Thursday, June 24, 2010


Well, I'm here!  After nine months of long distance with Jon, six months of planning, two months of visa nightmares - I'm in London!

My departure was fine, if sad.  Mom and I were crying on and off from the moment we got into the car to go to the airport until... well, I was still teary in the security line, long after Mom and Dad had left.  She pointed out that we'll probably communicate more now than we did when I lived at home.  She's most likely right, but I'll still miss knowing that she and Dad are around!

I ended up having to buy the option of checking a third bag (so that's $100 for two checked bags on top of the one checked bag they allow for free).  My dad made fun of me for packing so much, but I am moving my life across the ocean - damn straight I have a lot of luggage.  Humph.

The flight itself was fine, though we sat on the runway for about 30 minutes after landing because our plane didn't have a thing to taxi to.  Very frustrating.  I managed to rush through customs - the line was ages long but moved quickly - and grab my bag all in about an hour.  Jon was waiting for me at the end and we had a very Love Actually reunion - it was so wonderful to see him!  It had been four and a half months since we were last together; now we're going to be together so much we'll get sick of each other!  I can't wait.

Anyway, London.  LONDON!  I feel like I never left.  We came straight to Jon's mom's flat off Oxford Street - going Jon's house would have been terribly inconvenient for the day's schedule - which was a pain in the you-know-what because of all of my bags and all of the different transit options we ended up using.  (Last year I lived near King's Cross, which you can get to from Heathrow with a straight shot up the Picadilly Line.  I think I was spoiled.)

Jon and I spent the rest of the morning together before he had to flee to work.  Once he left, I buckled down to productivity: I went to the bank and tried to sort out my phone situation.  (Heads up: here are the nuts and bolts of living in the UK.)

Most expats have complained - absolutely understandably - about the ridiculousness of opening a bank account in the UK.  Luckily, I've had one since early October 2008, when I was here as a student.  Because of the type of account I opened I didn't have to jump through quite so many hoops as a professional would have had to, and now that I have the account I can easily just switch it to a more grownup account if I want to.    The only bummer from my bank visit was coming to the realization that my debit card had expired - I have to get a new card and a new pin number, and that will take about a week.  On the bright side, that will stop me from spending too much money because I'm hesitant to overly use my US card here.  On the downside, it complicates the phone situation.

When I was here as a student I bought the cheapest, crappiest phone I could find and worked off of a pay-as-you-go scheme.  If I hadn't met Jon that probably would have been a good idea; as it was, I spent way more than I should have because we talked and texted all the time.  Since I'm here for good now I want a real plan - it should save me a lot of money.  I went to the 02 store and the guy I talked to was very helpful - but then he told me that I need a UK debit card to get a contract.  Boo.  So I'll have to use the pay-as-you-go phone of poo for another week, or until I receive my UK card.  Then I'll go back to the store and get myself a brand new shiny BlackBerry for free with the contract!

(Side note: all the stores are having massive sales right now.  It's killing me.)

Nap time!  Jetlag's a meanie.

1 comment:

  1. touch down in londontown!
    you are such a grown up. my first day would've been all about pubs and afternoon napping.


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