Yesterday I have completed 7 months living in London! I haven’t left the UK since I’ve arrived and right now I can’t wait for my week vacation in Portugal for Christmas! I have never been away from home for such a long period of time, in the beginning it was very hard and I questioned my decision of moving many times. It is very hard to arrive to a new country not knowing anything about the systems and bureaucracies and having to take care of everything in a week to start working in the next one! I had already found a place to live because a couple of weeks before moving I came with my boyfriend on that mission and even though it ended up very well it was a hard battle! The house hunt took us a lot of energy, many viewing appointments cancelled on the last minute, many hours and pounds spent travelling from one point of the city to the very opposite one, many terrible places and some good expensive ones. When we were almost losing our hope and starting to consider moving into a room for a start, we visited a couple of apartments with a real state agent which showed us our current apartment. It is a small studio but quite recent with modern furniture and basically with everything we could ask for on a starting point. It is based on a very cosy village near Greenwich which means we are surrounded by such green fields full of fresh grass and lots of nature that made us feel like we aren’t living in such a big stressful city! To keep this apartment, since we didn’t even have a bank account here we had to pay 6 months in advance!! This was very hard for us and it would had been impossible if we didn’t have some savings we could apply on this. Since we had no doubt that moving would be the right step for us we closed the deal and here we are! After this we went back to Portugal to pack everything and after 2 weeks I moved on my own since my boyfriend still had some things to take care of before moving. And that was the hard part, basically I moved and had to learn everything mainly on my own, having a second battle when I tried to open a bank account. They really don’t make our lives any easy when it comes to start building our lives here. To open a bank account you first need to get you National Insurance Number (NIN), without it it’s not even worth trying opening a bank account. Believe me because I have tried it anyway for several weeks, while waiting for my NIN which took about a month to arrive. I was worried about it because even though I didn’t have to worry about the rent for half a year, I still had bills to pay and mainly I had to be able to get my pay check at the end of the month. Luckily my NIN arrived just a couple of days before the company had to issue the pay check and everything was solved! I have really struggled with these matters in the beginning, they made me feel powerless and completely dislocated. Fortunately after 2 months my boyfriend has finally moved and all this weight I felt on me started to become lighter as the time went through.
Right now I feel settled, the fact that I have a cousin that was already living here for several years has been a huge help. He introduced me to some of his friends and we are all frequently hanging out and having fun as honestly I didn’t use to do as often when I was in Portugal. I have always been the kind of person that would easily spend a whole day at home on my own resting or enjoying a good tv show, or dedicating myself to the laundry or other home tasks. Even though I have a blast when I go out and spend time with some friends I also enjoy having some time to chill doing whatever I feel like doing at that moment.
So right now, 27 days away from going back home for a week that’s all I can think about. I am trying to figure out how am I going to have time to do everything I want to do! It will be such a busy week, but I am really looking forward to it!