Z was out of town for a couple of weeks this month. C and I stayed pretty busy and spare time was spent on "settling in" administrative duties. We could really use our own admin assist just to deal with all the emails and paperwork involved with setting ourselves up here. Hence, not much energy left for blog posts.
C and I had the car while Z was away and I could drive it if really needed, but it is still rather overwhelming for me to deal with all the differences in driving over here. So we did a lot of walking instead.
We currently have a long term rental car until we receive our regular leased car. For a while there it looked like we might be able to lease a BMW 3 series, but after investigating a little deeper, we found there are extra taxes not included in the quotes we received. Surprise, surprise. We decided we'd rather put the money towards travel instead of a fun car.
As a compromise between cool BMW and the unsightly golf carts they deem road-worthy here, we decided on a Honda Insight (basically, Honda's version of a Prius). The car is currently on order for us. And I'm not holding my breath. Yet still trying to think positively. You see, all things which would seemingly be relatively easy to take care of here, have entailed complications and wasted time. A few cases in point:
Satellite TV: Two days of my time wasted on appointments with techs who showed up expecting to just plug the satellite box into a wall outlet, even though I made the appointment for a "line installation." They needed to run a line from the dish on the roof to our flat, but the company kept sending guys who couldn't or wouldn't do the job. Had to cancel subscription for fear of booking more appointments only to have more days wasted on pointless visits. So over the air Freeview it is for us in the foreseeable future. Which means lots of Top Gear reruns.
National Health Service: In order to receive national health insurance coverage here, we have to register with a local doctor's office whose assigned coverage area includes our address. Then they submit our information to the government and we eventually receive proof of coverage. Another stack of papers to fill out--both for the doc's office and for the NHS. And could this blank paperwork be mailed to us? No. I asked the office, and they insist the paperwork be picked up in person and returned in person. Now we wait to see if there are any office glitches in processing our paperwork. What was that about thinking positively? Oh yeah, that is just for the car.
Flat Maintenance: We've already had to go back and forth with the management company regarding a manual garage door that stopped working. Management sent a general handyman, not a garage repairman. He was out there for over 3 hours and tended to look confused (i.e. would just stand and stare at the door on multiple occasions). The door seems to work for now, but we are not convinced he really fixed the problem as he left instructions for us to only open the door slowly. Yep, there's your sign. (Not that we ever opened it quickly in the first place--it is a creaky door and we've always been careful with it, but it started coming off of it's track on it's own and jamming).
The list goes on, but despite all that, we are doing alright as a family. It is definitely autumn here, and on weekends we continue to seek out different destinations for day trips. Most recently, we visited the Forest of Dean . C did really well on our 2.5 mile hike, walking most of it on his own feet. It was good to get out in nature.