Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – LeoTolstoy, Anna Karenina
Totally altering that quote to fit my life goes like this:Countries are all alike; each country is crazy in its own way.
When I lived in Thailand, I often felt like the country was crazy. I mean, it is. To me. There is an acronym there used among foreigners, TIT – This Is Thailand. As in, what did you expect? This is Thailand, baby! It really takes living there (and, in my opinion, working there) to truly even begin to see the myriad differences, let alone understand them.
As I was getting ready to go to Germany, I asked around about the requirements for obtaining an artist freelance visa. One of them is having valid insurance by a German provider.
After dealing with my twenty questions (because, geez, insurance is bloody complicated!) my potential insurer ended up providing me with a truly invaluable service – giving an inside glimpse at the nonsensical rules + regulations of the bureaucratic world of German insurance. This is from one of his emails.
Just today: Client told that cover for pregnancy, premature baby and congenital conditions is compulsory! The client is a 65 year old man who has had a vasectomy!
Female who has pregnancy cover in a group scheme. Her husband and her new born child must also have the same cover because it is a group scheme!
Last week: A gay male couple in an official Civil Partnership were told that as Civil partnerships now qualify for the same benefits as a heterosexual marriage, including child benefits etc., then one of them had to have pregnancy cover – they should decide which one themselves!
A gay female couple were told the same and even offered IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) or AID (Artificial Insemination by Donor) – but not a male partner!
At first I thought, gee, maybe Thailand isn’t so crazy after all! Then I realized that, no, Thailand is totally crazy. Like how each person boasts their own unique brand of insanity, each country is insane in their own way. You just need to get a feel for the country’s particular brand of insanity and see whether it fits with (or, better yet, complements) your own. I don’t think I’ve found my country-mate yet, but I have a feeling that it might take a combination of two or three to make a satisfying match for me at the moment.
Compromise, patience, understanding = Words of the year!