My blog - October 2006

A Hunting We Have Gone

October 24th 2006, 3:25pm

I envy my husband one thing right now...

A fast internet connection while he's at work! Right now we only have dial-up, so my blogging has been sparse at best. For all of you who read this once in a while to see if I've bothered to type anything in, here's a little something. (Oh, and if you have a blog of your own, I do keep an eye on everyone's blogs, but my limited internet has stopped me from responding much. Apologies!)

The last three weeks have flown by. Amazingly enough, that's how long I've been in England. Shocking, innit? And the vocabulary is coming back. Of course, there are discussions as to pronounciation (I maintain there is an audible difference between "car" and "Ka" as in Ford Ka!) and I've discovered how to pronounce British place names. Just remove a third of the letters, and you've probably got it! Leicester is Lester, Gloucester is Gloster, car is ca... Sorry, I just couldn't resist. James says we drop letters too. I explained that we don't, we just pronounce them differently because of the French influence. Herbs are erbs for instance. I may lose the battle on that one, but I shan't surrender! HA!

Um, yes, so where was I? Ah, being in Britain. I've been meeting quite a few of James' friends, but haven't met them all yet. Several of them have had us over for a meal as well, so that's been nice (tasty, too!). I'm really looking forward to returning the favour. Which I'll soon be able to do, but more on that later!

I haven't had the type of adventures I usually would when travelling, since this is my new home. But I have had an interesting thing or two.

When I received my visa, I was told in the letter that I needed to get a National Insurance number once I arrived in the UK. So I looked on the internet to see who to call in Coventry to get it. On the webpage for those who need to apply for an NI number it said:

If you are applying for assistance for you or for your partner, please contact your nearest JobCentre.

If you are looking for work, starting to work, are self-employed (and one other thing I forget), phone this number.

I phoned the number. When I finally got through the phone queue, the woman asked me why I was calling. To get an NI number, I replied.

To this she asked me why I needed an NI number. I have recently moved to the UK and do not have one and need one, I replied.

Are you currently working?, she asked. No, I need a number so that I can work, said I.

Are you seeking work?, she asked. I thought to myself, What part of this is she not understanding? The letter told me to get a number, I need a number to work, I cannot get work without a number, she should know this, she works here!. Instead I calmly said, No, I have not yet begun to search for work, I was under the understanding that I could not work without an NI number.

Oh, no, she told me, you can work without an NI number. Oh, thank you! I responded

Would you like to book the appointment to get your NI number now?, she asked. I was about to reply yes when she told me that in the interview they would ask for a few things. They would want proof that I was searching for work. Such proof would be two letters. They could state either I was rejected or invited for an interview. And a proof of address, such as a bill or rental agreement. So I said I would book the appointment at a later date.

Now the second is easy enough to provide. But in Canada, the first thing is only requested of people going on welfare. And considering that the number I called was a JobCentre call centre, I was wondering if she had been confused as to why I needed the number. Perhaps she thought I was seeking welfare? (Which I'm not, and couldn't, even if I wanted to, my visa doesn't allow it!). I spoke to several Brits about the call, and they all agreed it was odd and perhaps she had been confused. So I'm planning to go in to a JobCentre personally to make sure I can talk to someone face-to-face. One girl I talked to said that her workplace won't even accept applications if the individual doesn't have an NI number. And several people have backed that statement. So who knows? I'll update you once I've unravelled the curiousities of British NI numbers!

Now, the news I have to tell you. For those of you who also frequent James' site, this won't be a surprise, he beat me to it with his workplace fast internet! We found a house to live in! I don't have pictures to post, but I will post some once we've moved in, which should be sooner rather than later. We're renting, not buying, but it's in a good area, and has enough space for us, and for guests, too!

It's got a dining room, living room, kitchen, bathroom, two double rooms (one for us, one for guests) and a loft that doubles as an office and extra guest room. And a decent sized backyard for me to muck about in, which is great!

If you didn't get the hint, that means those of you who feel an inclination to see a bit of Europe would have a place to come stay for at least part of it! We'll have at least two spare beds, and a folding bed as well, so if you are contemplating international travel, let me know! Just give me more than 48hrs notice, okay? :D

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Comment posted by Sherry at 3:25pm on October 24th 2006

What is your new address? In case I want to send a post.

Comment posted by Rach at 3:25pm on October 24th 2006

There's definitely a HUGE difference between a Ka and a car (and its not just in pronunciation - you know how I pronounce that!) Can't wait to get our Polo back!

You know you can always use our broadband here whenever you need to?

Comment posted by karina at 3:25pm on October 24th 2006

happy late birthday darling! celebrate for me :)

Comment posted by at 3:25pm on October 24th 2006

I need pictures. Please post pictures of your home. I beginning to think that James needs to provide for the needs of his young bride and get High speed internet. :) I love you guys. What is your address?

Comment posted by Rebekah at 3:25pm on October 24th 2006

Naomi, you sure have had your share of travels and experiences since Bethany, eh? That's awesome to hear. Glad you found a house. Enjoy making it feel like home.

Comment posted by Sherry at 3:25pm on October 24th 2006

We want pics! we want pics! we want pics!

How is life by the way. Finals are in full swing and i am starting to freak out! I love you!

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House Hunting

October 10th 2006, 8:49pm

We're on the prowl for a place of our own. Living with Aunt Rachel is great, but we're eager to get settled in our own little place. We've been out to look at quite a few houses to rent (end of terrace/mid terraces mainly, some semi-detached residences) so far, but nothing has been what we're looking for. Each place has made us say "well, it would be great if only..." and then whatever has been done oddly hadn't been done, or if something we wished it had instead. Which made us think that perhaps we'll try to buy sooner than we'd thought! But for now, we're looking for a house in Coventry to suit our needs in the right area (as James is rather specific about where he'd like us to live in Coventry) and with at least a few of our desired things contained in it. Of course, our shipment won't arrive from Canada for a couple of months! So wish us luck, we're off again tomorrow, and one of them looks GREAT from the outside!

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Comment posted by sharon at 8:49pm on October 10th 2006

Good luck! Can't wait till I get to do my own househunting!

Comment posted by Ellen at 8:49pm on October 10th 2006

Hello, chu! I'm sure you guys will find a great place during all your househunting. So jealous :)

Comment posted by Janelle at 8:49pm on October 10th 2006

good luck with the shopping! house hunting is both fun & frustrating...but you will find something you love - i know it! can't wait to see pics! hugs!!!!!!

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Landed Immigrant in Jolly Old England!

October 2nd 2006, 12:12pm

So last you'd heard, we were soon to be off to England via Glasgow. Our things had been packed by Tippet-Richardson (actually, we discovered some things that hadn't been packed before, so had about one more box worth) and we had to pack our clothes.

Wednesday we spent cleaning the apartment and doing our laundry so we could make sure we had everything. James still managed to forget his toothbrush, but that's ok, that's easily replaced! We went out for supper at Palatal with Colin and Aubrey and stuffed ourselves with sushi and tempura and grilled meat. Mmmmm. Grilled meat. Then it was back to the apartment to pack all those nice clean clothes into our bags, weighing said bags, packing more into the same bags, weighing them again. At one point I gave up weighing mine. I knew I was close, figured I'd be over and there was nothing I could do about it, so que sera sera!

The next morning we woke up nice and early, (considering we'd gone to bed at 3am, nine am is early!) and loaded up the van with our things. Each item we had to cross off on our list seemed to take longer than it should have, and our morning was soon eaten up. We went to Shaw to return the modem and I think I had to spend 40 minutes trying to sort out the billing with them. For some reason they figured I owed them $400 because they'd screwed up with the billing and auto payments! I finally got them down to close to the right price, I wasn't wasting anymore time with them for $20 bucks difference! Then we zipped off to Chinook to spend what was left of our wedding gift cards since there are no Sears or Bay stores in England! Four ramikins later (and the duvet cover we'd been trying to get for months being held at Market Mall Bay for us) we were off to my bank to close that account. Luckily that went fast and easy, and James took care of some other errands while I closed the account. Zoom! Off in the car again to pick up the duvet (a bit of a gong show there, trying to find where they'd held the duvet, and then I needed James to pay, what I'd figured out was wrong because I had the wrong amount for the gift card in my brain, so I had to leave it at a customer service counter I thought he could find easily, but then it turned out not easy... Gong show. I really need a gong!) and then it was nearly a direct trip to the airport. We'd called Tippet Richardson ahead of time, so we were able to just dump the remainder of the stuff (including duvet cover and ramikins) at the reception area, and blitz to the airport.

Now, I've been told I have a horseshoe stowed somewhere inside my person, that I have a full-time guardian angel staff (not one, a whole staff), that I'm lucky... Be whatever it may, God was looking out for us again!

We arrived to the airport a half hour later than we should have, and checked all our bags with Zoom. I'm not sure if we confused the lady or if she was just being nice or what, but we checked the following:

*One box of skates each (these are allowed for free, don't count in weight, according to Zoom policy each passenger can have one sports equipment item for free)

*My violin and James' guitar (these are allowed for free, don't count in weight, according to Zoom policy each passenger can have one musical instrument for free)

*My wedding dress in a garment bag (which as per Zoom policy goes for free)

*My green massive luggage as full as it goes and my yellowy orange backpack that has gone all around the world with me. The combination of these two bags came to 29.9 kg, I was allowed 20 kg. We weren't charged for any overweight baggage.

*James' large blue backpack was stuffed to the gunnels, and was around 20.6 kg or so. He wasn't charged for any overweight baggage either!

Oh yeah, and then my carry on was 3.3 kg overweight as well. The fact that I mentioned to the lady we were moving to England and this was everything I owned may have helped her not charging us. All I know is I'm not complaining!!!!

We had to fly to Edmonton first, then to Manchester, then to Glasgow, even though you fly over Glasgow on the way to Manchester. Who am I to question the wisdom of airlines? After picking up our rental car (a Mark V Golf, can you believe it? Golfs are SO our car!) we drove to Crieff, where we had a quick bite, James went for a nap, and I pitched in helping haul bales up to the ceremony site with Andrew and a bunch of other people involved in the wedding. And then the rain came. I was dripping, but I was awake, so I didn't mind! Anything to avoid the jetlag. Finally we got all the bales up to the site and had them all covered in plastic.

James and I drove into Perth to try and buy Malize and Andrew a wedding present (we didn't know where they were registered beforehand, and didn't have luggage allowance to buy it in Canada!) but all the shops were closed, so we made our way to Andrew's parents for drinks and a nibble, as Mrs. Donaldson put it. Somehow we managed to stay awake until 10 pm or so, went back to the hostel and hit the hay.

We woke up next morning to sunshine streaming in our window. It was a beautiful day for the wedding, and they looked very happy together. I think that's the first time I've been to a wedding where I've only met one half of the couple the day before the wedding! I think at least 70% of the men were in kilts. That's a lot of tartan for those of you who haven't been to a Scottish wedding before! After the ceremony everyone milled about drinking champagne while the bride and groom had their photos taken. Then the real party started! Dinner, toasts and the best of all, the ceilidh! James and I got to waltz again, and we tried some of the Scottish dances. It seems like everyone who is Scottish just knows how to do the dances, there aren't really any calling out of instructions or anything! I had a great time, so did James, I think. And Andrew was on the dance floor lots. He even pulled me up on the dance floor for Strip the Willow (Acadian style). That's the dance he had everyone do at our wedding, too. My feet were sore. Concrete is not as forgiving as hardwood, I can tell you! :D

Now we're in Leicester and are heading out soon for Aunt Rachel's house where we'll be staying until we find a place of our own. I'll try to be interesting and post often! Just one question...

Who's coming to visit first?

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Comment posted by sharon at 12:12pm on October 2nd 2006

Glad to hear everything turned out--and yes, I'd say you have a whole ream of guardian angels watching over you! ;)

Who's coming out first? Well, ya just never know.....

Love you!

Comment posted by Rachel Klassen at 12:12pm on October 2nd 2006

Hey Naomi!! Glad to hear moving went well and you're getting all settled and such! We miss you here though! Ellen and I are making sure to keep up calling Gulnara space cadet for ya Lol You'll have to let me know how the job hunt is going, or if it is? Anyways, I should get back to "working" Haha Congratulations again on everything! And Happy Thanksgiving!!

Comment posted by karina at 12:12pm on October 2nd 2006

i'm so glad to hear everything went super. you will have to start posting pictures soon for those of us who are too poor to come see you... :( maybe someday.

Comment posted by Kristina at 12:12pm on October 2nd 2006

Glad to hear you made it safely. I was wondering about you this weekend, wondering if you had gotten the Visa and were over in the UK already. Guess I won't be visiting you in Calgary! You moved too fast! I hope you are able to settle in quickly. I'd like to visit but...we'll see! There are some other parts of the world on my itinerary!

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