Tuesday, 26 February 2008

3 months in Canada

Hey, tomorrow will be our 3 months anniversary in Canada! and to celebrate yesterday we received our health cards :D

Today I'm going to start trying to get us a family doctor, so I'll you know what worked for me as soon as I find one :)

Friday, 22 February 2008

Chavez

A lot of people is asking me about Chavez, what they hear in the TV is not what we are living in Venezuela, that's a fact.

He keeps giving good impressions to the other countries and is sinking his own country. Here you can find a lot of background: Hugo Chavez but not everything is like they make it beleive:
  • We don't have milk, cooking oil, beans, eggs, cheese, chocolat, toilet paper (sometimes even chicken and meat) and a lot of other things in supermarkets anymore, and if you do find them be prepared to a long line to see if you can buy a little bit for the whole family.

  • The insecurity in the streets, your home and your car is so big that we have more than 40 murders just in the capital every 2 days! Do you know what they did to lower that number? They said that gang and vengeance related deaths weren't murders! :@ And if thats just murders I can't even think of wounded and assaulted.

  • He offered help to Hurricane Katrina victims, but try to covered the massive problems we were having in La Guaira with the rains. You can see what people were living here, and do you know what Chavez was doing all day long while that happened? Giving a referendum speach, for hours!, until he couldn't cover the truth anymore and finally stopped talking and started giving some help.

  • The so called Bolivarian missions are a fraud.
    - Yes, he built a lot of hospitals, but with just a few walls and nothing else, there is nothing you can do
    - Yes, he created Mision Rivas, Sucre and Robinson, and none of them works since they try to teach something and if the students don't learn it, it's ok, just give them the diplomas so we can look good.
    - Yes, we have Barrio Adentro to give medical attention to the poors, but did you know that the doctors are cuban and not venezuelans? and no because we don't have good doctors, we have great doctors, it's because he offers them to be here and better than in Cuba in exchange for their votes (yes, cuban in the venezuelan elections)

  • He closed a tv channel, do you call that democracy? And he already warned all the other channels that aren't from the goverment. Can you believe they can't show what happened in La Guaira during the day? Even if something like that is happening live!

  • He stablished some kind of law where the venezuelan kids are owned by the goverment, so you can't leave the country with them, how can they do that? They don't give passports to kids 7 years old or younger. The few kids that have passports is because we are a very corrupt country and if you have enough money you can buy your kid's passport.

  • I keep saying he made this law and that other law and that's because he eliminated the group of people that used to think and approved the laws, he does all of that now.

  • You can see so many homeless in the streets (kids and adults) and the streets are in such a poor state, well we even lost the La Guaira bridge and spend more than a year without it, and that one is THE brigde in Venezuela since almost all of our imported goods come from La Guaira.

Do you want more? I tried to make it "short" with the worst things I could remember, but if you want to know even more, just ask! :)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Walk-in clinics

Yesterday we went to a walk-in clinic... Nothing serious, just the fall Igor had on Monday starting to hurt at night, so he decided to go yesterday to the doctor just in case. So, what do you need to know in case you need it?

He went to the closest walk-in clinic we could find to home, near the Davisville subway station, and once he was there (around 12pm) they told him that the walk-in would start at 5pm, so please, call before going so you know what to expect! No all the clinics open at 5, but you never know if yours is closed that day.

So he went back to the apartment and used the services of Telehealth Ontario which is a phone number you call anywhere in Ontario (1-866-797-0000 ) where a registered nurse will take your call and ask you a lot of questions trying to see what you have and give you advice on what to do next. The service is free (you don't need OHIP to use it) and can be made in english or french and they even have translator services in case you can't do it in either of those languages. They will let you know if you need to go to the emergency room, just go to a walk-in clinic or rest at home.

Igor called and got a receptionist telling him that all the nurses were busy and to leave a number so they could call him back. Less than 10 minutes later a nurse called him back and he was very impressed with the service he got, really really good! They gave him advice like taking acetominophen for the pain and use ice for 20 minutes every hour, and to go to a Walk-in clinic just in case. You can say that everyone knows to put ice and stuff like that, but you can use this service for anything health related (not in emergency please, use 911 in that case), they can help you with a newborn baby and diagnose a lot of things over the phone, so I'm really thankful to have a service like that.

At 5pm Igor was at the walk-in clinic (I joined him after work, like 5:30pm) and had a lot of people in front of him that decided to wait from 3pm :S So we had to wait 4 hours before he could see a doctor. Again, you shouldn't use this for emergencies, and although a lot of people would say that 4 hours is too long, I have waited more in Venezuela, so it's normal for me.

When it was his turn, we saw the doctor in a little room (I have pictures on my cellular phone if you want to see them) with a medical bed and almost nothing else; the doctor asked Igor about the pain, and after a quick look at his leg and the movements he could do, the doctor told him it looked like a pulled muscle and didn't need tests or x-rays at the moment, gave him a few samples of a muscle relaxer and sent him home. This morning? no pain in the leg, so we are happy with the results :)

If you are covered by OHIP, these walk-in clinics are free, if you are not (we'll be covered in 1 week!) then you have to pay $50 for the doctor to see you. We talked to Manulife (our insurance company) and they were great about it! They told Igor to go to the walk-in clinic and after that they just asked for the receipt and a little letter written by the doctor's office saying Igor was there and what he had, so they can make the refund.

So,
- If you have an emergency, please go to the hospital...
- If you want a general check, you should get a family doctor...
- If you think you need to see a doctor soon, but is not an emergency, use the walk-in clinic :)

Monday, 18 February 2008

Ice Skating

This weekend we went to buy our new skates and try them out :D

You have different places where to rent skates but they are normally around $9 for 2 hours and if you are going to skate more than 10 times in your life, then is better to buy them ;)

For kids, you have a few places whith "Skate Exchange" in the name where you can buy used skates and sell yours which is pretty good since they will be changing sizes a lot! But if you are not going to keep growing anymore I recommend that you buy a new pair.

For new skates you can buy them in those places but don't have a lot of skates of you can find them in Canadian Tire, where they have a lot more from where to choose! A good, economic pair will cost around $90, a little more or a little less. You can find some that are a lot less expensive but not very good, or a lot more expensive but I don't think is necessary unless you are thinking going pro :)

There are 2 types of skate, hockey skates and figure skates, the difference is the point, where the hockey skates are round and the figure skates are pointed so you can jump. I recommend hockey skates, I bought figure skates because couldn't find the other ones for me and I almost ended on the floor because I can't handle the point ^^

Places to skate? A lot!! Almost every park has outdoor rinks that are free ;) We are going to Eglinton Park and these videos are taken there :)

video

video

Monday, 11 February 2008

The end justifies the means?

The end justifies the means?
The enemy of my enemy is my friend?

Those are phrases I just heard yesterday as an affirmation of a Canadian Chavez supporter, just sick.

I never complained much abouth those phrases I used to hear in a joke and things like that, but hear them in a different context makes you see them in a different light, right?

We met yesterday this old man that lives in the building and asked us where we were from, since he felt an accent in our english, and we just say Venezuela. "What? Venezuela?" was his answer, and he kept repeating that same line over and over until we asked "Why?"... "Well, he is my hero!!"... "What??? No, no and no".

To make it short, he just said that Chavez was his hero because he hated the US and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"; And when he heard that we hated Chavez, he said "that means you are gringos!", WHAT?? WTF?, "Have you been to Venezuela? Have you been to our country?", well, no.

Ok, so we just said, lets teach him a little about his hero, and we tell him how you can't find milk, toilet paper, and other things in the supermarket, and he just answer with a question "can you find beans?", to which we answer "just some times", and he says "well, that's because he is helping the poors", again, WHAT?? WTH?

After Igor gives him a little background of the dollar and why he is sinking the country, he just says "The end justifies the means", and he even adds that he chears for the talibans every time they do something bad to the US, I am speachless, I am truly speachless, with a big headache and a lot of bad words in my mouth (and I don't say or even think bad words!), I can't believe what I just heard, that is just plain sad.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Knee surgery anniversary

Today is my knees surgery anniversary and I'm doing a lot better :D

I was born bowlegged (When a person stands with their feet and ankles together but the knees remain widely apart) and never had any problem with that other than taking pictures in skirts, but everything changed around 18 months ago when I started to have a lot of pain in my knees even in bed watching tv.

After talking with 4 different doctors and taking lots of x-rays and tests, the decision was made, I had to go under the knife. Here you can see one of the x-rays pre-operation:

Those x-rays and the other tests showed that I had Patellofemoral misalignment, which means in simple words that I was all misalign, the hips with the legs, the knee bones and my feet with everything else.

What if I didn't operate? I would have to endure a lot of pain everyday and have knees replacement before being 30 years old.

What if I had just part of the operation with arthroscopy? I would have to have the same operation in less than 10 years.

Ok, I'll do it, both legs at the same time :) So, one year ago (Feb 10th, 2007) 3 doctors operated me. I had done in both legs a proximal and rotational biplanar tibial osteotomy, a lateral release, and tendon realignment. The last 2 weren't a lot, but the first one is another story and you can see it in this x-ray post-operation:

They broke my bones where the red circles are, then broke my bones where the metal pieces are, and they even took some bone in the shape you see in red. After that I had to be in casts for 2 months without being able to stand or do pretty much anything by myself. Thank God I had the support of my family.

After those 2 months, I were around 3 months in physiotherapy to be able to walk again and here I am today, one year later I'm in a new country and with almost cero pain in my legs, I'm able to play with the snow and I'm going to do some ice skating! :D

I just want to finish this post giving thanks to God for everything, and to my family that I love so much for helping me in every way you can imagine every minute of this experience.

Hair cut - The pictures

Since a lot of people is asking me about pictures of my new hair cut, here there are :D





Thursday, 7 February 2008

First immigrant hair cut!

I think every woman in the world takes care of her hair as well as she can, some have them long and some short, and when you want a change, you can always do color, cut it, put extensions on, etc, etc, etc.

I like to change my hair from time to time, from long to short and from curly to straight are the variations I have normally; I don't color it, I have natural color and I like it that way. A few months ago I thought it would be a good idea to have long hair in the winter, so I could use my hair to protect my head from the cold, but enough is enough, when you take so long in the shower to wash it, when you start to pull it in bed or things like that, is too long!

So the day before yesterday I went on a mission of cutting my hair! But we are always looking for a good hair stylist that won't leave your hair worst, but better. In your country you can always ask your friends with good hair, where did they get it, but what do you do in a new country? Try and pray it will be ok.

I first went to the hair salon in the mall where I'm locating (remember the direct access to the mall?), but as soon as I looked inside, I didn't like the place, no customers, the hair stylist didn't look great, so off I went to walk on Yonge street.

The second place I went had just one customer, and the price was $69 for wash, cut and dry, any hair, any cut... ummm... isn't that expensive? I don't know but looks like it. I called Igor and asked for his opinion, and he said "if you like it, go for it, but just do it once or twice a year" but I wasn't sure, so I just started walking again.

The third place I went was an italian place (always a good point in terms of food and hair), when I went in, there was at least 5 female customers with happy faces (good sign!), 2 male stylist and a woman (I love male stylists) and when I asked about the price was between $45 and $65 wash, cut, dry, depending of the hair style...ummm...cool... I'll have a hair cut here!

It was great! I love my new hair, short and straight (until I wash it anyway), made by a male stylist (canadian) of name David and it was $60 for everything. Great first canadian hair cut! ;)

And for the males... Igor got his first hair cut a few weeks ago, just a simple hair cut in an italian (again italian) barber shop where they have different things to read while you wait: A stack of Reader's Digest magazines, a stack of Times magazines, and a big stack of Playboys ;), the big total $16.

Snow clothes and Crazy Carpets

This last weekend we decided to play in the snow, since there was such a snow storm on friday, but first we needed waterproof clothes and something to do tobogganing! :D

For the clothes, we went to a lot of stores!!! You can get a lot of different prices depending of the model and the brand. We saw pants bewteen $9.99 and $300 :S But, you can get some good snow pants (warm and waterproof) for $65 more or less; ours are Norht Face and are perfect :)

Then we needed to get the crazy carpets... When you want to do tobogganing, you need something that helps you get from the top of the hill to the bottom as fast as possible, as economic as possible! So we bought the crazy carpets, a long, flat piece of plastic where you seat and grab one of the ends (it has some king of handlers), and drop yourself from the top of the hill. These cost between $3 and $4 and you can find them in Toys 'r us, or Canadian Tire, just ask for wacky carpets or crazy carpets, since I've heard both terms.

After buying the necessary, we went to the Eglinton Park (just a block away from home) and made our first big snowman, well, ok, it was our first medium snowboy ^-^ We saw some pretty big snowmans that day, we have to learn!! After that I made my first snow angel, and we dropped a few times from the hill, it feels so good!!! I can't wait to do it again :D