Expat Journals – Part 3

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

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Because of the foggy night, too much Guinness and a series of missed trains and one super speedy taxi driver, I nearly missed my gate.

The night before (and early morning) was a bit on the rowdy side, so I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to get on a plane.  Finally, I collected my belongings, drug my suitcase down Dame Street and started flagging down taxis like a bat shit crazy lunatic.

“Ya smell like ya bathed in Guinness” was the first thing the taxi driver said to me when I climbed in his car.  Solid.  I’m glad I’ve made a great impression on the taxi drivers of Dublin.  He rushed me to the airport, with just a few minutes to spare.  Finally greeting the not so friendly attendant at the baggage check, I was informed I didn’t check in … even though I had proof of checking in online.  Ryanair are cocks.  There’s no other way to put it.  They offer cheap, not so friendly service and flights, but they’re generally cocks to deal with.  Showing her my online check in email and proof that I’ve paid for my bag, she still told me I had to pay a bull shit €45.  Not wanting to argue with her much longer, I threw my credit card down.  I was then informed my check bag was .4kgs over the limit.  Like a fool, I grabbed a bunch of stuff out of the suitcase and started to put it on, sweating profusely. I smelled awesome at this point … even better than when I was in the taxi.

Running to my gate, I made it with 3 minutes to spare.  Dead phone, nothing in my stomach, but had arrived.  The flight to London was uneventful, as are most Ryanair flights, except for the occasional shit comment from the head flight attendant as he not so discretely condescended to the new flight crew.

Because the flight was domestic – Ireland to England – I didn’t have to go through Customs.  As someone with a work visa, and who is supposed to check in with customs, this made me a bit worried.  I went to information to check with them, and they pointed me to the direction of phone on a pole.  Press 4 for immigration.  I called the line and spoke to a Brit gentleman who seemed to give less shits about me entering the country than I would have imagined.

Him – “So you’re in England, and you didn’t go through customs or security?”

Me – “That’s right.  I flew from Canada yesterday, but connected in Dublin and spent the night there.”

Him – “So did you go through immigration there?”

Me – “Well, yes. I got a stamp that says I entered Dublin, but he only asked what I was doing in Dublin and not in England or with the work visa.”

Him – “Ah, well, you’re alright.  Enjoy England.”    …click.

So I’m either in England legally or not, who knows.  I guess the next time I fly into the UK from outside the EU, I’ll find out!

Upon arrival in London, I was greeted by my friend who’s letting me stay at his place.  It was so exciting to be in London!  I was finally in my new home and was ready to start my new, exciting chapter.

My first day in London was spent running errands, picking up some groceries, getting beer, etc.  It was nice to just do normal things.  That evening, we went out with some footy friends for beers and had an all around great “Welcome to London” night.

My first week – well, 6 days – in London was spent exploring, going to a not real job interview, riding the train, getting situated in London and trying to open a bank account.

London is such a busy metropolis, much different than where I’m from or what I’m used to.  I don’t feel like I don’t fit in London though.  I feel very much like “I’ve got this.”  I’m confident that I made the right decision and am happy that I’m living in London.

When I first decided to make this move, and decided to go to London, I definitely felt as though London would be a home base – a starting off point of me.  I felt like I’d stay until I found a job in Scotland.  I know it’s still early, and I haven’t been there long, but I can definitely see myself staying in London more and more.

***

Little did I know that I would still be in London three years later.  That I would have met my now husband and settled down.  Purchased a flat that we’ve made into our home.  Gone through with yet another visa process.

My travels to the UK seem like they were just yesterday, but at the same time, about 10 years ago.  So much has changed in the last three years.

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