

There have been a million things going on and a million more on my mind, so I haven't the time to write as much as I'd like to. I'm going to write about more pressing thoughts today, though.  I'm waiting for the rain to pass before I go out (though it seems never-ending lately), so it affords me the time.

I was just looking online for work and I came to a roadblock. Well, what I call a roadblock (so it probably means it's not, really. Read: self-imposed).  I was going to forward my resume to this company for a series of jobs they have in hospitality or kitchen help, etc. They asked usual information.. name, address, phone, CV, motivation (what we'd call a cover letter), etc. Then they also want a photo and your date of birth.  Right, cause we all remember how well giving my age went last time. And photo?  Really?  Well, you can see their prorities. Not that I'm saying I feel I necessarily have anything to worry about, but I'm having a rough go as it is, so I don't need reason #563 of why someone won't hire me.

I've been applying for multiple jobs, anything English that I might be remotely qualified for. So far.. nadda.  My dilemma is this: I don't want to apply for jobs that I'm over-qualified for, just in effort to get a job. I don't see why I should have to devalue myself, just to get money. And honestly, I've been doing that the last 20-some years I've been working, so I'm kind of tired of it. But you know the caveat with that... higher standards means less of a chance for a job. Which means we go longer without money. So.. what's a girl to do?  Do I give them my photo and chance it? Do I take that cleaning job that I *really* don't want? Do I start at the bottom of an organization again?

I'm 38. Starting at the bottom, to me, is not an option... but #firstworldproblems (this is a jab at me) .. many immigrants all over the world take jobs they "don't want" and are very "over-qualified for", just to get an income (I once worked with a man in Toronto who was an engineer in India. A bloody brilliant one, too, but because of country-to-country qualifications, he'd have to take certain tests or something in Canada and they costed a LOT of money, so he wasn't able, so retail it was).  So what am I whining about?  Suck it up, princess.

Thing is, I'm not ready to yet. I'm not ready to accept less than I think I'm worth. That's quite a perception though, isn't it, and a hella risky one. Yet I continue to have faith something will come up when it's meant to but... how long will that last me? I have and feel an obligation to provide in this household, so when I'm not it feels like stress (almost more than everything I've just written).

To top it off, there have been external events the past few days that have caused even more stress and things are a little tense around here. Well, they're improving, but slowly and hesitantly. We're both very, very overwhemed, so I apologize if this feels like a 'heavy' or 'down' sort of post.  Just trying to burrow through and make sense of anything else in the meantime. I'm making an active effort not to sink into a depression.

I'd like your feedback; how do you think I should approach jobs? I do not wish for you to comment on my mental state; it is something I won't apologize for and is a by-product of other situations, but any other thoughts are more than welcomed. Do I place value not in myself, but in the job itself.. it is what you make it after all. Or do I uphold my sense of self and sense of value and apply only for these kinds of jobs?

The stupid thing is, I would have had a job months ago if I had computer or engineering qualifications. They need those people like crazy. Quick.. engineering through osmosis. Aaaaand... go!

Be well. We're half way through the week!



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