Getting ready to give it all up and move to London
13.05.2008 - 13.05.2008 22 °C
"Only a few weeks until you move to London. Are you getting excited yet?" a friend asked me a few days ago.
"In all honesty, I don't even really think that it's hit me yet. I know that I am moving, but my emotions haven't had time to catch up. I have way too much stuff left to do," I replied. When I took off the month of May to prep for my move to the UK, I was expecting a little more leisure and a little less of what I have been faced with, which is a lot like work without the paycheque.
I look around my apartment that is filled with 10 years accumulation of stuff. Last week I took 5 bags worth of clothes and shoes and 3 huge boxes of books to the Goodwill to donate, but I still have a tonne of stuff left in the apartment. I was going to try and sell it on Craigslist, but I soon discovered that 10 year old Ikea furniture is of little to no value, and the best you can hope for is that someone will cart it away from your place for free.
This week I have to start packing up the stuff that I am not taking to London (at least not right away). A subset of my remaining clothes, my CDs, some favourite books, a collection of photo albums and other odds and ends will all need to be boxed up and somehow delivered to a storage unit.
Whatever furniture I can't give away for free in the next few weeks will need to go to either one of two places. The first is a charity, which charges $250 to pick up the furniture (it's a donation to cover the expensive of the guys and the truck). Many people (myself among them) were surprised to learn that you can't donate stuff for free, at least not if you want them to come and get it from you. Any furniture that the donation folks won't take (which I assume will be my one crappy couch and my sagging bed) I will need to pay someone a further couple hundred to come and cart away to be recycled or trashed. I knew that collecting all this stuff was pricey, but who knew that getting RID of stuff would be so expensive!
I've also tried to get my future life in order. Now that I have my visa, I have been applying for positions. There are a few nibbles so far, but nothing concrete yet. I was hoping to have this all squared away prior to my getting to the United Kingdom, but always, I have underestimated the amount of time it takes to do interviews and get a job. *sigh* Well, at least I'll probably have some time to explore London in a little more detail when I first get there, as I won't have a job to go to during the days.
The other thing I wanted to do was get myself set up for banking in the UK. Strangely, it is proving harder to get a bank account open in the United Kingdom than it was to get permission to work there. Her Majesty the Queen and her government decided within 3 days of receiving my application that yes, I would be a welcome addition to the workforce. Banks, on the other hand, seem very suspicious of whole concept of someone coming into the country. Luckily I have a relationship here in Canada with HSBC, but trying to get an account open over in the United Kingdom still required me to fill out 6 pages of application forms that I had to sign in 5 different places. $200 and 2 weeks later, I will find out if they have accepted me into their "club" of customers. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'd hate to be over in the UK will the ability to receive a paycheque but no way to cash it.
HSBC ad from my last trip to London. Who knew it would be so prophetic. Romance and Madness - it's the only explanation!
Not all is gloomy, though. A plan is starting to come together, though. Thanks to the internet, I have both transportation over to London and a place to stay when I get there.
I have booked a flight to London, leaving Toronto on June 3rd and arrive in London the next morning. I will collect my bags and take the Heathrow Express to Paddington Station. I wonder if I will run into the eponymous bear there? I will then wander over to the Paddington tube stop, and hop on the Bakerloo line to the Elephant and Castle Station, where I will change for the Jubilee line. I will take the Jubilee line to Willesden Green station, place a call to my new (temporary) landlord, who will take me to my studio apartment, which I have rented for a month until I can find a more permanent place to live.
Once I am in that studio apartment, though, I am not sure what happens next. I have stuff I need to do - find a job, find a place to live, get a national insurance number, find a doctor and find the nearest HSBC branch.
That first day though, I'm going to take it easy. All I'm planning on doing my first day in town is to find the nearest pub, have a small meal and a beer and let it sink in. On June 4th, 2008, I will be a Londoner.