“You may think the grass is greener on the other side, but if you take the time to water your own grass it would be just as green.” (Unknown)
We always think that living abroad would be enjoyable and full of good things. But we tend to ignore that there is the other side of enjoyable and fun. We tend to envy other people for their supposed “fun” time abroad, we tend to wish that we are in their shoes enjoying good time abroad. But, we tend to forget that all things are not so sweet. Life is full of ups and downs, life has so many challenges and that these shape up people’s experience and make them stronger.
Yes…We did cherish the good memories in Switzerland but we also cherished the unpleasantness of living there. It shaped our life, it groomed us to be stronger, it added characters to our life, it added new perspectives in viewing life and it tested our tolerance towards others. The unpleasantness can come in so many forms, from so many sources and in so many ways that we cannot imagine.
My sweet Afif Nuqman… a boy who’s born with different rhesus compared to his mom.
|6-month old Afif at Chamonix, France|
I am a A-Rhesus negative mom! Was informed that only 15% of the world population and 1% of Asian population who inherited this type of genetic make-up. My children are all O-positive babies like their dad. Why do these factors affect our live in Switzerland? People would ask…Medical issues…
Because of this, my sweet Afif had to go through repeated health screens and tests. On monthly basis, he had to undergo blood tests to diagnose of any possible abnormalities. Living in Switzerland is not cheap! Geneva being the top-5 world's most expensive city, the medical costs there are too expensive. Not only medical but other expenses too--food, house rental etc etc. Oh, people would say no issue, your expense are all taken care by the G. Not a single cent was spent for living cost there. How I wish I could prove them wrong!
Maybe we are not so lucky compared to others. During our stay there, it seemed that the finance and admin in our home ministry have changed--a new accountant with new set of requirements. She even used a ruler to measure a distance between two places on a map then put a query. We then had to justify why this and that. As such for every single transaction, we were queried and had to provide explanatory letters for such actions. Not only that, we had to fork out our own expenses for all the lab tests which costs a fortune. Claiming backs are quite tedious with numerous supporting and explanatory letters! "Berkhidmat untuk negara" kan.
“Rhesus disease is a condition where antibodies in a pregnant woman's blood destroy her baby's blood cells. It's also known as haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn (HDFN).” www.nhs.uk
Being Pregnant as A-Rhesus negative mom
Never imagined that I would be pregnant while living here in Switzerland! Tapi ini semua ketentuan Allah…Syukur Alhamdulillah…
|At Gruyeres, Switzerland|
We expected that we would face the same hassle that we’ve encountered with Afif’s medical issues. I have to undergone numerous testing to monitor the level of antibody excreted to protect my blood against the baby’s blood. The same repeated blood tests and genetic test had to be done… the same administrative impediment had to be dealt with. Numerous explanatory letters to the home ministry and numerous bills kept on coming from the labs even sometimes from the neighboring country (France) since genetics test is not available in Geneve.
Unlike other families who had pregnancies while living here, we were informed to utilize the public hospital for case. Both of us accepted this directive since we knew as a government servant that was our entitlement. We never dreamt of going into private maternity centres. Just like the public hospitals in Malaysia, there were so much hassles for the public hospital in Geneve. Hassles were not in terms of facilities or services, but in form of accessibility and convenience. I was in my advanced pregnancy that I had to travel in winter time for weekly checkups. Up and down taking buses from Versoix to Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG). Terasa seksanya masa tu… tapi biarlah… memang sudah nasib badan, kami redha dengan ujian ini.
|Delivery room at Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève|
On 5th November 2008 morning, I was informed that the level of anti-D in my body has risen alarmingly and might destroy the baby’s blood cells. They advised to come back around 3 pm for emergency delivery. Imagine, during the journey back home (walking & how many bus rides back), my mind was full of fears…it was the longest journey taken during November winter that year! Alhamdulillah, our princess Alya Nur was born that night through normal birth and her post-birth experience was not as traumatic as her brother’s Afif Nuqman. Syukur kepada-Mu, Ya Allah!
|One-day old Alya Nur|
There are so much to share about the not-so good experience living abroad. But, BIARLAH… let us mulled these ourselves. Who are we today is shaped by what we had experienced. Alhamdulillah, we survived!