Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My father, plus Another milestone

Boy and I were walking along the Water of Leith this evening with the dogs. I had only walked them once today -- into the centre to pick up the travel alarm clock that some nice lady on Freecycle gave me and then back home -- and "that wasn't enough." But I also got some scrummy fish and chips, so I wasn't too fussed.

As we veered off the path to get some cash at the ATM, I suddenly remembered. "Ooo, I had a hard time at the gym today. On the cross-trainer. I was doing 18 -- " and I stopped as suddenly as I began, as I realised how much I sounded like my gym-rat father. I even had the accent. All I need was to add a "Gah" to it and I would be him.


Tomorrow I have an appointment at the Job Centre Plus at 9 am -- thankfully not to get employment. It's where you go for your National Insurance number. A NI number is the equivalent of the American Social Security Number and, good for me, has nothing to do with receiving the fantastic universal health care famed in this country. It's a bit of an anomoly that I've been here for nearly three years without having one.

When you're first employed, you receive a temporary number. It's just the letters TN (for temporary number) followed by my birth date and an F, as I'm a female. You're supposed to be in steady employment before they issue one to you -- well, I wasn't for nearly a year and a half. Then when I finally went to apply to get it, the Job Centre workers were on strike. So I didn't think about it for while.

But then I started to get nasty letters from the Payroll department, but I'm very good at avoiding unsavoury things: my uni loan people are good at knowing that. Finally someone said that if I didn't get my act together and get my NI number, I would lose my job. Needless to say, I rang the Job Centre the next day -- two months ago. Tomorrow was the earliest appointment they would give me. Obviously I was dismayed and explained the situation. The man on the phone was sputtering with indignation: "They can't sack you! They-they can't do that!" He was actually more upset than I was. But I wasn't harrassed by the Payroll department after making the appointment, so I guess it did the job.

It probably means nothing to most people, but it's another step to really living here. Probably the last step, really. I have my Indefinite Leave to Remain, which is kinda like a Green Card. I'm in full-time, permanent employment. I own a home, which we've remortgaged. I pay taxes and receive healthcare. I have a current account at the bank, not just a crappy cash account that only new immigrants can get; I actually make 0.01% interest on my money -- then get taxed double that. And now this. Dang, it's like I'm a real adult.


Anonymous Amah said...

Gym-rat??? You were more like him than Z when it came to exercise and sports. I bet you thought the "Gah."

How's that work with the IRS? Do you file in the US too??

Congrats again on your milestones--job, indefinite leave to remain, and NI#.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 22:33:00 BST  
Blogger Autumn said...

Well, there is no "filing", unless you're self-employed. I'm supposed to file, according my American accountant friend -- every year she offers to file for me -- but I never bother.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006 at 22:51:00 BST  

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