@Lisa Lenner@facebook Yay for 2 year move-in-iversary! My boyfriend and I moved in together at exactly the same time as you, so I found that series super useful. And now we're engaged!
I went into my last new job all pumped up to negotiate my salary, because the job advert said that it was a salary range from £x-x, and then when I got the offer they were like, "That range just means that you start at the lowest number." Oh. There really is no mystery or negotiation when you work for universities or the public sector in the UK - you just get hired into X pay grade and it increases incrementally each year no matter how much you suck/rock at your job.
Oh man, I feel you. I ended up getting a UK Citibank account when I first moved here for my masters because they had a deal with my university that they'd do something or other with my student loan cheques. Can't remember! It's not a proper bank here though, with only like one branch in the entire country, so it's a bit of a pain. The credit card thing is a real ballache though... After about three years of living here, with a mobile contract, I still got denied for two store cards. Part of this is because they use the electoral roll as part of your proof of address and I can't vote! I recommend having Experian put a note on your credit report that you aren't eligible to vote. Not sure this actually helped me, because it wasn't until a few years later that I tried to get a credit card again (this time one of those ridiculously predatory high interest ones). I managed to get that, and after a few months of having it, was approved for a Real credit card.
@TheLifestyleCreep YES THIS.
Well, I keep reading articles like this: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/nov/29/young-londoners-flee-capital-region-house-prices I live in Birmingham in a spacious 3 bedroom house with a garden that is literally only worth £127,000...... but I'm not sure whether the downgrade from London was worth it.
$221 entry fee?? That is insanity. I've run 6 big city marathons around Europe and they've all cost roughly €70 max ($88). I think even London, which is similar to NYC in terms of difficulty to get into (and which I didn't get into again for next year grrr), costs about £70/$110.
I found out after about 6 months of dating my exboyfriend that he expensed nearly all our dates as "dinner or drinks with potential client". Eventually he got fired. (For that? I don't know. We had already broken up.)
@garysixpack Same situation with citizenship, I think it's 5 years. And you can work and everything during the five years, it's just the uncertainty that if your marriage doesn't work out you can't get permanent residency at the end.
@garysixpack No I understand that - the thing I was pointing out is that in the US the process is "get married --> apply for green card" whereas in the UK it's "get married --> apply for 5 year (previously 2 year) visa --> apply for permanent residency IF you're still together after that point".
@Aconite Ah I didn't realise that! My friends actually got married when it was still 2 year spouse visa --> straight to indefinite leave to remain, before they changed it to five years. My boyfriend and I have looked into various possibilities when my work visa expires in 2016 (I'm eligible for permanent residency then, but don't earn enough money anymore to qualify for the route I was on). I think I'll get a family visa then and then FINALLY ILR in 2017 when I'll have been here for 10 freaking years already.