Lest you think I spend all my time gallivanting around London, let me update you on the painful process of setting up house as an expat in London.
We felt completely cut off from any form of communication and needed to set up banking, cell phone and internet service. We are luckier than most, as we had some assistance from The Mister’s company obtaining visas and organizing the move process. I’ve done it independently in the past and having someone handle part of the process is a huge plus.
Our most immediate need upon arrival in London was money, banking, paying for important things, etc. Due to US/UK banking and immigration restrictions, we are required to bank with a particular institution that required the most amazing amount of detailed information…Blah blah, endless documentation and red tape, and then…success! The bank assured us we would have banking pins and debit cards within three weeks. Three weeks?
Our next step was to set up cell phone, phone and internet service since we had no way to communicate with the outside world at this point. Two cell phones (not fancy) and a monthly service contract required a 2 hour visit to the o2 store and a £600 deposit since we didn’t have a UK credit rating. US credit ratings, no matter how spectacular have zero application here. At least we had phones!! With international minutes! We really weren’t inspired to have landline service here, but needed it if you wanted internet service. Eh? Turns out, internet is provided through DSL! service (cable isn’t available), which requires a landline phone. Waiting time for service installation? Three weeks. We became habitue’ of Cafe Nero and its free internet.
Cable/Satellite tv? You guessed it. 3 weeks. It’s. Just. So. Painful. Argghhhh.
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