Generic Works Sometimes

If your are not concerned with politics, you will be if you ever decide to move to a foreign country.

Republic, democracy, social medicine, border control–it matters when you think about crossing the border for any length of time. My mother called this morning to say a U.S. government shutdown could affect getting a VISA (but I think that is for incoming visitors to the U.S.). I won’t comment on Republic vs. democracy, but I will say there is plenty of bureaucracy when trying to get into another country.

Healthcare is the issue that most concerns me; not from a political perspective, but from a practical one: I need it.

France, of course, has socialized medicine. And whether Americans agree or not is irrelevant to me at this juncture. It may work in my favor. I opted not to get international insurance because the deductibles are so high it doesn’t make sense. Especially after I read that healthcare, even without insurance, is less expensive in France than in the States.

So how do you get your prescriptions filled when you are spending 3 months in another country? You thank God for generic drugs and ask for a 90-day supply before you go. And I always ask for an emergency antibiotic to carry with me, just in case.

It’s just another one of those details.

Arles, France

My new home.

My new home for the next 3 months is about 15 minutes south of Arles, France.

Saint Marie By the Sea

les saintes maries dela mer

Looks like a postcard, doesn’t it?

It is. But I’ve been there. And I’ll be there again in two weeks.

This is les saintes maries de la mer, a village on the Mediterranean, at the mouth of the Rhone, in the South of France, about 30 miles south of Arles. I’ll be living about 10 minutes north of here.

Saintes Maries is in Provence, in the region of Camargue. It is home to the Gypsies, the flower market, the flamingo, the toro, the bullfight, the Camargueiss horse, and the Abrivado-the running of the bulls through the streets.

Traditionally, it is known as a place of pilgrimage, named for Mary Jacobe and Mary Salome, mothers of Apostles, who arrived on the shores of this place. They were exiled from from Palestine and evangelized this once Roman-controlled provence. Sara was their companion and in the tradition of the Gypsies, she was gitan. She is known as the Patron Saint of the Gypsies. Some say Sara was the servant of the elderly saints. Others say she welcomed them to this shore and collected money in Camargue for support of this small Christianized community.

The tower of the Church of Saintes Maries de la Mer overlooks the sea. In May each year, the Gypsy Pilgrimage brings swarms of gitans to the this place where the statue of Sara stands in the Crypt.