Before you send an email asking us about how we ended up living in the UK for two years, see if the answer is here:
How did you land this?
We have always wanted to spend some time living overseas. We talked about it even before we got married, and while Paris was our original first choice, we slowly learned that landing a job overseas is not as simple as it sounds. Sure, you can easily organize a working holiday, where you spend time slaving away at a resort while you move from place to place, but we wanted to live in a regular town and have regular jobs. So, the search continued. I sent out resumes from time to time, but given the amount of effort a company must go through to hire a foreign worker, we realized that anonymous resumes weren’t the best way to showcase our talents. Each time I got a new job (which was fairly often the first few years we were married), I would inquire as to the opportunities for foreign transfer. I never got very far with that, and when I started working at Onyx, I really didn’t think much about it given that I needed a job and fast.
So, after working at Onyx for almost a year, Kim and I decided that it was time for us to either buy a house or make another push to get out of town. While looking in vain for opportunities on job boards and through special periodicals dedicated to foreign employment, I attended a meeting at Onyx that included the members of the UK development team. Part of the session included plans for the upcoming year, and the thing that caught my eye was the plan to hire at least two documentation specialists within the next year. During a break in the meeting I spent some time chatting with a woman who had gone to the UK office on a temporary exchange and had loved it. She said that I would be a good fit with the team and that I should contact the documentation manager and talk about it some more. So I did, and within a few weeks I had executive approval to begin the transfer process. We talked about the package and scheduled a visit for me to come over and meet the team and see the UK first hand. While I was there, I took a lot of pictures for Kim, and she liked what she saw. We agreed to do it and now we’re here.
Did Onyx pay for the move?
Yes. We landed a pretty sweet deal. They paid to move our stuff over, and they paid for two months rent and a loaner car.
EDIT: When we came home the budgets were considerably tighter, but we still got some things paid for.
So you’re driving?
Yes. I took a driving lesson during my initial visit, so I’ve already been introduced to the wrong side of the road and how to deal with the many roundabouts. Originally I was hoping not to have to own a car, but public transportation to my office isn’t all that great. We weren’t really afraid of driving so much as we had hoped to avoid the expense. After the first year Kim took a driving lesson and is up to her old tricks behind the wheel.
How long will you be staying?
We had to stay a year or else repay a prorated portion of the cost of the move. After that it was open ended. Two years seemed to be enough, and we’re looking forward to returning to the Emerald City.
Is the cost of living high?
Yes. Almost everything costs more. Some things are very expensive by US standards (gas is over $4 a gallon), and taxes are very high compared to what we’re used to (17.5% sales tax and 40% income tax).
You’re not eating any beef, are you?
We’ve had some so far, but not that much. We’re not so afraid of mad cow disease as we are of lousy cooks. British cuisine is famous for its lameness, and so far we haven’t been disappointed.