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I’m sorry that it’s taken so long to write our first post from London…but we’re here, we’re safe, and we’re…OK. We didn’t think that this would be easy by any means, but we certainly didn’t think that it would be this difficult and stressful either! These past couple of weeks, we’ve gone back and forth from simply being uneasy and stressed to thinking that we’ve made the worst decision of our lives.
First, our flat is really cute! It’s a perfect size, and is really nice. We also knew ahead of time that it was furnished, but we didn’t realize just how furnished it was! Furniture, beds & bedding, tables, wardrobes, TV, sheets, silverware, pots & pans, dishes, pictures & art, books, etc. Not all of it is really our style, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise since we didn’t have to purchase these essentials the first few days we were here. Our landlord even got us some food, flowers, and a nice card before we arrived!
Our first major hurdle was/is money. We saved plenty of cash from when we sold our house in Spokane, and our bank suggested we take out a cashier’s check to deposit into our new UK bank account. OK, cool. So we opened our UK bank account and said “here’s all our money!” To which they responded: “since this check is so large and in US currency, it won’t clear for 6-8 weeks.” Crap! Crappity-crap-CRAP!
Then there’s Simone’s school. After the school-year starts, all of the individual schools handle their own admissions. So we’ve been calling and visiting and calling and calling all of the primary schools anywhere near where we’re living. They’re all full and the waiting lists are long, long, long! I pleaded with them and they wouldn’t budge. They told me to call the Barnet School Admissions office, and the Barnet School Admissions office told me to call the schools! Helpful. We finally found a school for her…and it’s a good school…but it’s not very close. We haven’t done a transportation trial run yet, but it’s looking like it could be a 45-60 minute bus ride. We’re still on the waiting lists for closer schools, so we’ll see how that works out.
In an article titled "Culture Shock - the unseen element that can make or break your immigration experience", they list the 5 stages of culture shock. Phase 1 is the "honeymoon phase", where you're supposed to feel excited and euphoric about living living in a new country. It seems we’ve completely skipped Phase 1 and started squarely in the middle of Phase 2, the "emptiness phase" (which is supposed to take place 2-4 months after moving): loneliness, irritability, frustration, sleeplessness, lack of confidence, and accomplishing even the simplest of tasks takes longer and with more effort. Awesome...so far so good!
I’ve got a lot more to post about, and I promise I’ll post much more often once we have reliable internet access (for some reason, it takes 2 weeks to get a phone and broadband internet here in one of the largest metropolitan cities on the planet…that’ll be a whole post unto itself!).