Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, Politics /

In case you have been hibernating, the best show in town isn’t Dallas or Dynasty, it’s Australian politics. An extramarital affair and its fallout have put the ruling Liberal-National coalition under massive pressure. The nation is completely hooked -I shamefully admit that I am too. Today there was no headlines about the whole saga, and I almost found it boring. The difference between American soap operas and the Australian government is that one features a scorned soon-to-be first wife, a pregnant younger lover and doubts over paternity, and the others are 1980s TV shows that I grew up watching. What can I say? Reality is sometimes even messier than fiction. And I, for one, can’t wait for the next episode (Reconciliation with wife? Twins? Another potential father? Who knows?). I am joking of course. Well, sort of.

Now let me tell you different stories: a 15 year-old boy meets a much older drama teacher in high school, and eventually falls in love with her. His parents can’t keep them apart, so years later the mother-of-three eventually divorces her husband and marries her former student. He then runs for president when he’s 39 and she’s 64. He wins. The exact date of the start of their relationship isn’t known. What could be the stuff of criminal case in the Anglo-saxon world is met with a Gallic shrug in my home country.

I keep hearing that what worries my Aussie friends isn’t the affair per se (yeah right. As if I believe you!) but the fact that taxpayers’ money might have been used for highly paid jobs and expenses. Boy, you guys are real cute! In France and in no particular order, we had a President having a car crash with the milkman while coming back from a night with his mistress (we taxpayers had to foot the bill), another President who kept two families and numerous mistresses at our expenses, and who even tapped the phone of women he wanted to sleep with (The French secret services did the dirty work. Of course they did.). Nobody batted an eyelid.

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Posted by / Category Cultural Differences, London /

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the most difficult part of living abroad is to understand how the healthcare system works in your new country. And if, like me, you happen to have a husband who is virtually never home, no family nearby and a sick kid during the night, things can escalate pretty quickly. Knowing how to navigate the system becomes even more critical. Easier said than done. It sometimes feels like banging your head on a wall. Been there, done it.

Believe me, it is very stressful, and it feels pretty lonely. To make matters even worse, as I grew up in France, I am used to the fantastic French healthcare system, and I took it for granted. In my home country, every time we have needed urgent medical attention (which maybe happened twice), the system was here for us, sending a doctor at my doorstep to deal with a sick baby, and delivering the required medication in the middle of the night. For free of course. I must admit that I thought it was completely normal, and I was expecting the same level of service in London. Silly French me.

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