Tuesday, October 13, 2015

School, Internet, and Utilities

Yay, we finally have internet!  It is a forever waiting game here, just like the U.S. but the difference is that they still didn't come to the house.  They mailed us the equipment then Jason got to set it all up.  I think he actually was really glad because he knows exactly how everything is hooked up.   Of course, none of this could happen until we paid for a TV license.  If you have a free minute, you should google it and read about a TV license, its kind of interesting.

Other utilities for the house have been interesting too.  Since the house and garden are so small, the water company bills you in advance for the next 6 months.  We paid 230 pounds for water from October to March.  Electricity gets set up and you put an app on your phone so you can send them your meter readings every month.  Once you send your readings, then they send you a bill.  It is crazy!  The other thing that is interesting about utilities, it is in your tenancy agreement that you will use the same utilities as the previous tenant that was established by the owner.  If you wish to change, you have to ask permission in writing to switch companies.

Registering for school is a whole different experience.  There are two type of applications, the one where you apply in January for schools in September and an in year application that happens after the first deadline.  Since we came to London after the deadline, we had the privilege of filling out an in year application.  The in year applications are mostly based on vacancies and the schools with the best ratings are typically full and extremely hard to get into even if you house is located in their catchment area (similar to district lines).  We ranked our schools from 1 to 3 and then you are put on a waiting list for the schools above the one you actually get into.  It took me forever to understand the process and I'm not sure I really understand it.  The exciting news is that I get to go through it with Sebastian as he gets ready to go to reception.

Here is a quick overview of how school works here: they can start nursery at a state school when they turn 3 or they will subsidize your private nursery expense then at 4 they go to reception that helps prepare them for primary 1 which is equivalent to kindergarten, totally easy to understand, right?!?!

The good news is that all the kids are in school (Sebastian and Jillian go two times a week), we have internet, and our utilities are turned on!

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