Sunday 20 February 2011

Will it ever end?

I am an intelligent person who is capable of sorting most things out, sometimes I overreact and panic other times I’m just physically unable to do anything about it.
For example I am unable to get a mobile phone or internet contract as I need to provide 3 months of bank statements, I have been in the country just over 4 weeks. I thought I’d set up international banking with HSBC but turns out as they don’t actually have a branch here, it was a waste of time. I needed to buy a car but was unable to transfer money from the UK in the time needed and put myself at great risk walking around from bank to bank carrying all my ID and a ‘cash’ cheque to make the down payment. The accommodation the company have rented us does not have a landline and despite asking 3 weeks ago for one to be put in so I can call banks, garages and rental agents to enable to do the things we need to do, it has not happened. Next challenge is to organise a land line and internet for the new property but again 3 months of bank statements aren’t available and I actually don’t know, despite going into shops asking strangers for advice how to actually do it. Peter had to give permission for me to have a bank account as I’m here on a visitor’s visa and I have to use the internet to transfer money from his, into my account. My tools to do the job are limited and I’m struggling. If I ask for help, I’m nagging, so I struggle on doing all the things that I’ve been advised not to do.
I have a car now, the loan has to be paid off within the 2 years that my visa allows me to stay here for, surprisingly car insurance was easy and I’ve even been able to set up a D/D from my bank account for it.
My sister had a baby yesterday morning and by this stage I was able to get internet access from my phone, I discovered this by again taking to strangers, going into the shop and asking in several different ways until they understood what I was asking for, got them to re configure my mobile so it would work and made several trips back to the shop until it was sorted.
Back to my sister: I’ll not dwell on what did happen or what could have happened, but just tell you that yesterday my sister was lucky to be alive. I was awake on and off during the night using face book that was playing up, getting updates from my niece on the progress of the baby. I wouldn’t have been much help if I had been in the UK, would have probably rowed with my parents, would have sat and waited for a phone call from my desk at work and then probably been told I was being bossy anyway. (But that’s what we big sisters do). As face book was playing up, I could read the messages but not reply so I started texting my niece (cost not an issue, it had to be done) then she texted me back with the news that my sister was in intensive care, the weight and name of the baby and the information that the baby was fine.
There wasn’t a lot of point booking a flight home (can’t afford one right now) and little if no point calling the hospital as they wouldn’t have told me anything any way. I assumed my parents would be there anyway as support, so I waited until the evening, checking emails and face book all day for news, struggled to make myself understood and managed to purchase a phone card. I eventually found a phone box after discounting several for safety or hygiene reasons and made the call back to the UK to discover the man in the shop hadn’t activated the card and the call home I so desperately needed to make wasn’t going to happen.
I moved from the other side of the world with Peter’s job, 2 children away from their father, no job for me and no family or friends here for any of us. Thankfully the kids have settled in well to their new school and have made friends easily; they are distracted by the wildlife and the sport and have been able to make limited skype calls to their dad. Peter is in work and has maintained familiar contact with colleagues and his family when they have skyped him during the day. But me, I’ve been all on my own, when the family do come home in the evenings they have had a long day and want to switch off and relax. I have no support network available to me only Peter to complain to, I am powerless to do anything without him. I can’t even make a complaint to the company about the lack of support they have given us, despite asking for it, research into our arrival has not been done, otherwise they would have known about the 3 month bank statement issues, the large deposit required for the car and 2 year repayments, but the biggest issue of all is you do not move someone half way around the world with their family and then leave them on their own to sort out transport, bank accounts and housing without the tools to do the job.