Starting a new life in England
Today we got Internet at home so here is the first post about our move from Finland to UK! We’ve been here for two weeks now but we’ve been quite busy getting settled, finding relevant stores, unpacking and repacking household items (they don’t all fit in so we’re using a storage also) and also getting sick (me) and now getting better.
I will try to summarize our own experience of moving to UK. First of all, I did not have to do anything like registering since I am currently not working and I am an EU citizen :-). That was easy! The bank account was very easy to open for Dirk. It should have been also easy for me if the bank (HSBC) would not have misplaced my paperwork. Now I redid them all and I hope I can soon get everything needed. We had to take care of utilities, ordering phone and Internet, etc. To my surprise, the BT guys were very good: they came here exactly when they said. The phone was installed last week and the Internet today. It took more than twice this time to get Internet working in Helsinki!
Some unpleasant surprise came when I wanted to get a mobile phone subscription as I need some kind of statement or utilities bill, which are harder to get so soon. Well, I hope that will also be solved soon.
Ipswich proved to be much nicer than I imagined. It’s small but has lots of stores and nice houses. We live near a big park full of trees and, what they call, British landscape (hilly lawns and trees).
The apartment where we live has a very nice back garden with birds and squirrels. The weather has been exceptionally good. Sunny every day and nice temperatures. The spring is here beautiful. When we came here we could not believe that in a few days the outlook can change so much: Helsinki was still brownish-dusty and cold and here it was all just leaves and flowers. Amazing!
Our move to UK from Finland went actually through Romania, as we have to leave the cats with my parents for the next 5 months. The cats survived very well the flying experience but were very confused by the change of place. It seems that now are getting used to the new place. We spent just a day and a half in Bucharest (which was also in full spring) before we flied to London, rent a car and drove to Ipswich. Dirk has been driving now twice British cars and, since last week, our own European car. Unlike various panic-ed opinions we saw before on the web or heard, there seems to be no problem to drive in UK, no matter where the steering wheel is. The easiest is on the highway, as not too much is different.
On smaller roads you have to be a bit more careful but mainly because Brits love roundabouts!!! I have never in my life saw 2-3 roundabouts one after another (i.e., connected to each other). Even if you look on the right side it’s just getting too much to figure out where to go plus figure out that you have another roundabout starting before the other one finished!
Anyway, the traffic was very civilized from London to Ipswich. They have really good markings on the street, with big and clear arrows. Cars passed only on the right, unlike in US where you get cars passing from both sides.
We did not really have too much shopping trips at bigger malls, as we did not have the Internet to help us search. (Life without Internet was quite bad, I have to say. It’s amazing how much I got to depend on it!) However, we did go to some computer and appliances stores and they reminded me of US in terms of choices. If felt good to have again lots of choices 🙂
Overall, the move went very smooth. Our things came really fast this time, so we had to stay with an empty house only for 1 week. This was a huge improvement over our move to Finland where we had to wait for more than a month… We enjoy it here and look
forward to start looking for a house closer to London and start some London trips in the near future.
So, we did not miss Helsinki too much. We had a nice time there but we did not take the decision lightly so we know we did the right thing. Plus, it’s nice to be able to understand what people talk about on the street. It’s true, we had big problems in understanding some dialects we heard around but it can be done. The only weird thing was me not having a job. It’s hard to describe how I feel, but sometimes it seems like all I’ve done and learned over these years got out of my head during these past weeks when I did not do any work anymore. Then, when I discuss, read or think of something again I realize I still remember everthing but I definitely need to get back to daily intelectual job soon. I am clearly not housewife material 🙂 We’ll see what’s in store for me in the future. I will start exploring the options soon.
For now, on Wednesday we leave again to Romania for a week. We miss the cats 🙂