How to move to Scotland Part 2: make plans!

I ended Part 1 by telling you that the day after I received my visa, everything happened.  I thought it would be nice to go into greater detail about how I pulled this off.

1. Pick your move date

My move date was pushed along quite a bit farther than I’d hoped; my partner moved at the end of June and I’d hoped to join him, well, right about now, in mid-August.  However, we had two complicating factors we had to schedule around.  First, I had to stay employed at my university job through August 10; this was so I’d hit my five year anniversary there and be vested in the retirement program (I can pull a small retirement at 60 or 65; I need to get this all straight before I leave.) Second, my partner has to attend a conference and I either had to get there before he left, and spend my first few weeks in the UK all by myself, or wait until the conference ends and then go.  Since I didn’t get my visa until August 4 (in-hand August 6) it was going to be a little tight trying to get there now.  So, I’ve opted for a post-conference arrival, and he’s kindly taken my arrival day off from work so that he can help me get settled (and buy hangers, a hairdryer, an iron, etc.)

2. Get a plane ticket

Once I got the notification email that my visa had been issued, I started shopping for flights.  I have a good stack of miles saved up on United and a bunch more on my Chase Sapphire card, which I can travel to several partner airlines.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a viable flight using points on any airline I had points with; however, my partner had points with American, which ended up having a reasonably non-sucky flight for 30,000 miles.  Being the awesome dude that he is, he booked this flight for me with his points as soon as I had the visa in my hand.  Thanks, babe – I owe you an international flight or 30,000 miles!

I’d love to get him to write a guest post one day on using credit cards to get airline miles – he is a pro at this, and he’s teaching me the ropes.  I fully plan to be able to visit his family/home country as well as visit my family back in the U.S. using airline miles.  I’ll work on that when I get there!

3. Quit your job

I had been keeping my supervisor in the loop the whole time, so she knew when I’d applied for the visa and had a general idea of my time line.  I’m leaving my job eight days before I leave the country.  I am trying not to leave all the packing for these eight days.

4. Notify your landlord

Again, I’d kept my landlord in the loop (he even wrote a letter of support for my visa application) so he was also not surprised.  I was able to give 35 days notice (only had to give 30) and sounds like I’m going to have a relatively easy move out of here.  Here’s hoping I can get the packing mess in order before he decides to start showing the place :/

5. Bonus points: get a job interview (or two)

While my visa application was pending, I was semi-monitoring job postings at the university where my partner works as well as two others that are very close by; two positions came up where he works that were pretty much perfect for me, but they had application deadlines of August 3 and 4.  I applied the weekend before I received my visa so it was still unknown if I’d be able to work in the U.K.; thankfully this all worked out in the end.  The morning after I received my visa in the mail, I had an email requesting I interview for one of those two positions via Skype the following week.   The next week, I received another email requesting I interview for the other position too!

6. More bonus points: get the job!

I had my Skype interview last Thursday, and it was a little rough – we had some technical glitches, their WiFi kept locking up, so they kept freezing, I kept disappearing and finally the call just dropped.  They moved to another office, we finished the interview, and I wasn’t feeling terribly confident about it – Skype interviews make it even harder to get a read on what the interviewers are thinking, not to mention the cultural differences (I had no idea what to expect and had a bit of trouble understanding the accent – I hear this gets easier with practice! Also, I probably have a difficult accent to them.) They called me the next day and offered me the position! I accepted on Monday, and now I’m just waiting for my contract.  I ended up canceling the second interview, which was scheduled for next week.

Believe me, I know I am incredibly lucky that things have all been working out so smoothly for me – I’ll spend a total of 12 days “unemployed,” but my U.S. health insurance will cover me through the end of September and by then I’ll be eligible for healthcare in the U.K.  I also have enough vacation built up here that I’ll have basically a full paycheck for September, even though I’m only working the first week of the month.

At some point, there will be a Part 3: How to go from a two-bedroom apartment to four bags, but I actually haven’t quite figured it out yet. The best advice I’ve seen and heard so far is, you can buy whatever you need in Scotland.  Seems obvious, but it’s a good reminder – I don’t need to take everything I own with me because they have that there! As mentioned in my first post, I’m primarily taking clothes and personal items; a few photos and small artwork, and random items like my can opener that you actually can’t buy, anywhere. Obviously being a desert dweller, there are large sections of my wardrobe that do not lend themselves to cold and rainy weather, so there is a lot in the current rotation that just won’t work in Scotland.  It actually made narrowing the closet down (relatively) easy.  I’ve packed about 2/3 of the first (and biggest) bag so far, and it does look like I’ll be able to take all the clothes I’d picked in my first round of editing.  I’ve also leased a storage unit, because I can’t bear to part with my kitchen stuff, my extra/warm weather clothes and my art.  Even though I don’t know where I’ll end up next, I’m only allowed in the U.K. through June 2016 per my visa.

Any tips for how to store all the things? Someone said get all plastic tubs, but that seems excessive.  How do I store artwork?

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