The same, but different
A few years ago I visited a friend in Arrecife hospital and got talking to an English woman in the next bed who’d suffered a nasty fall. She couldn’t have been more grateful for the care she was receiving, but had one complaint: “They’ve never offered me a cup of tea.”
I once electrocuted myself and fell seven feet off a ladder, but was right as rain after a cuppa, so I understood immediately, and before my next visit I prepared her a flask of tea. Sadly, she’d been discharged earlier that day, and my Good Samaritan act went unappreciated, but at least I had a nice cup of tea to console myself with.
I’ve had a few close encounters with the Canarian Health Service myself recently, and although there was no tea on offer, I can’t praise the level of care and attention enough. That care has been much in evidence recently as many of us have headed into health centres for Covid vaccines, where health workers deal with the worries and concerns of thousands of people with patience and good humour.
One of the few good things to come out of this pandemic is that many of us who are lucky enough to live here have gained a deeper understanding of how the island works. There’s a tendency, especially among new arrivals, to compare everything unfavourably to the way things are done back home. Complaining is fine – it can get results, and no one enjoys complaining more than the locals- but it helps if it’s constructive, and is done with the understanding of the differences that exist.
Because even if there are differences, and you can’t get a decent cup of tea for love nor money when you really need one, it’s also clear that we’re much the same in the ways that really matter and care, attention and the human touch are universally appreciated.
Summer’s coming, and with it new hopes for an island that’s been running on empty for far too long. Let’s get on with it together.
Enjoy the mag, Shaun.