I like the NHS

Trip Start Oct 31, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed

Flag of Indonesia  , North Sumatra,
Sunday, July 1, 2012

Well it's been a while since I wrote and about time I got back on here and caught you all up with life in Medan so far!

We're into our 9th month here now...can that be right? I've beentelling everyone I've been here 6 months for the past 3! It's a weird thing when you live in a new country, the time seems to go by in stages. The first few months are always a bit of a blur, exciting and new, lots to explore and lots to learn, you look at everything with optimism. The next 3 months, I find, are always the killer; things that were new and quirky at first start to become just plain weird and frustrating. It starts to sink in that you're actually living in this crazy place, not just on holiday and the culture starts to grate on you (not even because there is something wrong with the culture in itself...just that it's different from your own). Then gradually you start to adapt, you make friends, find the best places to go shopping, learn a bit of the language, get used to work
and things get easier. Of course there are always relapses and the point you finally reach where you think 'OK that's enough, I'm done with this place...what's next?', and there are always countries where those stages seem to go by faster or slower, but as far as living
overseas goes this has been my pattern anyway. I think I'm about right on the 9 month mark,
after having been through the 'What am I doing here?!' phase I'm starting to figure things out and go with it. I think Roger is hitting that 6 month wall...which I guess makes sense considering he
started here in Medan in February.

I got sick recently with a throat infection and a huge swollen face on oneside. When you get sick somewhere far away from home, especially somewhere like Sumatra you realise just how lucky you were back home with free medical care and doctors who are pretty clued up on what
they're doing. I know that when I lived in England I really took for granted the fact that you can get an ambulance within minutes, that the police are there to help you and not rip you off. If you drop down in the street from a heart attack people will probably help you, not take your shoes, and if your house catches fire someone will come to the rescue. Not to say that there aren't some police here that will help you, or some doctors who have studied medicine and know what they are talking about or that there isn't a fire service. It's just that back home we expect them to be there, we really take them for granted. When Roger and I first arrived here we asked an English speaking taxi driver what the emergency number was and he pretty much just laughed at us.  It makes sense to me (a little more) now why people here often take the law into their own hands, the police are so corrupt.  There are parts of Sumatra without medical care at all, which makes me think of how many times I've been to the doctors for things that most people here would just have to live with. Then there is the fact that you have to pay, I know it's the same in the US, and many other countries, and I know that in England we do end up paying (for most people more than they would ever spend on medical care) through our taxes and National Insurance, but isn't it nice to know that even if you have no money, you will still get medicine? I realise I'm talking about all this at a very simple level and that there are plenty of politics and arguments on the topic, but those are my thoughts for the day anyway, catch up with you all later... trip to Lake Toba next! 


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