After living for more than 6 years in France, part of me has transformed into French. I do or react like the French (or the majority of them). There are cases where I'm more French than Malaysian, or vise versa. Here are some situations I experienced recently:
I brought Aelig to see our family doctor. While chatting she discovered that I had to take the morning off so she proposed to write me a letter, which could be used to justify my absent. She even asked me if I want a full day off.
The Malaysian me: No, half day is enough, I need to go back to work this afternoon.
While thanking the French system who allows parents to take off to take care of sick kid at home (it will be considered exceptional leave in my company), the French part of me had something to say.
The French me: You are so stupid, if the doctor lets you take a day off, just take it! You are not the one paying anyway. (Some Malaysians would think this way too).
Note: It will not take long for me to abuse (or is it abusing?) the system, I can tell. When I was 5 months pregnant, my doctor ordered me to stop working and I refused. Today I would have hesitated and even agree with her instantly.
Aelig was extremely tired after the doctor visit (the 10.20am appointment only started at 11am). I drove her home and put her to sleep. I was really rush as before going to work I had to cook and feed her and send her to the sitter (at 1.30pm). So, no time to go to the pharmacy to pick up her medicine. And, the pharmacies here close from 12.30pm to 2pm.
The Malaysian me (complaining mode on): Ah, why can't they sell medicines in the doctor cabinet? In Malaysia one can directly buy medicine at the clinic after the doctor visit. I need to arrive at the office before 2pm so there is no way I could buy the medicine and give it to the sitter. Why can't the pharmacies open during lunch time? They could adjust their lunch hours, one group goes for lunch from 11.30am to 1pm, another goes between 1pm and 2.30pm. Or, open until 1pm and close from 1pm to 2.30pm.
The French me: C'est comme ça, c'est la vie. (It's like that, this is life).
Note: My dissatisfaction for the French operating hours can go on for some time. They are not made to provide services or simplify one's life.
At the pharmacy buying medicine. I was given two bottle of something and I hesitated. We got tons of medicine at home, some of them I have never opened them as Aelig refused to take them. Once the Pediatrician prescribed her 4 bottle of iron, which she refused to even take a drop, and now these 4 bottles are collecting dust at home.
The Malaysian me: I'm sorry but I don't think my daughter would take all of these, can I just have one bottle instead? (In Malaysian you have to pay for your medicines)
The pharmacist (not happy): One bottle is not enough to complete the treatment. But you are the one who decide.
The French me: Ok then I will take both. (In France the social security system pays for it).
Ok, ended with two bottles at home and Aelig refused to even finish the first one.
The Malaysian me: You should have insisted on trying one first, you are contributing to the hole in the social security system.
The French me: I'm not the one paying anyway.
Sincerely, I feel bad wasting medicine, and I would say that they come by too easily in France. They some times come in big quantity that one would never be able to finish. For example, Aelig's doctor told me that for one of her vaccines, she only needs 20% of the dose given, but she has to throw the remaining as once opened it won't last. Another example, my eyes are a bit dried after operation. The doctor prescribed me some eye drops, I got two big boxes of it, and I'm forcing myself to use them. I don't really need them, but I didn't know I was going to go home with tons of eye drops either.
Just a note: I'm not complaining, I just think the French medical system is so great that I'm very afraid that we will lose it one day due to abuses / wastes.