I have been talking and thinking about doing it for years, and as one of the most irritating things is when people say they will do something but don’t actually do it, I had to just do it. And so I have. That’s a good enough reason to do something, right? To not be a hypocrite? I mean of course it is a beautiful city and I am very excited to be here, but the final push was just the thought that I keep talking about doing it, moving, so I should do it.
I mean, what I have done, is flown to Scotland and rented an Airbnb for two weeks. The actual living here process might take some time. I need a flat, but many agencies only want to rent to those with jobs, but to get a job, I need a flat for address etc. I feel a bit like a chicken and egg situation, and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do things. And I have 12 more days to do it in, before visiting France! Yep good timing. But maybe this time crunch will be good.
In case anybody is interested, this is what has happened in Scotland so far: I flew with Air Transat from Vancouver direct to Glasgow, where I got on a bus to the bus station in Glasgow, bus to Edinburgh bus station, and then taxi to the Airbnb. Everything went very smoothly and was perfectly timed, up until the last stretch. Construction around Edinburgh bus station was confusing, and I ended up on the main road, not the taxi spot. I kept walking anyways, as the fresh air was waking me up (I fell asleep on the bus, as I slept no more than 15 minutes on the plane). Turns out it was not waking me up enough, and I did not consult my map at a critical point and ended up 15 minutes away from the city bus stop that I needed. A 15 minute walk in normal conditions is perfectly fine, however not so fine when you have two heavy suitcases and a mostly uphill walk. After struggling for a few minutes and wondering what to do, how to get taxi, I found an area of the road that was labelled taxi, in front of a pub of course. I was trying to connect to wi-fi to order a taxi, when one stopped in front of me. Guess I looked sad and desperate enough. It was good timing, and 10 minutes later I was at the Airbnb.
I chose a private room in an Airbnb because it is the cheapest option for what I needed. I did not want to stay in a hostel with all my luggage, and especially not for two whole weeks. A hotel gets pricey, especially if you want a decent one. However on Airbnb, there are many rooms to rent that are in nice flats, that include a kitchen. I am staying in a flat that has three bedrooms and a large well stocked kitchen. The only downside is that it is on the third floor (up three flights of stairs. So fourth floor in North America?) and getting suitcases up was a pain. Not looking forward to bringing them down.
Even after going across the Atlantic so many times, jetlag is still such a pain. I took a nap basically as soon as I got in to my room, and just watched tv the rest of the evening. The second day was much more exciting. My number one priority is getting a flat. I walked into many rental agencies, asking if they would consider renting to someone who doesn’t have a job, and only about half of them said yes. And of those half, half had suitable flats for me. Not as good as I’d blissfully hoped, but I did arrange one flat viewing for the next day.
When I moved to Lampeter five years ago, I was able to get a basic bank account as a student. I opened one with Lloyd’s Bank for no particular reason, and have had the account since. There are no Lloyd’s Bank in Scotland, however there is the Bank of Scotland, which along with Lloyd’s Bank and I think Halifax, are part of Lloyd’s Banking Group. I was able to then switch my account from Lloyd’s to Bank of Scotland, being helped by someone whom I did not understand his accent all of the time. There are many different Scottish accents, and I can understand many of them, but he was a little difficult sometimes. Still, I was able to switch the account, and next week I should have my card. So one important step done. Next, I needed a phone number. My phone is unlocked, and so I just got a SIM that is good for one month, but I would like to get a new phone eventually.
A few months ago during Google researching, I found a temp agency and I got a very nice and prompt reply when I inquired. I was getting tired and unsure what to do with the rest of my afternoon, as I had done the bank, done the phone, and I was getting tired of agencies saying no, so I Googled the temp agency and it was only a 5 minute walk away from where I was, so I stopped by. (Side note – Google maps is amazing and I would be perpetually lost without it). She was so nice in person, and I booked an appointment for the very next day. So for day two, I had a flat viewing and work help!
As I write this, it is the end of day two, and I am so so tired. Jet lag is you not falling asleep till 2am, but waking up at 6am and not being able to go back to sleep. But I had appointments to go to, so I got up and went to the temp agency first. We went over my resume a bit, which I really need to edit, and they had me do a typing test. Turns out I can type at 62 wpm, although I think that could be a little bit higher, I had not typed in days and took a couple minutes to find my rhythm. Excuses excuses, seems like 62 is a pretty good number. I need to update my resume, and I will go see her next week.
Next was the flat viewing. I got there ridiculously early (almost 45 minutes) so was able to wander the area a little bit…and it’s definitely not my favourite. Nothing explicitly wrong with it, just nothing great with it either. Several boarded-up shops around is not a great ambience. The flat itself was quite nice, a 1 bedroom place, but the location is really important, so I won’t be applying for it. I then found another rental agency, this one has five flats that look nice, so I have booked several flat viewings within the next week. It was mid afternoon at that point, and I proceeded to spend one hour in Café Nero with just a mint tea scrolling the Internet. Far too tired to do anything else. I then went to Nando’s and bussed back to the Airbnb. And decided to write this really rambly blog post to feel semi productive. Probably should have written a Radar Hill blog post instead, but this one might be read more. Insert emoji here.
I feel too tired to properly enjoy the city just yet, however the castle is absolutely stunning. If you aren’t awed by it, you have no soul. A cliff with a castle on one side, and a bustling Georgian street on the other, is so magical. So so far there have been positive results. I will really try to keep this blog updated, sort of like a public diary, it will hopefully be a nice record to have.