May 15

Thanks to a racing mind, I did not sleep well last night. We had a 10am appointment to view a house to rent around 20 minutes away but since we had no idea where we were going we gave ourselves an hour to get there. Good thing, too, because it took us almost an hour to find the place. The agent wasn’t there yet when we pulled up so we drove down the street to find the “village centre”. We looked at the house and it was just a great in person as online, the price was right and it came with a fully equipped kitchen (not the norm for rental properties in the UK). We asked the agent where to sign and she seemed pretty shocked by that.

After checking with the landlord to make sure they accepted pets, the leasing agent called us and said we could come by to sign the applications for the house. While signing the paperwork she informed us that the landlord was willing to leave it fully furnished for no additional money – wahoo!! At this point in the day I still hadn’t heard from one of the people in the ED at the base like I was expecting. I called and spoke with one of the PA’s there who was super nice and helpful. We set up a time to meet the next day so I could get started on obtaining my security clearance, computer access, base access and all the logistics taken care of so I can actually work and see patients. As we were getting off the phone he told me it could take a while to get it all done and to “be patient”. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long – I’m only guaranteed to be here for 4.5 months!

Next on the list to check off: getting UK cellphones. We drove about 30 miles away to the closest “big city” because we were told the prices and options would be better there. Got lost along the way (becoming a very common occurrence unfortunately) and had to use GPS on our US cellphones to find our way. Shortly after C got a text from AT&T telling us our international data usage was high and they would shut off all data if we didn’t call. A few stressful phone calls later, we found out between the two of us in about 24 hours we had racked up $500 worth of roaming charges – seriously?!? Apparently they charge $20 per MB abroad…um, yeah. Thankfully they offered us a deal where you get 120 MB international roaming data for $30 per month and they could retroactively apply it to our account. Cue huge sigh of relief. We also found the cell phone shop only to be told we couldn’t get a contract plan because we have no UK bank account or proof of residency (i.e. UK ID or utility bill). Oy vey! After leaving and talking about it we realized they offered “top-up” or pay-as-you-go plans, so maybe we could do that! We popped into a different cell phone shop and much to our delight found we could just purchase a SIM card, put GBP 10 credit on it and have text, data and phone usage. We were able to unlock C’s US phone and use the new SIM card – success!!

We stopped for a late lunch at a really cute restaurant with excellent food and tea then finally made our way back to the hotel for the day. Between picking up the car at 3 pm yesterday and getting back to the hotel today 6pm we put about 170 miles on the car. Let’s hope that trend slows down, we only have a 300 mile/week allowance on the car.

Tomorrow I’m meeting with people at the base bright and early in the morning. Here’s hoping everything goes smoothly!