During the self-isolation period, I searched property listings to see where I could have my first home in the UK. Finally I rented a studio in Lansdowne, about 10-minute walk from Bournemouth Station, with 7 months fixed tenancy, starting on 10 May 2021, 20 days after I landed the UK.
The standard list of moving into a place has a lot of items to do.
- Find a home
- Buy things for my new home (e.g. kitchenware, beddings)
- Register for bills (council tax, TV licence, etc)
- Register for electoral roll
- Register for GP
As I’m moving to a new country, there are also additional items as well:
- Open a bank account
- Exchange driving licence
I was busy in the first month doing all these things above, especially buying things for my new home. I had to visit the supermarket for a few times a day to buy beddings, kitchenwares, etc., because sometimes my desired items were not available in a certain shop, and I had to visit another. I also needed to wait for online shopping shipments as well because some of the items I wanted couldn’t be found in physical shops, such as a printer, a TV tuner, a drying rack, and even a rubbish bin of my desired size.
At the same time, I needed to get back my swimming as well after my training was broken in the isolation period, and get started at Durley Sea Swims which started on 1 May, while I was still setting up my new home. However, I still couldn’t get back to my previous swimming amount yet because I am not a strong swimmer and I am not fit enough to swim for hours in 11-12°C water. Only at the end of May I could swim to my previous endurance level, but still only on some of the days, not consecutive big days like what I did in Hong Kong. I think that my fitness may have deteriorated over the month.
Also, many recruiters phoned me and messaged me over the month. I hoped that I could have a job soon but unfortunately nearly all recruiters were looking for full-time candidates, while I was looking for part-time positions only, because I would need time to train for my channel swim in September.
Also, I looked for sports clubs to join as well. I would need to join an orienteering club, and also I would like to join a swimming club and a triathlon club as well. After thinking among Wimborne and Wessex I have decided to join Wessex Orienteers and started my first training session there on 1 June. However, I couldn’t find a good swimming club for me. I asked Bournemouth SC and they don’t do open water swimming at all. I tried a master session at Poole SC but I didn’t think it’s good. For a triathlon club, I have identified Zoom Triathlon here. They normally have coached Swim Smooth sessions, exactly as what I did in Hong Kong in my previous years, but obviously due to lockdown they couldn’t run it over the winter, and in summer they are switching to sea swimming at the moment, so I still have to see if it is suitable for me or not.
Now we have entered June and I have already done most of the tasks moving into a new place. The most important thing for me now is to get my 6-hour qualifier for my channel swim done in this month. Apart from that, I will look for social opportunities here to meet new friends as well.