Simplement Londres wine and cheese evening in Metro Bank with Solicitor Kazia Daley specialized in immigration
One move after the other, never the same
Our move to London was not marked with simplicity. In fact, it was the most upsetting change we made since we first decided to leave France. We moved from France to Canada, in the province of Quebec and everything fell into place naturally. The process was long, the acceptance from Quebec then Canada to be a Permanent Resident takes at least 18 months. No major difficulties nevertheless.
We then chose to move from the province of Quebec to the province of Ontario, more precisely to Toronto. That means moving from French to English. This was a huge step my husband, who was more or less working in French even in Montreal, and my two almost teenagers who did not have more than few words in their English vocabulary. Canada is working beautifully as a bilingual country, but provinces each have they own ways. Moving from one province to another remains closer to changing country than we first imagine. We went through many difficulties like the language and paperwork quite gracefully; I’m glad to say.
A quiet move to a full time English school
After three months in their new English school, my children were doing quite well. They rapidly told me I wasn’t useful anymore for the following of their homework. I think that was one of the most relieving things I heard in my life. It was a hard choice to suppose that at the ages of 11 and 14, my kids would go through full English classes in an English school. No teacher was speaking a word of French, well except the French teacher obviously but she wasn’t supposed to stay full time with them and on the top of it split in two! Considering that my son was starting the secondary school, meaning the four years that determine the qualification for Universities, we wished nothing but success for him. Report cards came back more than alright for the first time. So no bad surprise here, rather a good one!
London school system is difficult to get into
Then we decided to head back to Europe for several reasons. That’s where the difficulties began. England was our choice. I didn’t know then that finding a school in London would be such a nightmare. However, it was the absolute most important thing for us. Many fences got in the way, and before I managed to pass the first one, ten new ones had already appeared. To begin with, our son was 16+ so no obligation for him to pursue school, no obligation to have a place in any school as it appeared. First huge surprise. That was only the beginning. For the first time, I gave up. Until then I managed to find a good school, in a good area, matching our needs, for each move. In that case, after 6 weeks researching daily, I just found nothing. When I thought I eventually stepped ahead, I was going back 2 steps the day after.
How Simplement Londres came to the rescue
My husband decided to help and went online too, hunting for schools. What he brought back was rather a surprise. It was not a school; it was Simplement Londres, a relocating agency specialized in London area. We contacted them and heard a most reassuring “Don’t worry, that’s Ok, we’ll manage all that!”. This agency is taking care of all kind of issues people moving to London could have come from abroad, regarding school accommodation and much more. It was first created by French Londoners for French expats, hence the name. After 11 years of hard and good work, they are now dealing with the relocation issues of people from everywhere coming to settle down in the capital of England.
Our case was unusual. Although we have French nationality, we have absolutely nothing registered in France and a non-negotiable wish of a full English school for our children. We own no car, so we need a safe well-served place to stay, close to school! Choices went short in the end. To speak the truth, their was only one unique tempting choice remaining. But it happened to be perfect. The school is great, in a perfect area of greater London. We live so close to London that it doesn’t take us long to go to London Waterloo station than it used to take us to join Toronto downtown.
Few month later, keep up maintaining the contacts
Yesterday I was pleased to meet the team at last. All that time we spoke only on the phone. It was nice to put some real people on the voices I knew so well. Simplement Londres was organizing a very Frenchy Wine and Cheese evening. We were glad to meet a Solicitor specialized in immigration, Kezia Daley. She explained the process people have to go through is they want to stay in England and be considered as long term residents. She offered very interesting information and certainly is the suitable person to contact for official papers concerning residency or nationality.
The party was held in the Metro Bank office. We also were informed of their ways regarding the banking system. I must admit that I am not a great fan of relationship with banks, far from. Knowing that I was quite interested in the short presentation we had. First of all, the bank is opened from extendable hours long before and after office hours, 7 days a week. Second, the whole thing about “banking how the client wants”, really called out when we were told that Metro Bank is only in the banking business, no investment, no insurance, nothing else than banking. Wow, a Bank that does banking! It seems so simple, yet it appears to be so rare nowadays. Thirdly, they happen to be far more welcoming towards newcomers than any other bank in the city, that is an important point believe me. You can’t do anything in England, from having a cellphone or a roof over your head if you don’t have an English account.
Simplicity as different faces
To conclude I would say that Simplement Londres simply simplified our arriving in London so much! 5 months later, they happen to be a great help with so many interesting contacts going further into the process of being settled. It is sometimes a good thing to delegate to reduce the stress in a difficult situation such as moving overseas. It’s worthy to get help with the right people. The small fee paid to get that help is nothing compared to the comfort we gained. Simplicity is not only about things and possessions; it’s about choices we make to embrace life.
If Your want to read more about our moves. Find the next step: our way back to Canada! Find out a little more how to simplify the overwhelming.
16 Boxes: How We Move Overseas