Showing posts from July, 2017

How to get a US cellphone number in 46 easy steps! (You won't believe Step 41)

Do some background research online, and ask friends in the US, to figure out which company to go with and which plan to choose (how much you want to spend).Find their nearest store. Go to the store.Ask for a SIM card, go through all the registration details and tell them what plan you want. Observe store assistant clicking and typing painfully slowly; swallow the anger.Try to pay for the SIM card and some initial credit on the account (because you don't have any credit history having just moved there). Try again when it fails. And again.Eventually discover that their till system doesn't like foreign cards, unlike everywhere else you've been using the cards in the USA.Go withdraw some cash from a nearby ATM, sucking up the $4 ATM withdrawal fee which you're gradually realizing is pretty standard in the USA.Return to store with cash. Go through much of the registration process again because it couldn't be saved.Pay with cash and put the new SIM card into your phone. …

The First Ten Days

Been kept rather busy setting up here, but here's a run-down of our first ten days in the USA...
Major adulting achievementsGot US cell phone numbers working (required three trips to the local phone store, plus many calls and a long Twitter conversation with customer services...)Closed/settled most of my UK utilities etcBought two second-hand bikes (for $75 total - in need of a little TLC but functional - bargains!)Rental application accepted for an apartment (moving in tomorrow) - the big one, yay! Significant milestonesFirst visit to a restaurant where they pour you coffee automatically when you sit down, and keep it topped up without asking. It wasn't a diner but still... First purchase of a cable with a US plug on the end of it. This might sound crazy, but buying a 'native' US laptop charging cable was what really brought home to me that we'll actually be living here. First time waiting in line at the local Social Security Office (so G can get her Social Securi…

Independence Day 2017

Our first Independence Day in California was pretty cool. We went to a local park for an organised fair/fete type celebration - $8 entry for food stalls, various ways to entertain kids (it was very family focussed), and then an (impressive) firework display after dark.

It was pretty similar to some organised Guy Fawkes events I've been to in the UK, but obeyed what I'm consistently recognising as Rule Number One Of America:
Everything is bigger in America I'm not the first to describe this rule but it really does seem true! The fireworks themselves especially - this was a pretty small fair, serving the community of Goleta (adjacent to Santa Barbara proper) with a total population of around 30,000. That's half the size of Chesterfield (Derbyshire), or about the same as Wilmslow (Cheshire) - yet the display seemed to me to be as impressive (and long) as I'd expect for a large city's main 'official' event, like Manchester or Sheffield. Maybe small British …

Hello... Um... Californian grey skies?

So myth #1 to bust - there are grey days here too! Nice golf course though; just eaten breakfast here after a much needed sleep at our AirBnB (having been awake over 24 hours!).

Goodbye grey skies...