This story was originally published as a guest post in 2 parts for the Type 1 Diabetes Blog I write bi-weekly for Diabetes Sisters.
Before moving to Europe both times, I’ve gotten this question quite often: But how will you get your insulin over there?
While studying abroad in France when I was 21, I brought enough insulin for a 3-month stay. I was to be there for 4 months (which turned in to 9 months but that’s another story for another time), but I was supposed to get my visa by the second month. That visa would grant me health benefits akin to French citizens. However, if you’ve ever lived in France, you know how the French bureaucracy works. Read: slowly. Fast forward to month #3, visa “on it’s way- should arrive within the month,” and I’m cracking open the last of my Humalog supply. Obviously, I had to get more- but how, without insurance, without a visa? Without really speaking French? Without a doctor, or any clue where to begin?
Hi friends! It’s been a while, so I’ll just fill you in on some of the things I’ve been up to lately.
— This is a story in parts, so before you read this, make sure to read Part 1! —
On the side of an interstate in the middle of nowhere-England.
Everyone was told to exit the bus, but we all sat in our seats for about 45 seconds soaking in how annoying this was.
Eventually we bundled up and walked to the side of the interstate. I was standing next to the same two guys I stood next to while waiting to get on the bus for the first time, you know, the guys who asked “if all the rumors were true.” He and his friend were 21-year-old students studying social science in Minnesota, and traveling around Europe for a few weeks during winter break. I’ve never met anyone who has loved Minnesota as much as these guys. They are the state of Minnesota’s biggest fans. For some reason, they were trying to persuade me to move there, and one of their big selling points was you can definitely get married there. What does that mean? Does he not think I can get married other places? Was he proposing? DID I MISS MY BIG CHANCE? I think my response was Oh, cool.
Yesterday, I took a long bus ride. A 19 hour one, to be exact.
The plan was as follows:
- Leave Manchester at 1:30pm Sunday to go to London: approximately 5 hours (we were an hour late due to crazy traffic)
- 3 hour bus layover, then on to the London to Ferry bus ride: appoximately 2 hours
- Ferry ride to the continent of Europe: 90 minutes
- After various stops through Belgium and the Netherlands, we would arrive at the ultimate destination of Amsterdam at 9:00am on Monday.
Obviously that’s not what actually happened. As if things ever go so swimmingly when traveling! Especially with public transportation, and even more especially with buses. Buses are so absurdly (and kind of hilariously) unpredictable. Whenever I am doomed to rely on a bus as transport, I usually just detach all hope that I will get where I need to be at a reasonable time. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, but usually I’m not. For some reason I keep taking buses though, and I think it’s because part of me loves how ridiculous they are. THEY ARE SO RIDICULOUS. These big, lumbering automobiles stuffed to the gils with broke travelers and their dirty suitcases and weird food choices, journeying for hours upon hours, sitting so close to one another. Sharing that weird bathroom by the stairs. Fighting over the window seat. Bus weaving in and out of traffic at dicey speed to weight ratios. And then there are the bus stations. My god. Don’t even get me started.
So anyways, here’s how it actually went down: