16 July 2016

Learning a new home

Well, I am closing in on a half a year of living in England. I still feel like a child learning things for the first time. Everything is in full bloom. The trees are alive and well, at least the ones that are on the highways. For some strange reason, trees in many towns are chopped. They reach a certain height, maybe 20 feet and then the branches are cut off. When it first happens it looks like a whole street had some kind of explosion or fire. Just trunks remain. Eventually, little suckers will sprout out of the sides of the bare tree and it will slowly come back to life, yet the tree will no longer reach for the sky. I find it kind of sad, not only are the trees stripped, but homes lose the shade they provided. Trees that were once homes to many types of birds now sit empty.

Speaking of shade, I have now experienced what it is like to live in similar conditions to the land of the midnight sun. England doesn’t have 24 hour a day sun but it has more than I have ever witnessed. It started about the middle of May and will last until the summer equinox on the 20th of June. By 3:30 in the morning, it is starting to get light out. By 4:30, the sun is up and nature is wide awake. On work days, I usually get up about 5:45. Now, I struggle to stay asleep past 5 AM. And at nights? On work nights, I try to hit the sack by 9 PM – well the sun is up past 10 PM. My body don’t know if it is coming or going. My wife came up with a great idea. She mentioned it about a month ago, before all this happened, so I never really thought about it, but now that it is going on, I gave her idea some more thought.

It is to have a second layer of curtains on our bedroom window. Well, not actually a curtain, but something to help make the room darker. So, along with our thick dark brown curtains, we made a temporary curtain out of a heavy blanket. Now, in the morning our room is pitch black. So much so, that last night I stubbed my toe! So, now I’m asking myself what is the less of two evils – waking up at 4 in the morning and not getting back to sleep, or stumbling around in the dark, trying not to bang into things? I think I’ll try and master my stumbling routine!

And one final thought – speaking about work. Last week, I was working with a young man, he was in his late 20s – early 30s. We were having odd conversations while we worked and when we went to break, I went to get a drink and something to snack on, while he went the other way to have a cigarette. Well, after my final break, I went back to work and saw a crowd of people and just outside an ambulance.

This young lad was laid out on the ground. I found out later he had a seizure. Anyway, he ended up going to the hospital and we all found out later he was fine. He came back to work to let everyone know he was OK. The thing that I thought about though was the cost. As an American, whenever we went to see a doctor or go to the hospital, we worried about the cost.

This guy, would have had extra costs with the ambulance and an emergency room visit. Yet, in England? He won’t see a bill, nor will he ever be charged for the services he received that day. It is an amazing system, one which I wish America would adopt. Yes, it has its problems, yet no one has ever gone bankrupt in England over healthcare costs…

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