Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Manning made our appointment for 10:00 a.m.  We had to get our 3rd Hepatitis B shot as part of our 3 shot series of which we were only able to get 2 in the series back in Berkeley before our departure. And based on the timing we knew we had to get this taken care of within the first 2 to 3 weeks we were here. At this point - we relied on reaching out to our French family for a list of doctors they might know of - and they kindly provided us a list - but were not in a position to have any input on any of them, but for each category of doctor there was one person highlighted - so in this case for the Hep B shot we went with the "Specialist Maladies Infectueuses et  Tropicale".  So, we show up at the designated  time and spot near the French Embassy and we call the 'receptionist'  to say we are here and  we wait. At about 10:20  Manning is texting him "Ca va?" - then he calls and he's walking up the street and we realize it's him because we can then see him talking with Manning. At that point we all introduce ourselves and he walks us towards the Doctor's office. An office we actually walked by many times as it is on the same street as the Novotel hotel we started this journey at. He said he recognized us - not only because it was clear we were the only Caucasian family standing on the street waiting - but it was the twins and their 'pony tails' he remembered seeing from the upper windows of the office the many times we walked by.  Perhaps I was thinking this person was going to show up in an 'office receptionist/manager' type  garb - no he was just wearing a t-shirt and jeans. He escorts us to the office. And asks us to wait. Now it's 11:00. We see a few others go in and out of this office but not necessarily into the door we ended up going into. We continue to wait.  Finally we are called in - it's 11:30. We explain in French that we need the 3rd shot and we did have our vaccination cards with us. We share a bit about why we are here and what we are going to be doing.  After a moment - he makes a call - the result of that being the confirmation of the vaccine at the pharmicie. At this point I was a bit concerned. He's a doctor (like our travel doctor in the US - they have their vaccines in the refrigerator in their office). No No - that is not the case here. At that point he went into his wallet to show us his medical certification - some assurance I suppose that he new what he was doing.  He had to provide us a prescription for the vaccine and the 'receptionist' then escorted Manning to the Pharmacie to pay for and pick it up there. So I wait (and of course the twins continue to wait too!). They return.  He looks at the vaccine - confirms it all and prepares the needles- it occurred to Manning and I that while the needles were packaged and sterilized and there was careful process in extracting the vaccine and cleaning our skin and giving us the shot - he did not wash his hands nor wear gloves. Things work differently here. At the end of it all -  (10 seconds for the shot and 2 1/2 hours later) - he provided us his business card and was interested in practicing his English.


  1. You are having quite an adventure. "Things work differently here." I'll say! Keep these stories coming . . .

  2. Wow! Great to catch up with you guys. Reading your accounts brings back so many memories of my days in the Peace Corps. I remember one of my biggest challenges when I first arrived in the small village where I was to live for the next 2 years, was figuring out the "lay of the land" - not just the geography and the customs, but the social dynamics as well. Trying to work out who I could rely on and who had what standing in the community and, by extension, being sensitive to and cautious about who I associated or allied myself with, lest I damage my credibility or otherwise compromise my ability to be accepted by the community. Living as you do in the bustling capital, I suppose this is less of an issue for you guys, but as a new arrival in a small town, I remember being keenly aware of it. Anyway, keep up the posts, we love living vicariously through you.

    As an aside, Milo would like you to know that he has used his magnifying glass to successfully burn all the way through not only the tennis ball you gave him, but a small piece of a 1x4 as well. It's just not as much fun with out his fellow conspirators. He's been happy in his new school so far (going on day 4), but is still getting settled in.

    Missing you lots (especially when it comes to biking down to the corner store with pockets full of change to blow on candy and soda),

    Lots of love,

    Brian, Milo, Eve and Olivia