Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Moving to England

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was offered a teaching job in England, which is why I’m currently living in Greater London. I got the big news on the 17th of November that I was due to start my training on the 5th of January. Wanting to have enough time to find a flat, I bought my plane ticket for the 27th of December, leaving me with less than a month and a half to orchestrate my move to the UK. 

First thing I had to do was to get my visa so that I’d be allowed to work in the UK. I visited the UK Visas & Immigration website in order to start the application process. I had to register an account, fill out the application, set an appointment to submit my application and supporting documents, as well as submit my biometrics (digital fingerprint scans). What was really frustrating was that there are only 4 full-time centres in Canada and 2 part-time centres. This meant that I had to fly all the way to Toronto for a 15 minute appointment. 

I had actually never gone to Toronto before and because I was just there for the day, I didn't really know what to do, so I basically spent the entire day walking up and down Bloor Street, drooling at the gorgeous shop and boutique windows. I went in early December, so everything was decorated for the Holidays which was quite amazing and very festive!

Once the appointment was done and over with, all there was left to do was wait. I was due to leave for the UK on the 27th of December and even with a rushed application, the whole process could take a few weeks, so I was quite stressed over the fact of whether or not I'd be getting my visa on time. Thankfully though, roughly ten days after my visit to Toronto, I had it in my hands. 

What came next? Finding a flat. I will tell you this right now: finding a flat in Greater London is NOT an easy thing to do from abroad. I spent days and weeks scouting websites such as Right Move and Zoopla, but every time I would ring agencies, I was told that the apartments had already been rented... even though they had just been placed online that very same day. After many unsuccessful calls and countless emails, Shane (who was doing the same thing from Ireland) and I decided to simply wait until were in England to look for a place. We figured we'd have better luck by simply walking into a letting agency and asking them about what they had available at that very moment. 

Finally, once the stress of finding a place to live was put to rest (for the time being), I had one last huge task to take care of... packing.  Now, I have packed what feels like a gazillion times in the past few years. With my many travels, and moving countries and all that, I was under the impression that I should be a master of packing by now. However, this time around, it was simply not working out. I am not exaggerating when I say that I worked on packing for over two weeks. I would pack everything, take everything out again, re-pack, change suitcases, got a new one... It was crazy! 

However, despite all the running around I had to do, the paperwork I had to fill, the packing situation I had to go through, I was able to get on that plane on the 27th to make my way to meet up with my fiancé (whom I had not seen in 8 weeks as he was home in Ireland!) at our new home. After about a month and a half of stress, I was finally able to take a breath of relief as I was heading towards a new experience, knowing that I had done everything that needed to be done. From that moment on, I was on my way to a new adventure and I could not wait for it to begin. 

Winning the race against the sun, heading to Toronto.
Beautiful Toronto in the morning.
On my way to London!
From inside an 18 passenger plane for the first part of the flight... So scary!
So close to Cork!
Go home plane, you're drunk!

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