For those relocating to London, I’m continuing to share my personal journal on first moving to London in 2008 (see the previous posts starting from here). These entries were actually written after my first month living in London, but retroactively cover what those initial few weeks were like…and while not the most chronological of records, I’m trying to keep it consistent by topic. My first post kicked off with my experience of those first lazy days staying in short-term accommodation in London…which ended up being longer-term than we’d expected thanks to how long it took to search London apartments on our own without the help of a London relocation agent(never again!):
Basically every night has been a night out at some pub or restaurant given that we’ve only recently acquired a kitchen and still need to do some grocery shopping. I tried to subsist during my days at the hotels on granola and fig bars, Nutella, bread, and bananas (and then the countless croissants I’ve eaten almost daily), so am now looking forward to some real homemade meals (hmm…therein lies the challenge…). I suppose I should mention that we shifted down the street to the Premier Inn on Knaresborough for our 3rd week to change things up a bit. Wise decision. Our room was much bigger, warmer, and overall more accommodating, and, better yet, we didn’t have to face the reception staff of Enterprise anymore. That was getting so old, leaving and retrieving the key at their desk, getting called after constantly to settle the bill when I myself had no power to do so sans credit card (I cut them all up prior to coming here…a test in spending control) and Ryan (the one with the credit card and UK debit card) for whatever reason was free to go each morning unhindered. Those women were just so smug…not like the friendly staff at Premier, who so kindly stored all our shite that one day to free us up for a mini-weekend trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Ha, I’d totally forgotten about how bitter I got toward the hotel staff :). Not their fault, really, it just compounded my feelings of vulnerability in being so limited in so many ways those first weeks. As if it’s not unsettling enough to not yet have a place to call home, where there’s no credit history, there’s no credit card either. My husband and I lived here about a year before we finally got our UK credit cards after, logically, establishing some UK credit. And though my husband was issued his debit card by our bank straightaway, his second-class citizen of an accompanying spouse had to jump through hoops and wait several weeks to get hers. Grrr!! Yes, I still had my American debit card, but, as I said above, no credit cards, which I suppose was my fault, but I was trying to be responsible in leaving any and all U.S. balances at ZERO once we moved and I was unemployed in the UK for a while.
A huge section I’ve skipped over in my journal here related to night after night out with our friends. Needless to say, as isolated as my first weeks as a London expat did feel, we had a surprising number of friends from the States who already lived here or were traveling through on business. Paths criss-cross like mad, I swear, so please read my post “This is Your London Life” for a glimpse of the surreal interconnectedness this city can offer just when you’re fearing a London move will sever your ties!