Fish out of water
Back home, I ran the house. I called the shots. I knew exactly what things were and where I could find them. I knew what questions to ask and I knew how to navigate myself through businesses and offices. I was in full control…until I came to Australia. Now I depend on my laid-back, head in the clouds husband to steer me in the right direction.
We’ve been here for about a week now and I feel so out of place. I have no idea how things work around here and I have no idea how to find what I’m looking for. I’m currently in search of a pediatrician for my little one. Sounds easy enough, right? Ask around for opinions and/or look in the yellow pages and/or have your insurance company recommend one – that’s what I would do back home. Except a pediatrician is a specialist here that requires a referral here. You would only take your child to a pediatrician if there was something medically in question. For regular visits, you would take your little one to the same doctor you see – general family practitioner. The same goes for gynecologists! So I will see the same doctor always for when my little guy has coughing fits to when I have a bad case of the runs to when and if I have a feminine issue. That’s very different for me. While there are offices back home that practice the same thing, they’re very rare – especially in big cities – but that’s how it is here whether in a city or not. Another strange thing is everyone here has pretty much the same insurance and you can’t really call them up and ask about what doctor is on your plan. And the yellow pages are just as confusing because almost every office is called “_____ Medical Centre” whether they’re general family practitioners, specialists, or hospitals so I would have to call every single one to figure out which is which. So it’ll take a while before I find suitable doctors for us.
Also, when we opened up our joint savings account at a bank here, I realized that I’m so out of my element. MJ already had an account that he had since he was a teenager but he wanted to make that into a joint account. Easy enough. We go into the nearest branch and MJ tells them he wants his wife on his account now. No worries, she said (common phrase used here in place of ‘no problem’). Fifteen minutes later, after all the paperwork was signed and we were ready to go out the door, MJ says to the woman “so now my wife can have payments deposited into the account and such”. The bank rep says “no”. Now I’m confused. Then what did we do just now?? Apparently the banking terminology is different as well.
The health care and financial system here aren’t the only things that befuddles me in Australia. The supermarket, the education system, phone system, the metric system, the spelling, internet, the driving, some aspects of the language, the cooking, and so forth. I know eventually I’ll get the hang of it but in the meantime, if you see a tanned brunette with a bewildered look on her face, be nice and help me. I can use all the help I can get.
Fish out of water