Monday, March 29, 2010

Sum-ups, Updates, & Hunting the Mutuelle

I occurs to me this morning that I have little time, and some loose ends hanging about in this blog.  So, I'll use today to update a few things and wrap-up a few others.

Firstly, an update: Today I have little time because I will be trying to pick a mutuelle (health-insurance administrator/provider,) and will be researching the Belgian healthcare system in order to try and make an intelligent decision in the matter.  Up to this point, I've been covered by the all-risk insurance I had to take before coming here on the working-holiday visa, however that insurance will expire soon, and since the plan for us is to stick around here for at least a few years as legal cohabitants, (and since I've been working and paying into the Belgian system for more than 6 months now,) it only makes sense to do as they do here in Belgoland, to get my social contributions working for me, and get a mutuelle.  Wish me luck?  Happy hunting?  Of course, advice and warnings will be accepted gratefully too.

Ah yes.  The streptococcal throat-plague.  We are on the second-last day of meds, and feeling almost normal.  Crazy how it really does take the full 10 days to kick this nasty bacteria's ass.  I suppose I shouldn't be surprised though, strep is no joke, really.  I'm just glad it didn't turn into rheumatic fever and attack my heart valves, or mutate into the flesh-eating disease and rot my hand off or something.  That totally would have made for a *much* suckier vacation.  Boyfriend did indeed make a mistake in thinking his credit-card travel insurance covered this sort of thing, and so he is stuck with his hospital bill.  Expensive lesson for him, the one who now vows he will always take travel insurance.  (I find it shocking that he never did before.)  Anyways, we're definitively on the mend, almost normal, and I'm looking forward to feeling well enough to hit the track for a run.

The Wii and I are not mortal enemies, yet.  I did gain a little on my vacation, but it's not horrible, and I believe the Wii knew better than to trifle with a sick and jetlagged me, so it resorted to flattery and softened the blow of my gains by telling me my Wii-age (based on balancing games, mental games, and my weight) was 21.  And then it started talking to me about Boyfriend behind his back...which was weird.  More about this in another post.

What actually was achieved in Toronto?  Well, I am officially divorced, and that divorce certificate was notarized, officialized and lastly legalized so that the Belgian government can now agree with the Canadian courts, that I am in fact no longer married.  In typical Belgian fashion, the consulate in Toronto sent us on a surprise scavenger hunt for three sorts of legal-recognition of the already-legal (produced by the courts of Canada,) document, just so that the consulate could 'recognize' the divorce.  And after we had found our required three quest items, along with the toad's ear and centenarian's fingernail, and answered the riddle of the sphynx, the sticker they placed on the final, super-officialized result (here comes the Belgian part,) said:

"This legalization does not guarantee the authenticity of the contents of the document"

As an aside... did you know that much of Kafka's work was greatly influenced by the real-life experiences he had as a lawyer and bureaucratic worker?

Anyhoo, many hugs were had in Toronto, though thanks to the strepto-plague we had to cancel a lot of visits and many others were shorter than we would have liked.  I did get my Java-Chip Frappuccino (2 actually), and had my Coffee-Crisp, though it was disappointing to me, tasting less of coffee, and seeming more generically sweet like other, cheaper chocolate-covered wafer-things.  In hindsight, it probably was disappointing because I had no sense of smell or taste, being that I was sick and all, but I didn't end up buying any more than just that one bar since I was disappointed.  I will have to see if it really was me or the bar that wasn't up to par on my next visit.  I got some amazing tax-news and advice from my accountant.  (I am now much clearer on, and more excited about the idea of doing business here in Belgoland.)  As well, I picked up the maple cookies for the hotel-client, and got my vitamins, (a small victory in the area of avoiding being forced to talk to a pharmacist in order to buy something simple and straightforward.)

I missed out on my Tex-mex meal, the Diet Dr. Pepper, the running shoes, the socks, the voltage adaptor and the Guess Jeans.  I did try for the shoes, but stupid strepto-plague left me with little time/energy to find them, so I came up empty-handed.  Boyfriend convinced me I could find the voltage adaptor here, and as we were so short on time I decided to believe him.  We decided as well that since we still actually can get Guess Jeans here, that we'd use not getting them in Toronto as a way to save time while there, and as an excuse to visit Antwerp once back here.  Despite streptoplague robbing us of a solid three or four days worth of meet-ups, hugs and material satisfactions, boyfriend and I both feel that the trip was still great, and absolutely worth it.  The best part of visiting of course was not any of the material or administrative things we did.  It was just being reminded in a more first-hand way about why I love my friends and family.   Needless to say, boyfriend and I are already looking forward to next time.

And I got my hang-time with kitty.  She is still the softest sweetest little being ever, and even after a year of not seeing me, she recognized me in all of two seconds.  She was following me around, coming up for some good chin-scritching, and curling up tranquilly, always within petting range when I was seated.

I felt so happy to see her and to know that she harboured no ill-will against me for going away, and so guilty at the same time that it was just a visit, and that I'd have to go away again.

Soon again, I hope.

Ah yes, one last loose end to clear up: did we buy something shiny the other day, or blow our eco-wad?  Nope.  We did a lot of staring at and discussing of lamps, batteries, and curtains however.  It was ever so exciting as you might imagine.  I finally found hermetically sealing containers large enough to keep my chocolate in though, which is another step towards good things.

That's enough for today I think.  Now I'm off to hunt down some healthcare.


Anonymous said...

Folks here told me that it pretty much makes no difference which mutualite you go with. Seems a bit strange to me: if you've got several different companies there must be some difference among them. In any case, I ended up just picking one at random: Mutualite Chretienne. But if it really does make a difference who you pick, t'would be worth knowing.

Jessica said...

I've a pretty good idea of what sort of coverage I'd like, so I'm just trying to find the one that fits me best. It's true though, that they are all quite similar.

Alice said...

Belgium's mad bureaucracy is slowly getting less mad thanks to this appropriately named endeavour:

Jessica said...

What a noble (and appropriate for Belgium) idea! I'll definitely be poking around this site, thanks for the link!