Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sharing bandwidth, driving on the left, cell phone fees, and more Scottish brand foods

Yes, it's a long title... but I needed a good description!

Borrowing bandwidth:
This borrowing bandwidth thing is no fun! Right now, I'm averaging about 5 minutes online per hour. The rest of that time is me reading my book while trying to connect. It's really important right now that we have access because we are still trying to sell our house, the pool is apparently leaking back home, and we haven't gotten the dogs over here yet! I told Steve this morning that without the internet, I feel powerless and on the lower side of evolution.

Rental car:
We got a car yesterday. Here it is:

The thing is a wagon beast. I have to park an inch, literally, from the wall of the garage to make it fit with the door closed. Oh, and they gave us a manual shift, as if remembering to stay on the left side of the road isn't hard enough. Good thing my step-dad taught me to drive on a stick shift, so that comes pretty easily for me. Also, I'm thinking it's a good thing my mom and grandma Nelson (bought me my first Nintendo when I was 7-years old) got me into video games so that I have pretty good hand-eye coordination!

Anyway, in order for me to be able to drive the rental, we had to go to Enterprise to give them my license. This is different from the US. When you rent a car in the US, your spouse is automatically allowed to drive it.

My first time driving on the left side of the road was in the dark.. with a stick shift.. and I WAS AWESOME! Of course, I didn't drive very far... maybe a mile or two, but there were roundabouts, pedestrians avoided, and traffic lights. I survived. Steve had to get out and inch me forward in the garage because of the tight fit. Add singing for the following: Fat car in a little shed.

I took Steve to work this morning. I kept repeating, "Left, Left, Left, Left..." while driving and then,  "Danger right!" at roundabouts. Hehe. It helps. I'm sure my old boss, Brian, would find that very entertaining because he advised it. :o)   We had to turn down a residential street to turn around because we missed our turn. After backing up, I started down on the right (as in location not correctness) side of the street. I saw a car coming head-on. Ooops! "Steve, as the passenger, you are supposed to tell me when I'm driving on the wrong side!" He said, "Sorry. I was in US mode. It didn't occur to me that you were doing anything wrong!" Oh boy! This is what I get for complaining about international drivers in Houston. I know what you are thinking, and you know what... I'm still going to complain about them. However, I will do so with more sympathy.

Now you must be wondering (because I was), "How is Kristal going to park that car by herself in the tiny garage?" Well, before moving the car, I put a broom between it and the wall. When I pulled in after taking Steve to work, I just inched up until the broom moved.

Home safely.
View from back door. More yard on the other side. :o)
Cell Phones:
We looked into cell phone plans again. Here are some things to consider if you make this move. You don't have credit established in the country or a bank account. You need to first get a bank account and then wait for the debit card to arrive in the mail. Also, because you have no credit, you and your spouse may not be able to add an extra phone to the plan, but instead may have to pay for 2 separate plans. For a £100 deposit, you can add them together after 3 months, which then allows you to have your deposit back. Also, to be able to call the US, you need a £250 deposit, refundable after 6 months of paying your bills. All of these costs are per phone, by the way.

We'd really like to get smartphones as soon as possible so that we can tether to them for internet access. It takes 2 weeks to a month to get a landline and internet here! They told us things were a mess because of bad weather that recently occurred.

Just for fun:

Lo, you would love this. It's a tiny compost bin with biodegradable bags. You put all of your food in it, and when it's full you put the little bag in a brown trashcan outside that the city supplies and empties every other week. Yeeeeesssss!

Maybe it's silly, but I know you are wondering what the outlets look like. The switches are to turn them on and off.

Great eco-brand cleaning product Falene introduced to me.

Yep, English mustard is different.

mmmm... breakfast.

As you may recall, I have not been able to find coffee filters. I got desperate and made my own this morning.

SUCCESS! Although, a bit strong so I added lots of milk, which is unusual for me.
Inside, is one big block of butter. No sticks, and thus, no tbl measurements...only grams. Glad I took the AWA girls' advice and bought a food scale!


  1. Quite possibly the funniest blog yet!!! Thank you for sharing your adventures!!!

    1. Hahaha.. thanks. I'm surprised it didn't come out more negative because it took me 6 hours to write, save, upload, rewrite what was lost, restart computer several times, and try to connect again over and over to post this blog! LOL

  2. I want city compost service! That's pretty neat.
    Also, you most definitely need a stovetop espresso maker (see comment on previous post). Sounds like that filter thing is going to drive you crazy ;)


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