I am making a move one more time in less than 6 months, but hopefully this is where I will put down roots for a while. Although frustrating, it didn’t take me long to cram all my things into two giant suitcases, and my newly acquired books, which I will lug around like chains of academia for the next few years, in a separate carry-on.
Although I have been very excited at the thought of finally having my own space, its actually pretty scary. I have gotten used to my house-share and boring neighborhood, and have made acquaintances at my local gym. It doesn’t help that my last day here was the most beautiful day in London and the fair has just opened at a nearby park.
Well, that is life. Hopefully I will settle into my new place quickly and adjust to a different schedule.
In fact, this week calls for quite a few adjustments. Not only will I be moving tomorrow morning, but I will also be starting new work. I found another “temporary rolling contract” at a company that pays better. These rolling contracts seem to be very popular in Europe; thus I guess its common too, for folks to just roll from one job to another month to month. The labor laws in the U.K and the rest of Europe are quite strict once you are a permanent employee, and that’s for government and private organizations. It is difficult to fire someone once they are given a permanent position and the “benefits” are apparently very expensive.
I’m not sure what benefits an employer pays for its permanent employees, because things like healthcare and pension are provided through the government and the taxes paid by the business and employees. If anything, it seems to be just vacation/holiday pay that an employer would shell out-of-pocket for. In the United States, an employer pays for healthcare insurance for an employee and any dependents he/she may have, as well as its common to pay into their private pension (what we call 401K), alongside what the employee is contributing too. Of course there is the public pension, called social security, which Americans get after the age of 65– but most Americans will have their SS, 401K, and maybe another separate private savings called an IRA to live out their glory days in old age.
But I digress –back to moving into my apartment all by myself, in a strange neighborhood, in a country where I’m not established, and as a single woman if I were to get trapped in an elevator or slip and fall and die, no one would notice that I was missing until a few months have gone by.
OK, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But as I continue cleaning up, please enjoy these first (of hopefully many) pictures of my walk around in sunny northern London! For those of you in Europe if you took any pictures today, tweet me or post it on my page!