Thursday, August 10, 2006

Getting settled in London

Things are going very well here, I arrived safely despite the London terror threat (there had to be a benefit to getting up at 4am and flying a no-frills airline into Gatwick!) and managed to survive 2 hours of tube to finally reach Fulham.

Then I went to the HSBC branch to open up a student account. To my surprise, it was opened on the spot and I can now transfer funds to the UK. This will be very helpful for the flat search. Before that, I also went into the Royal Bank of Scotland branch to see what my dormant account from my student days was doing (I never got around to closing it when I left the UK in 2004). I thought I only had 3 pounds left but it turned out I had 7 pounds left so I treated myself to a Cafe Latte and a Smoothie in Costa Coffee :-).

I also have a UK mobile already. Before flying in, I ordered a SIM card from O2, so there it was waiting for me this morning. For pay as you go contract they definitely offer the best deals, great bolt-ons (something similar to package contracts but much more flexible) and also, if you top up at least GBP10 per month (which is easy) you get 50min calling time for free. So it means for just 10 pounds per month you can have 50min and 100 sms, without having to sign a contract. This is the deal I used when I studied in the UK.

I also picked up my student ID this afternoon. The LBS building was deserted. Thanks, Hobbes, for the advice about the photo for the ID. Something is wrong with the camera these days though, the photo is really dark, but it seems to be the case with everyone, so I think they have to retake them for those of us who came in early.

So with all these things done, I'm almost hoping I don't find a flat too soon. What am I going to do here for three weeks???? ;-))). Just joking, luckily London is not a boring place at all and there will be plenty to do. But seriously, all I have scheduled for the next 3 weeks is viewing flats, meeting friends and going to the pub every evening, pretty easy going schedule.

Now I'm off to a pub in Notting Hill and then will head to view my first flat. I have another appointment to view a flat on Saturday morning in Bayswater. Things are going well, lots of offers coming out on accomodation and there's plenty of time, so I'm not worried at all. After almost a year of counting down, London life has started very well :-).