Last night we went out for a really lovely meal at Cnapan, a nice restaurant down the road in Newport. We were celebrating my most recent victory over the evil forces of bureaucracy, namely, passing my practical driving test. I’ve been driving for seventeen years by now (oh god I’m getting old!) but the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) wouldn’t exchange my NZ license for a GB license because it was originally swapped for an American one.
So I bought the Highway Code and a DVD with a set of practice questions and passed the theory and hazard perception tests in Haverfordwest in late February. Then I found an instructor in Cardigan who was willing to teach me all the silly maneuvers required to pass the practical. Who will honestly ever reverse around a left corner in real life I know not! But in an attempt to make myself feel better about the ridiculous amount of effort expended to get yet another piece of paper to add to my ever-growing folder of “important documents”, I have noticed some subtle improvements in my driving skills and a new-found pedantry with regards to the application of the road code. Not to mention a superiority complex towards Easter holidaymakers on the narrow roads and lanes of Pembrokeshire who clearly have no concept of how wide (or narrow) their own vehicles are. If the daffodils aren’t knocking your side mirror you haven’t pulled over far enough! City folk!
Daffodil for your reference
The driving license debacle is just one of the many hoops I’ve had to jump through to settle here in the UK but gosh the life admin seems like it will never end! People sometimes ask us what we do all day with neither of us working — at times I too wonder where the days and weeks have gone — but when I look back on it, it appears that I’ve become almost fully occupied by managing our little family’s international existence. Just to give you an idea of the really fun activities I’ve spent countless hours on so far (in addition to my standard motherly duties):
1. Opened UK bank accounts
2. Closed some NZ bank accounts
3. Confirmed NZ tax non-residency status with NZ Inland Revenue
4. Changed all NZ addresses
5. Applied for UK credit card
6. US tax return for 2014 year (approx 50 hours of work — and serious yoga breathing required)
7. Confirmed with HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) that I don’t have to file a return this year (finally some common sense exhibited)
8. Attempted to get phone and internet connection in this house (it took British Telecom over 3 months to achieve this — worst customer experience ever in the history of the world)
9. Opened a bank account for Morgan
10. Oh yes I applied for a National Insurance Number here too
11. Registered Morgan and myself at the local doctor’s surgery
I’m not sure if I’ve forgotten how much work it was to get ourselves set up in NZ in 2007… or if it’s more complicated because I’m a mom now… or if THE WORLD HAS JUST GONE TOTALLY MENTAL!?!? I think a lot of it’s down to those one or two losers who actually attempt identity fraud — but god they are wasting the rest of our’s time! Even getting to talk to a person at our bank’s contact center requires at least six validations by now.
I think Morgan’s got the right idea — just throw some stones into a pot and call it a day!
Oh yes, and we’ve had an offer on a house in Cardiff accepted. We saw eight houses and offered on two. Let us recall Aled and I viewed eighty-six houses in Wellington before buying ours in Houghton Bay in 2009/10 so this is indeed a massive improvement. The conveyancing stuff takes forever in this country though so god knows when we’ll ever get the keys. Honestly you’d think we were trying to buy Buckingham Palace rather than a three bedroom terraced house.
Anyways the good news is we are winning the war on admin. Next up is my NZ IR3 and re-writing my CV. God willing there is some paid employment in my future!
PS I can’t figure out how to “activate comments” in this blogging tool so sorry if that is frustrating! I will try and fix it soon.