Sunday, May 12, 2013

Status Check: The First Month

Saturday was our one-month anniversary of arriving in London. It is amazing how quickly the time passes by when you are busy getting your life in order in a new environment. There are plenty of adjustments that will take a lot longer to make - rewiring our instinct about which way to look when crossing the street comes to mind - but we're trying to get settled as fast as we can. So how are we doing? Here's the status log one month in:

Setting up a bank account: Check. This one could have been tricky. Banks here are unwilling to consider your foreign credit history. With no domestic credit they are very reluctant to take you on unless a corporate entity can vouch for you. In our case, Heidi's employer took care of this.

Mobile phones: Check. Again, no credit history, no phones (and no bank account? don't even bother trying). How did we get around this one? Vodafone was willing to manage its credit risk by issuing us SIM-only contracts. All we had to do was purchase and provide the phones on our own.

Remembering our new phone numbers: Once we figured out the cadence and spacing of our own numbers, this became easier. But I still interchange a couple numbers here and there. And for other UK numbers, there isn't a standard spacing format like the (###)###-#### format in the US. I only made it 20% into the wikipedia article on telephone numbering before giving up.

Learning the order of the English monarchs: Not a chance. I don't think we'll even have this down by the time we leave.

Finding an apartment: Check. We were very pleased with how our housing search ended. We'll be in a new building in a great neighborhood and we even came in under budget!

Moving in and furnishing our new place: We have our keys and dropped off most of what we brought with us, but our Chicago shipment containing furniture and other essentials won't arrive until the week of May 20th. Until then, we'll be bunking in our temporary housing in the City of London.

Getting a decent fish and chips: Well, this really isn't that hard since fish and chips are served everywhere. The dish at the Prince Regent in Marylebone was very good!

Getting used to warm beer: Thankfully we've yet to have a beer that was too warm to be enjoyable. The cask ale is "cellar temperature", or about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. But it's very smooth, so you can drink it fast before it creeps up to room temperature.

Ryan finding the right work: Check. I had my first interview, albeit an informal one, four days after we arrived. Over the following three weeks I interviewed with several organizations and had plenty to consider. This past Tuesday I verbally committed to a position, and for now you can call me if you want to find out more!

Finding our place in the community: First we'd like to move into our new apartment and get fully settled. Then we'll go about finding a church, joining other interest groups, and generally getting to know our English comrades a bit better.

One month in, I think we're doing alright.