Come get your free smear here.

Recently my sister-in-law (I know. That's a whole different post for a different day) asked me if I like living abroad. My first reaction is yes, of course I do. And then, like any expat, backtracked a bit. Of course we like it. We wouldn't do it for very long if we didn't like it, but there is a downside to everything in life except maybe winning the lottery and being fabulously thin. And hot fudge.

I can name a billion things I hate about Ireland but there is no sense in it. There is no sense in telling someone all that I hate about Ireland because this is where I choose to live. I have not been forced to stay here and Bub and I have had many discussions recently about moving to the US. We are making a decision to stay in Ireland for the time being so it's worth the time and effort to think of things I enjoy about this country. Even when it's overcast. Even when it's poor.

I actually haven't emailed her back yet because I know the answer would be just too complicated for my baby-addled brain to explain at the moment. However, I have been thinking about the things that I really enjoy and today decided that I will come up with a whole list of things I like and post them here as they come to me.

After I trip to the doctor I realized that there is something very positive about Ireland: free smears.

Uh, did she just actually type out FREE SMEARS? Yes. I did. You did not catch the cooties by reading that. It is what it is and every woman over the age of 18 should be getting yearly pap smears. I'll spare the details for all of my male readers but, it's a procedure women go through to make sure the reproductive bits are in order. There. No one died of being hit with the gross.

In Ireland you can go to www.cervicalcheckie to sign up to get a free smear from your doctor. It's the most effective way to detect cervical cancer and pre-cancerous cells. And, hell, it's free if you're between the age of 25 and 60. FREE. Who doesn't love free shit? Who doesn't want some of this for free? I didn't think so.

It's incredible to me that in a country that isn't known for it's incredibly healthcare (not to say that it's bad, but it's not world renowned) offers something like this FOR FREE to save the lives of women. In the US (and, no, it's not the government's responsibility to make sure you get checked out), you have to pay to go to your OBGYN to get this test done yearly and while the US has very proactive healthcare, I imagine if you don't have insurance you're not going to go out of your way to book an appointment at planned parenthood to get a smear. Even in Ireland I hadn't gotten a pap smear in four years because I didn't want to pay the €50. I imagine I'm not the only one. But now, for the low, low cost of NOTHING, I can get checked out. And I did. FOR FREE.

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Liz in Dublin