The next two days of my journey have taught me that I need to get some sort of phone. Because, when I woke up the next day and realized I wasn't dreaming - there was a huge chip in my tooth - I knew I had to go to a dentist. But where would I find one? I quickly flipped through the leaflet they handed out at the meeting from the night before. Hmmm, no on campus dentist, but the doctor's office on campus can give me some numbers. Alright, that should be easy enough.
But of course, I couldn't go to the dentist yet. I have to fill out a lot of paperwork first. See, I am on a very tight leash right now in Ireland. This is because the government does not recognize me as a student yet. I wont be until everything is fully paid off, I've gained a student card, and can prove that I have enough money to escape the country if required. All well and good, but having signed my paperwork yesterday I may be seen as a legitimate person in about two weeks.
And of course, the queue was insane for the paperwork. Ah yes, another important thing of note, no one stands in line here. No one talks about getting in a line here. It is all about the Queue. So I "queued up" and stood in said queue for about two hours. Wonderful. So now it was off to the doctor's office. Well wouldn't you know, the Irish take their lunch around one it seems - or perhaps a mid day break, I don't know. All I know is I had to wait until two. And then I queued up again for another hour.
Let me stop here for a moment and tell you that in American the Flu virus was always considered a joke to me. H1N1 sounded funny and I didn't give a care about some pigs. In Ireland though, sneeze to many times and people will run from you. It is not a joke over here, definitely glad I decided against bringing my Mad Cow t-shirt.
So once it was my turn, I asked the nice receptionist if they could give me the number of some dentist in the area. I was told no, that they didn't have a list, but I could probably find one online. Great, I understand I am an adult and all, but can we take this whole behaving like an adult down a notch. I mean, I've never dealt with insurance before, I've never really gone to a dentist alone before (not for something like this anyways), and I am completely lost as to where any of these dentist offices are online.
Skipping the boring details I finally find one and need to call them. Well, it is after hours for them by now so I figure I'll just wait. What I should have done was located the phone in that time. Because when I started my day today at eight in the morning, I didn't find a phone until 10:20. Why? Because of that Irish need to come up with an answer. Apparently, years ago, the campus was filled with public phones. Now, there are none. And thankfully the women in the international department are so nice. They allowed me to use their phone before I broke down and probably went on an American style rampage.
As an American, I can tell you that I have been told many horrible things about the European healthcare system. So I was quite scared when I thought about the fact that I was about to go and get my tooth fixed. Not to mention, I had to get on the bus again. But of course, in Ireland, you just ask. So I walked up to a complete stranger and asked him how in the world I got to Park Dentist Clinic. He said, "I'm getting on the 145 that is going there, I'll tell you when to get off." Really? How wonderful, I would have been told to die in a fire in New York. Well, perhaps they would have told me how to get there after stabbing me a couple times.
But I must say this. The dentist office was amazing. First, the dentist was the nicest guy I have ever met. Did everything with a splendid job and worked as fast as he could. I must say the fixed part of my tooth looks fairly well, can't really tell I ever broke it. So for all those people who hate European healthcare, I can prove it isn't so bad. And the dentistry is suppose to be the worse over here. Heh, I wish I could boast such bad service.
But here I am, back on campus. My fourth day and I have gotten lost, tried Guinness, broken my tooth, applied for classes, signed my life away, went through European Dentistry, and have a Friday evening to look forward to in Ireland.
It has been interesting. At times I have thought that I just wanted to run home, forget this place and just go back to my easy life. But then I look around, and think about how well these people are helping me. My first real experience as an adult and it is happening in Ireland, what a place to truly "grow up" in. Now we'll just have to see how my classes are - maybe then I'll want to come rushing home :-p.