Another Friday, another weekly update on life across the pond! This week has been fairly quiet (at least travel wise), as I’m still settling in. Here’s what I’ve been up to this week:
Still waiting for a bank account…
I almost can’t even talk about this anymore, the process has been so frustrating. But it will be at least 4 weeks from applying for a bank account that I will actually get my debit card and be able to access money from a UK bank account. It’s been 2.5 weeks since I applied and they haven’t even opened my goddamn account. I have had to go to the bank and chase them up about this twice now (since I have received absolutely no communication from the bank since applying for a bank account), and I am so so SO unimpressed and unamused. I am trying to accept that this is not America and things run at a different pace here, but honestly it’s just ridiculous. Something as vital and necessary to life as a bank account should never take this long.
Still waiting for a job
Yep, still unemployed! I’m still applying for jobs, every day. I have two applications for jobs I really want close this week, so fingers crossed I hear back something good in the next few weeks!
I’m all registered with the NHS—aka free* health insurance!
The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s healthcare system, and while it’s free for all the Brits, I had to pay £600 (or $801) as part of my visa application to get access to it for 2.5 years. It’s a new charge the government put in place in an effort to clamp down on medical tourism (where people visit Britain and access their healthcare, which will be cheaper/more affordable from where the person actually lives). So while it’s not really free for me, it is basically free healthcare and I will never pay a co-pay again!!! (People here don’t even know what co-pays are!!!) I was actually already in the system, since I registered with the NHS when I was a student in Nottingham (for free, before the healthcare surcharge was enacted), I just never used it. So all I had to do was register with a clinic in York, no passport/BRP/paperwork required. It’ll be a very interesting experience, and a huge change from what I’m used to.
WE HAVE A DRYER!!!!!!!!
Adam and I bit the bullet and bought a dryer. Getting it delivered on Tuesday may have been the single most important thing to happen in my life this week. Seriously, how do people in England survive without dryers?!?! I can understand why dryers aren’t a thing in Spain—it’s warm and sunny and everyone just hangs their clothes outside on a clothesline to dry. I get that. But it is damp and rains all the time in England?! How do people survive hang drying everything they own here?! But the important thing is that I have a dryer now, so I don’t have to find out!
The National Railway Museum is THE SHIT
I might not be the biggest train nerd out there, but let’s just say I love trains and the National Railway Museum was one of the coolest places I’ve been! The museum is huge, with a Station Hall with tons of old trains (including Queen Victoria’s carriage!!!), and a Great Hall with even more trains. It’s an incredibly well-done museum, a great day out, and best of all, it’s free! One more reason to visit York!
I think my St. Paul blog post went kind of viral?
I logged on a few days ago to find that my blog had a shit ton of blog views—all on my post about the Top 20 Things to Do in St. Paul. It didn’t take much searching before I realized that Visit Saint Paul had shared my post, and the hits just kept coming in! It was really cool to see so many people sharing it and to know that lots of people were reading my post. Minnesota will always be home for me, so I’m thrilled that this happened with a post that has so much heart in it.
I’m trying to be really productive blog-wise
I have a long list of blog posts that I want to write and have been meaning to write for weeks (or months). I’m trying to get started on whittling that list down while I still have so much free time on my hands! So I’m hoping to post a lot in the next few weeks—keep checking back for new posts!
The Cubs winning the World Series has really made me miss America
I’ve always been a Minnesota Twins fan when it comes to baseball. But the Chicago Cubs breaking the curse and winning their first World Series since 1908 made me miss baseball and America so much. My Grandpa Carl was a huge Cubs fan, and anything with the Cubs always makes me think of him. He once had a stroke at a big family party and later joked in the hospital, “I just wanted to get out of the party so I could watch the Cubs game.” This World Series win was for him and I wish he could have been here to see it!
I have two friends visiting me in January!
This one was a bit of a shocker for me—but two of my best friends are coming to England in January! While it stresses me out a bit that I don’t have a job yet (and therefore don’t know if/when I’ll be able to take any time off to hang out with them), I am literally so excited. I can’t wait to see them in England, take them around York, show off my city, and take them to my favorite pubs! Regardless of jobs/plans/timing, I know it’ll be so much fun. I can’t wait.
I leave for Edinburgh on Monday!
I have a quick 2-day trip to Edinburgh early next week, and I’m so excited! Not only do I get to meet up with one of my best friends, but I get to go back to Edinburgh, which I really liked from my trip three years ago. Scotland is one of the places I want to spend lots of time exploring, since there’s just so much to see there and I live decently close to the border now. There’s lots more that I want to do and see in Edinburgh, and hopefully my photos from this time around will be much better!
Weekends are pretty much booked up until Christmas
What with a few trips and friends visiting, pretty much all of my weekends are booked until Christmas. I’m desperately trying to find a cheap way to get to London the first weekend in December—but train tickets from York are astronomical (~£65 for a return). We’ll see what happens, but I intend to make it back to my favorite city before the end of the year!
My Christmas plans—Poland and Ukraine!
Perhaps the most exciting news…Christmas plans are booked! Adam and I have been very hesitant about booking anything, since we wanted to wait until I had a job and knew more of what time off I’d have. But since there’s nothing new on the job front, and any job I’d be starting probably wouldn’t be starting until December anyways, we decided to just book it while we still can. We’re off to Poland and Ukraine for a little less than two weeks! The plan is to spend Christmas in Warsaw, a city I visited in April 2014 but am very excited to return to, then head to Lviv, Ukraine (probably via Lublin in Poland) for a few days. We’ll head back to Poland and spend New Year’s Eve in Krakow with a friend (who will be home for the holidays) before heading back to England.
Poland is one of my favorite countries and a place I’ve been dying to go back to. Warsaw definitely deserves more exploring (and will be amazing to spend Christmas in such a Catholic country), and Lviv is both a new city and a new country, but being so far west it’s safe and far removed from any conflict going on in Eastern Ukraine. And Krakow is beautiful and I’m sure will make for one hell of a New Year’s Eve party. It will definitely be a low-cost budget trip simply because of where we’re going, which is a lot less stress about money. Bring it on—I can’t wait!
What has your week been like? Do you have plans for Christmas? Let me know in the comments!
Catch up on previous posts!