Since May this year I’ve been moving around quite a lot. Some of those moves have been just holidays and some have been major relocations. I left New Zealand in May, headed back to Amsterdam for a few days, then on to Ireland for about seven weeks and now I’ve moved to Edinburgh. Hopefully this will be the last move for a while. It can be quite unsettling relocating and having to start from scratch in a new place but it’s been exciting all the same.
I arrived in Edinburgh on the 21st July. Before I came here I was doing a lot of research on where I’d stay until I found longer term accommodation. My original idea was to stay in a hostel for about three to four weeks. The cost though of a private room in a hostel per night in Edinburgh is £50, which adds up to just over £1000 for three weeks. That’s quite expensive and I felt I would be putting myself under a lot of pressure to find a job quickly.
A friend of mine who lives just outside the city told me about a website called Gumtree.com. It has lots of advertisements for buying and selling items, finding jobs, accommodation and a lot more. I found a flat share with a Spanish couple who were renting a single room in their flat for £195 per week for a five week period during the Edinburgh Festival, which is on in August every year. There happened to be a lot of these festival flat shares on Gumtree and it was a matter of finding an affordable one not too far from the city. It’s cheaper than staying in a room in a hostel, so I’ve been living here since I arrived and learning a few Spanish words in the meantime. I can also stay a bit longer here if I wish and if the flat share goes well. My intention though is once I find work, I’ll try to find my own place if I can afford it.
Before I left Ireland I had arranged appointments with two job agencies in Edinburgh the day after I arrived here. I wanted to register with a few more to give myself more of a chance of finding work. Now while I was living in Amsterdam I registered with a lot of job agencies so I’ve had the experience of dealing with them before. Of course every country is different but generally the process is the same. Some agencies can be very impersonal and others are great. I came across an employment agency who said that they couldn’t register m without my bank details. I’m not giving any of my bank details to an agency unless they find me work first.
To be able to work here of course I needed a National Insurance number. I had worked in London for eight years from 1988 to 1996 but I didn’t have any of my London paperwork with me. So I was advised to go to the nearest Job Centre and they should be able to help me trace my National Insurance number through the HMRC: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs service. So I went to the Job Centre at St. Andrew’s Square in town and there was a National Insurance office upstairs. I told them that I was trying to trace my NI number from a few years back. They asked me to bring in my passport which I brought in the following morning and they were able to trace the number for me.
“Doctors and banks and such things….” Oh the excitement of having to open a bank account and register with a doctor! Read more about this in my next blog.