Setting up in a new country sucks. I’m not going to sugar coat it because it does. There’s no way to get around it; it’s bureaucratic nightmare and this year it just seems that the nightmare is never going to end.
We kicked off September by arriving in Leeds and despite some wicked jetlag, we hit the ground running. Within that first week we’d secured a brand new flat in the city centre (brilliant!), we’d picked up our BRP cards (yay for being allowed to legally work and stay!), and we’d even made a friend or two (hooray!). Everything was coming up Kate and Dave until it wasn’t.
Immediately after signing our tenancy agreement we beelined it to the nearest internet provider in hopes of setting up our account so we’d have very few internet-less days after moving into the new flat. We chatted with a very nice guy who offered us an unreal package—seriously, we thought he was making a mistake it was so cheap and we totally had one of those start the car moments (and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll let Youtube explain). We were practically throwing our credit card at him when it all came to screeching halt.
This reader-friends is the exact moment where our luck changed, and September started to suck.
Apparently, to sign up for an internet package here in the UK, they need to run a credit check (why, I do not know or understand, but I can’t fight the system, so…), and in order to run a credit check they needed a bank account. A bank account that we did not have. It didn’t matter that we don’t have credit in the UK, they still need to run the check, so we needed a bank account ASAP.
At this point, we were still optimistic. So we found the nearest Barclays, filled out all the forms and were told we could come back on Monday to finish our enrollment. Well, as I said in my Settling into Leeds post, that did not happen. We didn’t have the proper proof of address document (apparently tenancy agreements are no longer accepted) so we weren’t able to set-up an account and then we found out that because we’re not here permanently that we wouldn’t even be eligible.
So, we were stuck. And, we’ve pretty much been stuck ever since.
For the last two weeks, it seems that new problems reveal themselves each day, everything from our building not being properly registered so we weren’t getting any mail (further delaying that oh-so-necessary proof of address) to not being able to turn on our oven (which was only a user error this week). It was a myriad of little things, but combine them all and it was annoying as hell.
But, we persevered, we pushed forward, and we drowned our sorrows in a pint or two. And, slowly but surely, things are falling into place.
We managed to find a bank that didn’t require proof of address because we are Canadians (thank you Commonwealth) and are anxiously awaiting the day when our cards arrive, and we ca finally sign up for home internet.
In the meantime, I’m very thankful that free wifi is readily available in Leeds, including at the public library. Every day for these past couple weeks, I’ve started my day by packing my bag, grabbing a coffee and waddling down to the library to reconnect with the world. I’ve spent hours in that library writing, reading, and applying for jobs. It’s not as nice as being curled up on my couch, but it’s better than nothing.
Throughout the month I’ve tried to stay upbeat, but it can be hard to every day look for the positives and the silver lining when you feel like you’re being shat on left-right-and-centre. More than a few times I completely forgotten all of my tips and reminders for expats and have completely given into all the feelings and have thrown myself a pity party or two.
But every morning I wake up with a new sense of hope – maybe today will be the day. And, although it usually isn’t, I do know that that day will be here soon. Because, even though setting up in a new country sucks, it all eventually works itself out
- Leeds, UK
Distance Travelled: 0km – but this is misleading because I’ve definitely walked the length of this city more than a few times.
- The Ups & Downs of Expat Life: Settling into Leeds
- First Impressions of Leeds
- My Travel Bucket List: Leeds
- My Travel Bucket List: The United Kingdom + Ireland
- Celebrate Oktoberfest Outside of Germany
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What I Read
I wasn’t reading a lot at the beginning of the month. We were staying in a hotel that had more than a few channels that played reruns of cheesy American cop dramas, which clearly we had to watch each night before bed. But, once we moved into our flat and there was no TV and no internet to distract me, I turned to my KOBO and haven’t looked back.
The Nest was a funny, heartwarming and riveting novel about four adult siblings, their family dynamics and the fate of a massive inheritance that has shaped their lives and decisions in so many ways.
This book had me hooked right from page one and made my extreme case of jet lag bearable – I don’t normally like reading until 5 AM, but when a book is this good… It was a funny and touching read. The author did a great job of introducing each character and by the end of the book I really felt like I knew each and every one of them; which made the ending a shock, as it was unconventional, but so true to character.
A collection of short stories and diary entries, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo was not at all the book I was expecting from comedienne Amy Schumer. I’ve seen her stand-up, I’ve watched many episodes of Inside Amy Schumer, so I thought I knew what I was getting, but I was wrong.
This book was deeply personal, with Schumer sharing stories about losing her virginity (which wasn’t consensual) and her mother’s affair, in addition to sharing stories about her career and life as a comedienne on the road. Most chapters started off really funny, but with each page, the story would shift into something overly personal or sad, and would usually end on a preachy note. I understand that Schumer’s thing is to give it to you straight, but after a while, I just wanted a funny story that didn’t end in a tragedy or a lesson.
I am hooked on Liane Moriarty’s books. Last year I devoured Big Little Lies and this month I blew through The Husband’s Secret in less than a week. And then, immediately after turning that last page I went and put two of her other books on hold. I don’t know what it is, but I love ’em!
Please refer to Goodreads for an accurate and spoiler free recap (because I’m having a really hard time not giving anything away):
Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. . . .
Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret.
As I said in the beginning, I breezed through this book; I literally couldn’t put it down. I enjoyed getting to know each character and guessing at what would connect all three women. I will admit, I did figure out the secret fairly early on, but that didn’t ruin the book in any way, as Moriarty wrote an ending that could never have been predicted.
CURRENTLY READING: The Nightingale
I started reading The Nightingale a few months back but wasn’t able to finish it before the ebook was due at the library. It was just at the point where the book was getting really good, and since then I’ve been waiting until the day that I can dig back in.
The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters in France during WWII who risk their lives to help save the lives of others. It’s an interesting story of sisterhood, bravery and doing what you need to survive.
For the first time in a long time, we have nothing planned: no travels or adventures on the horizon, not even a day trip. It’s odd, but given how long it’s taken (and continues to take) to get settled, it’s probably for the best that we’re not jetting off somewhere.
But who knows what October will bring.
There are more than a few events here in the city I want to check out (like Light Nights Leeds) and I imagine a day trip or two will pop up. So even though the calendar might be blank at the moment, I know by that October has the makings to be a great and exciting month.
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Tell me, what does October have in store for you?
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