I had Dexter when we lived in the U.S., while enjoying the top notch benefits provided by video game companies. (Seriously. They’re great. Billing people would gape at me all the time, in disbelief over what was covered.)
From second trimester on, my pregnancy with Cricket is under the care of the U.K.’s National Health Service, aka NHS England. Matt still works for a video game company and therefore receives private health insurance, but after some research, we discovered that NHS care would be comparable and in some (boring) ways, better for us and our situation.
For the uninitiated, the U.S. has no national health service. All of my care was provided in private practice, via employer-provided insurance, paid for by us in the form of a paycheck deduction. The NHS in the UK is most similar to a single-payer plan, but does not truly fall under that definition because in addition to being paid for via our taxes, there are trusts involved and as mentioned, private insurance is in the mix.
A couple of weekends ago, we decided to take a mini road trip while we still had the rental car. We miss Florida already and the weather has been unbelievably gorgeous here, so Brighton Beach, a mere hour and a half away, seemed to be a natural choice.
First volume, because I just feel like this is going to be an ongoing thing. These are not particularly revelatory or earth-shattering. Just small differences I’ve noticed as we make our way around.
-In addition to yellow lights between green and red, there are also yellow lights between red and green. So you’re warned before you may go, and everyone just guns it during the pre-green yellow lights.
-British people really hate refrigerators. We saw all manner of crimes against the friendly little chillboxes while flat-hunting: tiny refrigerators, refrigerators crammed beneath countertops and refrigerators in living rooms for no discernible reason. The worst, however, was the house that had an apparently normal kitchen except there was a tiny, cave-like closet off to the side where the poor refrigerator was forced to live. We couldn’t help but wonder what the fridge had done, to be forced to live its days in a bizarre, dreary kitchen dungeon.
-When I was pregnant with Dexter, I read a lot of women complaining about unsolicited touches to their bellies but never experienced it myself. Friends who wanted to feel asked and everyone else kept their distance. I think this used to be a thing, but thanks to the internet and social media, most people have gotten the message that it’s not really appropriate. I also think, in America, most people have absorbed the same message about touching babies – ask first or hands off. British people haven’t gotten that memo. It’s just head pats and shoulder squeezes, and it doesn’t bother me. Just an observation.
-The ambulances are Mercedes.
-You can buy adorable little “to go” lattes in grocery and convenience stores.
-Drivers are super-respectful of pedestrians. I think this is a natural result when communities are walk-friendly and have good public transportation.