29.05.2013 - 29.05.2013 14 °C
Since it was now time for another regular blood test, I got some help from Ben’s cousin who arranged for me to attend a blood test clinic that is held weekly in her town. She said she had prepared them for my arrival and that I was just to show up today. It was held in the cafeteria of a retirement home. Ben and I arrived to see about a dozen individuals sitting in various seats waiting their turn. I was a bit perplexed to understand how they kept track of who was next. Presently, we saw how the various clients worked it all out. As each new person arrived, they would say, “Wie is de laatste?” (“Who is the last?”) and the last-to-arrive would put up their hand. The new person would then keep track by following that person so a natural chain developed. It’s interesting to see cultural norms in play. Obviously, I messed up (again) by not asking the telltale question but if I ever have to do this again here, I'll know the exact protocol. When it was my turn, I asked the young male nurse if he spoke English so I could ensure he had the right information. He replied almost condescendingly, “Of course” (everyone under 60 seems to speak English.) He identified me as ‘the Canadian’ and everything went smoothly. Meanwhile, Ben stayed behind in the room where others were waiting. This group was very social, holding conversations across the many tables – they appeared to be regulars. Ben even got into the act when the gang noticed that I paid the nurse in cash. With some surprise, they commented “geld op de tafel (money on the table)?!” Ben felt compelled to explain that we were ‘different’ so he got into a conversation with the group while I was bloodletting. The cost this time was a mere 13 euros so I can say with some certainty that the Turkish doctor must have hiked up the fee when she heard I had insurance – now, I only hope that our provincial coverage will reimburse at those rates!
Afterwards, we popped in to see Tante Rina for a while since we were in the neighbourhood. She saw us on our way with a homemade butter cake, which was much appreciated (and scarfed down quickly once we got home although I was reluctant to wait that long). As our schedules are busy for the next few days, the rest of our day was spent doing the usual travel errands: booking places, uploading photos and blogging.
I had an email from a friend the other day, after she had read Hannah’s post on Juno Beach and the Normandy cemetery we visited. It turns out that her father and uncle are buried there. The Thompsons are one of nine sets of brothers at the Beny-Sur-Mer cemetery. While we were justifiably humbled at the time of our visit, it was even more sobering to know of my friend’s connection to the place and to realize the tremendous sacrifices her family had made. Let us never forget.