New Glasses for Katie

Flag_of_New_MexicoOne of the things we need to take care of before we leave is getting Katie new glasses. It’s been a while since she’s had an eye exam, and I’m pretty sure she needs a new prescription. When she’s taking her glasses off and squinting at things because she sees better that way, I’m thinking the glasses she has aren’t really working as designed.

Aside from the practical reason to get it done sooner rather than later — being able to see when her classes start — it’s also a lot cheaper to do it in the U.S. Some of our expat friends have told us that a decent pair of glasses can cost as much as $1000 US. When they make a trip home to the United States or Canada, that’s when they get a checkup and a new pair. I’m interested to learn why this is; Finland has a pretty good, affordable health care system, but that doesn’t extend to vision. Maybe Finns just have better eyesight. Funds allowing, I’d like to get her two pairs, so she has a spare. Wear one, and pack the other in her carry-on (if there’s room) or in one of the checked bags.

This is just one of the many little differences between the United States and Finland that I’ve been tracking and planning for. What things are better done here, and what will we be better off waiting to do until we’re there? What will we need there that will be cheaper and easier to get here and take with us? What will we want there that we can only get here? Think about all of the good and services and items that you use and touch and interact with every single day. Then think about what you’d do without it, or if getting a replacement was prohibitively expensive, or if you couldn’t get it at all? We deal with so many things, trying to question each one can drive you mad.

The Finns obviously survive. They have the things they need. They get along with the brands and the things they have. They’re doing quite well without some of the things Americans take for granted. That’s going to be a huge lesson to continually learn while we’re there. I’m looking forward to seeing the differences in customs, in foods, in entertainment, is consumer products.

But ultimately, Katie needs to be able to see, and if we can save a lot of money, we’ll do it the American way.

One reply on “New Glasses for Katie”

  1. We moved to Finland from Colorado in 2010 and let me reassure you that you will eventually find everything you need to thrive in Finland. Sure, it will cost a bit more than it does in the US, and some things will be harder to come by, but we love it here and think the pros outweigh the very few cons.

    My husband just returned from a trip to the US and, after four years, he still brings back maple syrup, Goldfish crackers, and dried chilis. And definitely get the glasses! Healthcare and dental care is very good here, and reasonably-priced, but the glasses are atrocious!

    Here’s a link to my blog post about the comforts from home that I miss here in Finland: http://www.terminalverbosity.com/2011/08/14/when-the-comforts-of-home-run-out/ There’s also some great info about places to visit in Northern Europe. Good luck! Finland is an amazing place–you’re in for an great adventure!

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