I have never been someone who likes going to the Doctor. I know that no one really “likes” it, but I would rather suffer and self medicate than visit the good Doctor. It upsets me really. I think I wrote about it previously, but even with insurance it costs a lot to get very little. I already know that I am sick. Why do I need some dude to tell me that? And a check up? Well…I’m fine. Thanks.
Why am I sharing this with you now? Well, today marked my first experience with a Czech Doctor. I’m not sick or anything, but I have to get a note from a Czech Doctor saying that I am healthy enough to work in the Czech Republic. This is one of the many hoops I must leap through in order to acquire my Visa. Why do I want a Visa? I don’t. But I am being forced to get one through my new job at TEFL. They have some weird hang up about having me here and working legally. Geesh. Some people.
Although the joys of becoming legal in this great country seem mountainous, it is not all fun and games. There are many steps that one must take. The first stop is the beautiful Criminal Records Office.And by beautiful I mean – plain and communist looking. It is not complicated; in fact it is probably one of the most painless bureaucratic hurdles I will have to hop over. Luckily I was hung over when I had my first visit to an international police building. Some people might have been nervous, but not me. I was to tired and hung to be nervous. Oh, and I had forgotten my passport so I had to return home and go back again. I really didn’t know what I was doing there, or what was supposed to happen. I just waited there for an hour in this little vestibule type thing – affectionately known by some as the aquarium due to its small rectangular shape and long glass windows crammed full with people – until they called my number. Then some lady stamped a piece of paper and that was it. I guess if you have not committed a major crime in the Czech Republic and do not owe huge amounts of money to the Czech government, you are good.
Next I had to go to a Notary in order to give Lucia (a Czech TEFL employee) the right to handle my stuff and file papers in my name. Okay…if you say so. So, again…I went to find the Notary. This was located closer to my home, but again, Alicia forgot her passport and had to run home and gt it. This lady didn’t speak English so I did the usual smile and nod thing as she stamped my papers and I signed some stuff.
So back to today. I had to get “checked” by a Czech Doctor. I guess they have to make sure they are not wasting time legalizing me if I am gonna die in the next month or so. I arrived at yet another commie looking building and climbed a couple flights of stairs before finding his office. Now, if I remember correctly, in America, even if you use an HMO, you are greeted by a receptionist in the office and you fill out a lot of forms. Not so in the CZ. First, if you have an insurance card everything here is paid by the government. EVERYTHING. Second, there is no receptionist. I walked into a room and sat in a chair and waited for the doctor to open the door.
When it was my turn, he escorted me into his office and I told him I was healthy. He said ok, and told me to lay down on the table. Now, again, if I remember correctly, in the U.S., doctors talk you through what they are doing. Like , “okay, now I am going to do an EKG…I’ll need you to roll up your sleeves and pullup your shirt….” You know, to make you feel safe. Well, not in the CZ. I laid down and he pulled up my shirt, my sleeves and pant legs. Then he proceeded to spray what looked like Windex on my belly, wrists and ankles. Okay…I thought, maybe that’s just how they do shit here…Then he attached a bunch of clamps and suction-y things to me. And just like that he was done.
He asked me a couple more questions, and told me that he lived in East L.A. when he studied at U.S.C. Small world Huh?
I had to giggle because I know that eight months ago, going through all of this unfamiliar stuff would have sent me reeling. I probably would have invented an excuse not to do it and just not taken the job because I was to scared to deal with all the passport stuff. Moving here has all but removed my fear of the unfamiliar. Heck…everyday is unfamiliar now. But you know what? I have never been happier. Strange that when you give up and let go, something else takes hold and all you have to do is enjoy the ride.
(Oh, and this is a picture of me and my friend Wes at the beer garden…or BG to us locals. I thought it would be better than including some random picture of a doctor. I spend A LOT of time at the BG.)