How’s everyone’s week so far? The rain has settled in here, and I’ve decided I need a warmer coat and shoes for this kind of weather!
You can kind of see the clouds…
For the sake of honesty, I thought today I’d share some of the downer sides of relocating to a different country. Before I go into my list though, I wanted to add a disclaimer that even with the difficulties, I’m still really glad to be here. The transition was always expected to be a little rough, and I’m doing my best to adjust with that and have fun with it.
So without further ado, here are some of the things that are less than fun about moving across the ocean:
- I don’t know anyone. This one is the most obvious, but it’s also the worst one. I’ve been here for two weeks now (I had to count back for that- I thought it had been longer), and I’m definitely noticing the loneliness. My first week, with no work, not knowing anyone, and no wi-fi at my flat, was quite hard. I’m a very social person by nature, so it’s hard for me to have so much time alone. Last week in London was really good, and I had a lot of fun with a couple girls from Scotland. However, now that they’re back at home, and I’m in Cambridge but working in London, the loneliness is setting in again. I miss having people to call for dinners or coffee, or to go see a movie with on a lazy Sunday afternoon. With Mark and I separated, it really adds to this as well. It helps that we text a lot, and over the weekend I skyped with several of my friends, and Mark. I can’t wait for him to be here- it will make the world of difference!
- I still don’t have a permanent place to live. I’ve set up a couple of appointments to view flats, but they continue to get cancelled because other people have rented them out. I’ve emailed so many different rental agencies about different properties, but no one ever gets back to my emails. I try calling but office hours are 9-5, which is when I’m also at work. Since Cambridge is a University town, and University starts next week- I’m unfortunately competing with students to find somewhere to live. Students who are available to go see a place during the day. This is made additionally hard by the fact that I’m working in London, so can’t even sneak away for 30 minutes to go look at something. I’m starting to become nervous that I won’t be able to find a place and end up homeless. I was comforted today by being told that there’s couches at the office- so I guess worst case scenario is that I will literally live at my office….
- I also don’t have a UK bank account- which pretty much eliminates me from doing anything. Like claiming my work expenses for living in London for a week…or being able to get a phone plan…..or buy my groceries with anything besides cash. I also can’t get a bank account until I receive a letter from my HR department stating that I do work here. I requested this a week ago and am still waiting for a response. I start each work day with another follow up email. I do have an appointment next week to set one up, so I am hoping I have received my letter by that point.
- I need to get a car. I’m holding out on this one as long as possible because I am worried to drive here. I still haven’t figured out which way I need to look before I cross the street- as they drive on the opposite side of the road than we do in Canada. If I can’t remember which way to look before starting to cross the street, I’m worried about my ability to remember which side of the road I should be on when turning right or left. Also with crossing the street- pedestrians do not have the right away here! At least not in the same way as you do in Canada. Here, if you’re waiting to cross the street, cars do not slow down to let you pass (unless you’re at a designated cross area). Yet there are no laws against jay-walking here. You can cross where ever you like- as long as there are no cars. As I got hit by a motorbike crossing the street while in Thailand, this results in me taking forever to get across the streets in London- as I wait much, much longer than the average person.
Those are the biggies that I’m stressing about right now. I feel like once I have somewhere to live, and a UK bank account, and have actually had a day of work in the Cambridge office, so that I can meet some people who actually live where I live, things will start improving. I realize that sounds like a lot of things I’m waiting on- but I’m hoping to have all three of those tackled by this time next week.
So that this post isn’t all negative, here are some things that I’m really loving:
- Without a car, I am getting so much more exercise! I walk everywhere I go (unless it’s really, really far- then I take a bus). This week I’m averaging about 7 km a day (which is about 4.5 miles) between my walk to the train station, and from the train station in London to the office, and then back again at the end of the day. Last week I had a few days where I walked 10 kms, but the average was probably around 4 kms. It’s amazing- I love walking, and I love, love, love the fact that I can walk where I need to go.
- My temporary accommodations I’m in for the this week and next week is fantastic. It’s two or three times larger than where I was my first week here, and has everything I need. I wish I could stay here, but unfortunately since it’s a serviced apartment, it’s waaaay to expensive (if I stayed for a month it would cost be $4,500!!). I unpacked for while I’m here and it is heaven to not be living out of a suitcase. Add that with having washed all my clothes, I’m feeling much more settled.
- Yoga and journalling. That’s one nice thing about not knowing anyone- all my evenings and weekends are free. As such, I have lots of time for things I enjoy. Which means I’ve been doing lots of yoga, and afterwards writing down my thoughts. So far I’ve just been doing yoga at my flat, but I am looking forward to exploring some of the yoga studios here.
- I’m living in Europe! Every once and a while, I remember that and I get so excited. I was in London last week! If I wanted, I could take the train to Paris on the weekend (which as soon as I get my first paycheque here- I’m going to). I am doing something that I’ve dreamt about for years. Even with any negatives, it makes up for all of it with the fact that I’m actually here, doing it.
So there are some negatives, and positives, to my first two weeks here! How’s everyone else’s week (or two weeks) been going?