Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Becoming Baby Londoners! The Big Move

When we were engaged we spoke about where we would like to live for the next step of our lives. London turned out to be the most ideal place but seemed completely unrealistic. I moved back into our university city after the wedding into a rented room above a pub while he finished up university and I worked waitressing and trying to get internships in advertising and design, did some volunteering for the creative and educational charity D&AD that caused me to stay in London occasionally and volunteered working with teenage girls regionally for my church. He finished with a first class degree and I couldn't be prouder. After exhibiting at D&AD New Blood and the odd trip into London bugging advertising agencies having book crits and countless meetings he bagged himself a few internships all of which were in London. It's expected in our line of work to intern for one-two years before a graduate job is offered. I've learnt that life after graduation is never straight forward!! And so after much consideration my husband went away to London to intern and did so well that it was extended. Turns out we ended up living apart for nine weeks! It was rough especially being newly weds and only newly living together and it hurt everyday, but nothing compares to the pain I felt when I almost left him to serve a mission. We tried to get a flat in London to share with some friends but it proved so problematic! Landlords wanted written references that each person was earning at least £18,000 a year, which of course none of us are yet and at least £1,000 from each of us for a deposit, to cover fees, etc. Not only that, rent itself costs almost four times what it did in the north for just one double room (never mind a flat for just both of us), money that would essentially get us a three bedroom house elsewhere in the country! I suppose it's just the financial sacrifices that need to be made to be able to live in such an incredible city. Our first (shared)flat fell through literally THE DAY BEFORE! When we had already organised the van, leaving our/my current residence, a work transfer, everything. So you can imagine the panic when I found out at work what had happened. I Had to put everything on pause and make sure I could stay in my current home, pick up shifts at work the following week, pause the transfer, sort out the van and find extra money for another week of rent for a property I no longer expected to be in. I was so furstated, angry and upset. It wasn't even the fact I would be missing out on London. It was the fact I couldn't live with my husband. I'd built myself up for this big move, travelling 200miles and FINALLY getting to be with him again only to be thrown into uncertainty. I got a friend to drive me to somewhere naturey the following Monday to help me heal, exhale and simply trust in The Lord more. I was so angry. We didn't get married to be separated. We were all looking for somewhere new to live. The housing agency we used were appalling. Not keeping us updated, not finding a replacement, not being sympathetic or understanding in the slightest. Safe to say we'll never use them again. I was lucky enough that my landlord let me stay longer otherwise I would have needed to move back in with my parents or a kindly friend, making the work situation and moving our belongings even more complicated. I was asking everyone I knew who lived in London for advice and recommendations. I was at a loss how we were going to move with landlords having such high financial expectations, especially for people just starting out even if we both have degrees. As I stated before, getting a job in our field is insane. After so many internet searches and advice seeking we were told about a company who do what is basically university halls for travellers and young professionals who ask for no references, much smaller deposits meaning we could save for our future flat and offer short or long term stay if we need it and two meals a day for a similar price to renting a double bedroom in a flat/house share. I had never heard of the company before and was a little apprehensive. It meant I would move two weeks later than expected, need to hire a stranger/'van in a man' company (who turned out to be brilliant, completely safe and gave me a lift down to London) and sort out a different work transfer. I was scared that it wouldn't work, that the place would be awful or that they'd kick us out after a few weeks like Bye. You need to go now. But it's turned out waaayyyyy better than expected. The room is MUCH bigger than I expected, long term residences are VERY common with some people staying several years. Our room is pretty separate from most of the others so we have a greater degree of privacy. Everyone who works her is so kind and eating in the communal area/canteen is actually really pleasant. Everyone is so open and welcoming. Most of the other residents are Italian and Spanish and it's so interesting to hear about the different systems put in place in each country, it also helps me to see why some if ours are considered so good and England a desire place to live. It does also make me realise just how bad my geography is.. 

The area we live in is so lovely. It's an affluent part of north London and in zone 2. We're so lucky to live only a five minute walk from a tube station and live in a very safe area with lots of restaurants and little shops. It feels like a small town or community within London which surprised me. Many people in this area are families (clearly wealthy) and it actually seems incredibly child friendly. Definitely not insanely built up or massively compact as I had expected. Our rent is reasonable when you compare it to other parts of London, we have actually found little difference in cost even though the area is so fantastic. It's definitely an eye opener for the future.

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