“The NHS lets people die” and other insane misunderstandings

yankeebean

I’m sure I’m not the only one who had heard the INSANE rumors flying around about the NHS…

As I write this post, I’m sitting in a waiting room waiting for my free every-three-years lady-screening. Not exactly my favorite past time, but at least I don’t have to pay for the stirrups.

As I’m waiting here, I was reminded how annoying (and sometimes impossible) it was to pay fort this kind of preventative medical stuff in the States.

After almost 7 years of living in the uk, I’m still nowhere near taking the NHS for granted. I freaking love the NHS…

But my main reason for this post is not to spark debate on if the NHS is pants or awesomeness.  It’s to you ask all you lovlies what kind of ridiculous questions you’ve been asked about socialized medicine.

Last week I got an email from a dear dear cousin of mine. It was short and to the point…

I wondered I’d you could tell me a little bit about your experiences with the UK health care system. Do they really let people die waiting in line to get treatment? Do they really practice euthanasia on old people? I’d really appreciate your views since you live there.

I was (needless to say) GOB-SMACKED to get an email like that – and I replied with my honest experience of the NHS and what I know to be true.

Has anyone else had any back-home-ers ask whoopty stuff like this??

————-

Curious to know more? Why PeacefulYorkshire revels in free contraception on the NHS–Click here for another experience as an American lady in Britain.

The English and the (real) Female Body: A love affair

yankeebean

When I first came to England I was 16 years old and I was a US size 18 (UK 16).  I moved from an affluent area where a US size 8 (UK 10) was considered fat and all the popular kids looked like Abercrombie and Fitch models.  (Seriously – I once heard a group of girls gossiping scandalously about a ‘friend’ of theirs that was a size 8.  There was much gasping and OMG-ing going on…).

UK 18 and UK 20 are the same size – but they felt a world apart.  My size went from being taboo to being faboo in the time it took me to fly across the ocean.  It was AWESOME… and bloody good timing as a 16 year old :)

It’s the norm in the UK to show bodies of all shapes and sizes in the media.  Literally, ALL shapes and sizes.  The UK has a love affair with the real female body and I LOVE IT.

I’m not going to talk about health – I know there are health factors blah blah blah, but I’m not a health guru and that’s not what this is about.  But having been heavier in my life, I know for a fact that making people feel badly about themselves is NOT how you get them to start living a healthier lifestyle.

There’s a wonderful glorification of ‘flaunt what you’ve got’ here.  Find your best features and spotlight those puppies.  Got boobs?  Lift and separate :) .  Got legs?  Walk the walk.  Got arms?  Work those guns.

Don’t worry so much about what you don’t have – focus on what you DO have and work work work it.  Then revel in the confidence of your best bits.

For evidence, watch an episode of the UK’s ‘How to Look Good Naked‘ – this show always leaves me laughing out loud and beaming with joy.  It’s guaranteed to make you feel like a powerful gorgeous saucy-licious woman.  I’m always tempted to strip down to the nip and run around after I watch it, much to Mr. Nice Guy’s delight… :D

When random British people (that you’ve only just met) tell you what is wrong with America

yahooavatar15Imagine meeting a British person for the first time. Imagine introducing yourself, answering all the questions that you get asked as a foreigner– like having to tell your “America to England” story for the zillionth time. Now, imagine randomly saying to this British person that you have only just met that people in Britain have  bad teeth. Real, real, bad teeth.That you have never been to a country where people have such bad teeth. That you saw this one 15 year old kid on the train and you COULDN”T believe he had such BAD TEETH. Now I am sure you are horrified about doing that, right? No, that would be so rude!  Plus could you imagine the wrath? It is hard enough making female friends in Britain!

Well, for whatever reason, some British people love to point out America’s flaws to me during our first meeting. Like today–a 6o-ish woman from Harrogate decided to tell me that she had NEVER SEEN so much obesity in her life as when she went to America. That she was on this train where she saw this 15 year old kid and he was SO FAT! That she couldn’t believe how many obese people were in America. That she couldn’t imagine how unhealthy THOSE FAT PEOPLE OVER IN AMERICA are.

Running through my head as Mrs. Harrogate ranted at me: Hello? have you seen all the white muffin tops pouring out of jeans in Leeds City Centre  lately, honey? There are fat people here too, and it seems its getting worse according to obesity reports!”

I wish I were brave enough to say that!  But instead, while smiling politely I said “It is just a different lifestyle there, isn’t it? You must excuse me while I go get some milk for my tea…”

Now then, lovely readers! Why would someone decide to tell me this to me, an American? Am I responsible for America’s obesity? Do I even LIVE IN AMERICA anymore? How would I be an expert about America’s weight issues? (I have enough of my own!). Sometimes I think that I have to defend America all the time, and I am so tired of it. Please tell me that you have to take the ‘blame bullet’ too?

————————————-

P.S.  I don’t really think that all British people have bad teeth. That was used for example purposes only, and is used to represent a silly stereotype that people have of other countries.

P.S.S. I forgot to say that the afore mentioned lady from Harrogate had only visited Florida. And that was it!

P.S.S.S. On a ‘let’s blame America!’ related topic: Why are dinner parties with your British friends so much nicer now that Obama is in the White house? Click here

American Advertising: my British man and I love to laugh at ridiculous fitness ads

pacific bird This one is for those of you who have been away from the US for some time and haven’t seen American television for a while.  Mr. Charismatic and I saw this ad when we first arrived in America and we still laugh for ages every time it comes on.   Hope it makes you laugh too…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OH1DGd5T7c

PS. We watch a lot less tv now and we are REALLY missing British tv.  Who knew?

Tanning in America now costs $49 a go, say what?

avt_kapyork_large115Hello lovely readers!  Not to be a total bridezilla but I did get married to my fabulous English bloke a month ago and I’ve been saving up stories to share with you. 

A little bit of background:

1) Mr. Charismatic and I moved back to my home city in America about a month before our wedding.

2) I wear SPF 15 or better every day and was so sad when all the Friends stars started appearing super tan circa 1997 because I knew a crazy perma-tan culture was about to take hold and I would be thrust into a vanity vs. sensability battle over my skin. 

3) My tanning experience is limited to about 4 sessions right before my junior prom in 1998, maybe 2 sessions in college, and two weeks of regular tanning during my second year in Yorkshire which I justified with the typical British tanning excuse: I’m going on holiday and I don’t want to burn on the first day. 

So, Mr. Charismatic and I planned to do about 3-4 tanning sessions each before our wedding just to have a light tan color and I promised myself that this would be my last ever time in a tanning bed.  Well, let me tell you – I will keep that promise to myself for sure because in the 4 years I was in Britain, the cost of tanning in America spiraled into total insanity!

Did you know that there are crazy new systems of tanning that somehow use high pressure bulbs to increase the ratio of UVA to UVB rays?  This is how the ridiculous sales person explained it to us: “When it comes to tanning, what is more important to you – safety or cost?  Safety you say?  Then all you need to know is that the B in UVB stands for Bad.  So, the higher the concentration of UVA’s the better the tan and I promise you won’t burn at all.  It starts at $49 per session.”

So what did we do?  Ignored our instincts to run away and went for the cheaper option (which was still like $13 a session) AND completely got burnt even though we only tanned for 8 minutes.  Do you remember when tanning was about $5 and all you had to do was go use the one normal bed at the local gym?  Apparently, this is not how it works anymore. 

Me and tanning?  No longer friends – and my skin thanks me for that.

This American in Britain Revels in Free NHS Contraception

yahooavatar15American women are always talking about it when I go back home, that is the frustrations of their pricey insurance policies. “Why won’t my  insurance company pay for my birth control?” I’ve heard many American women ask. “Surely it is much cheaper then me getting pregnant and then covering my hospital bills!?” The thing is, when I used to live in America, I’ve always had that thought too about the American insurance system and contraception…

But here in Britain people still complain about health care too.The NHS gets a lot of slack from the British public– I am sure you’ve heard stories about people not getting the cancer treatment they need, the surgery lists of 678 people in queue for transplants. One British neurosurgeon once told me : “There are more neurologists in Manhattan ALONE then there are in ALL of Britain, and you want me to give you an MRI because you have a family history of tumors?” Need less to say I waited 9 months, and no MRI. It was not an option. Period. If you have a major issue the NHS might not be the best, which is why a lot of people “go private”.

BUT how about it you just need some little things, like say, your monthly birth control pills? How about if you need the morning after pill because let’s face it, mistakes happen?  That is where the NHS. has it right, because they are readily available from a doctor’s office, free,  and it makes total sense! Hand out birth control to women and they might have to shell out less in the future–

So, every time I walk away from my GP’s office with the standard 3 months supply of contraception, I feel liberated, and taken care of by my high tax contributions. And that is one of the reasons I like living in Britian. NO not because of the high tax contributions, silly, its the free pills!