Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Diane’s Acounts of Living in Scotland

Diane has also been writing accounts of our transition process, which I include here with her permission.
E-mail written 5 September 2006:

At long last I have found a few minutes with a computer to let you all know that we have arrived safely in Scotland and are getting settled into our terrace house in Anniesland (a section of Glasgow). Robert has started working at the University of Strathclyde and we are working hard to understand the local dialect. Glasgow is a very friendly city, especially if you are lost, but is a bit of a pain to get yourself established. We finally have a bank account---but cannot access our funds for another week or two. We have a phone but cannot get broadband set up for another week or so.We are trying to learn a bit about the public transportation systems since we have not even thought about trying to buy a car.

It has been drizzling on and off most during most of the past week but we have found a bit of time to visit with new friends. The weekend we took some time to visit the Kelvingrove Museum--newly reopened and what an adventure that was. It was full of people and kids and the Toledo Art Museum docents would have been crazy with all the running children and with everyone touching the paintings and sculptures. It is truly a people's museum. And all the museums are free. Sunday David Mearns (a journal co-editor for a journal Robert also edits) and his partner Elke took us out for a walk in the Highlands. They nearly killed me with their easy walk and I am still feeling it in my legs. I guess we just don't walk enough in Toledo.

We are having to do everything on foot right now and the groceries are a bit of a nuisance hauling them home. Both of us are quite tired at night and stressed by trying to set up banking things, get oriented to the new surroundings, wash clothes without a dryer when it rains all the time, figure out the heating system in the house, pay the bills in Toledo, find a storage facility for our furniture, and so on. I didn't realize that we will need to have a license to operate a television (costing about $250 per year) and gas for the cars runs about $5 per gallon (95 pence a litre).

Robert is already planning a trip to London in early Oct. and we will be coming to Toledo/Cleveland/Burr Oak for a week to finish cleaning our house (or continue), visit with our kids and attend a conference of the Society for Psychotherapy Research. I have not even tried to start looking at getting work or thinking about getting my nursing credentials here.

I hope you are all well and a bit less stressed than we are at present. When we get proper internet access, I will try to be better about email.

Love to you all from bonny Scotland,

Diane Elliott
E-mail written 8 September 2006:

Dear Family,

It was wonderful to hear from you. I am taking an email day to get caught up with friends. Hopefully, our internet connection at home will get up and running around the 18th. It's pretty hard waiting on these things.

I have managed to make it all the way to the university through a myriad of footpaths and with twists and turns everywhere and have arrived successfully at Robert's office to use the internet. We had another day of setting things up and sorting things out. I visited the bank to set up standing orders for local bill payments (with money that hasn't cleared yet), applied for a Mastercard that works in the UK and is paid in pounds sterling (£ --nice key to have on the computer here)), stopped at the grocery store for a few supplies, visited the newsagent and paid for a week and a half of the newspaper to be delivered, and registered for the national health system (NHS) at the local "surgery" (doctor's office).

Right after I registered for the NHS I turned in my papers and they set up and appointment for me to see "one of the Sisters" in the practice comparable to a nurse practioner, I think, and I was told to return to the surgery at 12:30 the same day with a urine specimen so she could review my history. She was rather curt throughout the interview but softened a bit toward the end, explaining the use of the health system. The shock to me was that she handled the urine with bare hands, read the dipstick and then put her fingertips under some running water and dried them and carried on with the interview. I asked if they used gloves and she said they only used them with patients with known communicable diseases! The NHS is known for its long delays in providing services so I was surprised at the speed of an appointment and they scheduled me to see the doctor on Tuesday. They also do home visits for those who are unable to get to the surgery. The local surgery had a team of 5 doctors, 2 nurses, 5 receptionists, 1 secretary (all part time) and a mental health worker, a home care nurse and several other specialists who rotate through several surgeries. There are no crisis centers and anyone in crisis must go to their local surgery and ask for a referral -- either hospitalization or they can go on a several month long waiting list.

Robert has been in conversation with other staff at the University of Strathclyde about finding clients for research in the mental health field and the staff have been finding that this has been used as a crisis clinic for lack of alternate care. Guess this is enough about health care for now.

On a more mundane note, Robert is meeting today with some administrators in the city centre and announced this morning that he needed a clean shirt, so I threw in a load of wash and ironed a shirt dry for him to wear. Guess you have to understand what a feat this was--- the washer takes an hour to wash on the fastest cycle--the others take up to 2 or 2 1/2 hours just to wash! We have no dryer in the house. So I was impressed with my work.

I really enjoyed hearing from you all--David, Koenraad, and Gloria and hope that the length of my letters will not put you off answering. I think this is a way for me to begin to digest all the new things.

Love and hugs to you all,


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