@gyip I'm actually wondering now roughly how much it would cost in Ontario to have a baby (with and without a C section, no other complications), assuming you have OHIP. Does anyone know where we could find such information? And this would only apply if one had OHIP, I suppose? An American popping over the border to give birth wouldn't get this cheap care too, right? In the 1st world-ish country I'm from, I once found a few American patients wandering the halls of the hospital where my grandfather was hospitalized. They did not speak a word of the local language. When I asked them if they were there seeking treatment instead of back home in the US because they had no insurance, they said, "oh no, we are insured back in the US. But it costs less to have a bone marrow transplant here without insurance than to have it done privately with insurance in the US." My reaction was !!!.
I would love to read a piece about how first-year teachers in the Arctic do money. Seriously. Is food extremely expensive because it's shipped in? Do onions cost 6$ apiece like they did in the Netherlands Antilles in 2009?
IS dental really worth it? I looked into it recently and it seemed as though the premiums were high but the coverage they offered was not that great. Also, I remember that even though my dad has excellent health+vision+dental from his university, when he needed a bridge last year, he still had to pay several thousands dollars out of pocket.
About ten years ago, as an undergraduate, I was walking down the street in downtown Toronto on a warm, sunny afternoon. Suddenly, I saw a dozen yards ahead of me a large man wearing a nice business suit, and lying belly-down on the sidewalk. His clothes and his body position were so odd that some of those milling around him in rush-hour pace stopped to ask if he was all right. I, too, thought instinctively that he had fallen down or was injured. He didn't seem homeless, or at least, I had never before or since seen a homeless man wear a nice business suit and lie down on his belly. When I approached the man, I, too, said, "do you need anything, sir?" The man looked up at me from the pavement and said, with a mildly sarcastic tone, "do I need anything? yeah, a pizza and coke would be nice." I immediately noticed two things: first, the wasn't injured and hadn't fallen down. He was "simply" begging for money in a nice-looking suit and while lying down on his stomach, to catch more people's attention. And second, we were right outside a Pizza Pizza, a popular Canadian pizza chain. Feeling embarrassed by his sarcastic tone, but more ashamed that I would not have stopped if he wasn't so well-dressed, I walked into the Pizza Pizza and got him a slice of pepperoni pizza and coke. I think I was trying to prove to myself that I would help him even if he didn't sound so grateful about it and that I shouldn't judge. Maybe he really needed food and had none, and maybe he got that suit from the salvation army and was really homeless. When I stepped outside with the pizza and coke, the man was now sitting up and talking on a flip cell phone while brushing away some of the pavement dust that had clung to his knees while he'd been lying down. I held out the pizza and coke to him, and he, still talking on his cell phone, simply motioned for me to put them down on the ground beside him, without saying anything or thanking me. I did so, feeling increasingly annoyed and perplexed by the whole situation. At that moment, another man standing next to him who seemed to be his friend, and who was considerably less well-dressed, grinned at me said in a whiny voice, "Miss? Will you get me a pizza and a coke too? Please? I'm hungry!" I turned around and began walking away quickly, hearing the second man bursting into laughter behind me. I was really pissed. 7$ was a lot for me in those days. I had spent them thinking I was helping someone in need, and I felt I'd been had. But probably I was the jerk, only bothering to stop by him because he seemed like a "normal" guy in a suit, i.e. not your typical homeless guy. It was a point well-made. What kind of thank you did I expect, anyway?
@aetataureate Anybody know of good pieces on what being a lawyer actually is? A serious question. I'm looking for an ethnographic or insider piece, as I'm on the brink myself,..
Airbnb's comments section also strikes me as increasingly odd. I hardly ever read less-than-stellar comments, and it makes me wary. I recently stayed at an airbnb room in a farm near Ottawa. The room and the farm were lovely, but the water wasn't potable. It was cloudy and tasted strongly of mud or something even less pleasant. And the shower and whole bathroom smelled strongly of sewage while the water was running. The owner, who lived on the premises himself, made no mention of this or his site or in our multiple correspondences beforehand, and I found this out the hard way after gulping a mouthful of mud-tasting water before spitting it out. We then panicked, since we were incredibly thirsty after a long day, our water bottles were empty, it was 2am, and we were far from any place that might be open and selling beverages. We should have mentioned this to the owner the following day, but the moment never arose, and when it did, my partner and I chickened out since my partner said that the owner might be insulted, given that he lived there himself and didn't mention it. Maybe he drank it. Maybe he had a Brita filter. So we never said anything about it, but I suppose the six pack of large mineral water bottles we snuck in the following night, unsuccessfully trying to be discreet, conveyed in other ways our silent disapproval. Long story short: it clouded our stay (especially the poop-smelling shower), but I never mentioned this in my airbnb review. The owner left his own review of us before I did, and his was positive, so I felt doubly-bad leaving a mixed review, especially since we hadn't mentioned it to him to begin with. My review ended up being purely positive, maybe undeservedly so. There's something a bit sticky about airbnb that way. It muddles the boundary between the commercial and the personal. It's got the vibes of a true sharing economy like couch surfing is - but it's not. You're paying 120$ a night for a room in a farm, and if you feel shortchanged about the mud-water, you should be able to complain about it. But at the same time, you're sharing an intimate space, filled with personal belongings, with those belongings' owner. It feels almost like betrayal to leave a personal and public complaint, even if it's an important one. I just could not bring myself to complain about the water, either in person or online. In the same way that I could not complain about the rock-hard bed in another airbnb room in Maine. My reviews were purely positive, as are 99% of the reviews I read on airbnb. Which makes me wonder whether other people feel the same kind of pressure to be positive since there's sometimes that sticky personal connection you make with your host...
So many feels on this piece. I am curious why Brittany didn't like social work's approach to broken systems, and why psychology seemed better to her, or more to the point, why "more formulaic" (is that even a better thing?) seemed better than "just what feels right" (from her SW program)? I am in a similar place in life. I've considered both clinical psychology and social work, and don't know which to try for despite roughly two years of meeting with practitioners in both fields and doing some volunteer work that could count as relevant in both. Since I'm currently completing another PhD in a totally unrelated field, which I don't want to pursue further after I graduate, doing another 5-6 years of a clinical psych PhD seems just too exhausting, since I'm also 30. A 2-year social work master's seems a lot more feasible. Plus, life has shown me that you can't get around dealing with broken social systems if you really want to genuinely, genuinely help people. I'd rather be screaming at health insurance company reps to get my cancer patient the health coverage she deserves as an underpaid, overworked social worker than diagnosing her with complicated grief as a much better paid psychologist. I'm not saying psychologists don't help people. I know they do. I admit, though, that the older I get, the more I think that fighting corrupt or deaf social systems is where it's at, and that's what I respect about social work's systems approach. I also have reservations about the way the DSM is used in clinical psychological practice, and about the categorization-heavy way clinical psych is taught in the US and Canada, and don't know if I'd survive 5 years of studying it, if I even got in. Although I guess even psychologists themselves often do "just what feels right" in their own clinical practice! On the other hand, maybe I'd burn out fast as a social worker, since fighting cold bureaucracies can be so brutal, and I know several people who's left the profession because they couldn't handle the stress. I've never heard of a psychologist leaving the profession due to stress. I guess it's true that it's hard to know what profession suits you. You can read all you want about it, and even volunteer in it or with people who do it, but ultimately nothing substitute for cold hard experience, and by that point, you may already be halfway through a grad program with many thousands of dollars in debt under your belt. Finding something you love, are good at, AND can feasibly find work in is the perfect trifecta that I worry I'll never achieve.
I remember an undergraduate psychology class that cited research showing that money only helps with happiness if it pulls you out of poverty. After you're no longer fretting over bills, any additional money doesn't increase your happiness. Of course, someone could be making a six figure salary and still be fretting over bills...
But what drives lifestyle inflation? Is it only that you are living in a wealthier or more exciting area with more to do after work, and feel the pressure to pay to partake of it? Or is it more just seeing people around you spending more?
Great piece, and very sorry to hear about your robbery, Lisa. But since you mention this was your first robbery in many months of traveling, could you perhaps share with us how you successfully avoided/prevented robbery before this incident? There's lots of advice online, but to the uninitiated it is tough to tell what's actually necessary and useful and what is less so. E.g. did you always sleep with your money belt on? What backups did you carry? And how and where did you carry sensitive documents? I think this might be useful to many of us.