It was great, except for the fact that we realized how great other parts of England are. I loved the feel of Esher/Cobham/Surbiton/Thames Ditton area. This is an area a bit more "country-ish". The houses are a bit more spaced apart, there is some room between towns, and the houses are much older. One house we looked at we really loved. It was built in the 17th century, and although its been updated, it still has the feel of an old house and has some unique molding. It has 3 large bedrooms (I think the master bedroom was larger than ours in California!), a lovely "reception room" (think living room) with dark wood floors. The kitchen was very nice and recently redone. The down side of the property is that it was in a small town (Thames Ditton) and although it seemed very friendly, we worry that there is not much to do there. We did see lots of families and little kids running around though :-) Also, the property comes unfurnished, so we would be buying furniture for a whole house. Dave likes that because we have the freedom to make it look however we would like. There is also only one bathroom. It is a nice bathroom, but still only one in the house. This property is within our price range, and seems to be the best "deal" that we looked at. It is within walking distance to the train, so we would be able to travel up to London area easily. We would probably purchase a car immediately. Here are some pictures of this place:
This is the communal garden. Pretty much the view from the front of the house. The houses on the left are also in the community. The place we looked at was a bit older than those, though, from the 17th century!
The view from the front door. Look at the wonderful molding around and the chandelier in the ceiling. New tile floors in this room and the kitchen.
My internet is slow, so if you want to see more pictures, visit facebook:
You'll actually have to go about halfway down in the album to see the houses. There are pictures of both places in the album.
The second place that we loved came at the last minute. We were meeting with an "estate agent' and he recommended another place that he had. More expensive (still do-able, but not much wiggle room) - around 200 pounds more a month than the first place. Yet, this is partially furnished (we would not have to buy almost any furniture!), and in the Raynes Park area. This is the area we *think we want to be near. There is a church in this area that we have heard many good things about and have some potential friends down the street. I say potential - we're meeting them on Sunday! The flat is huge! over 1400 square feet, with 4 bedrooms and an office. We might not need to purchase a car since we are close to shops and rail station. This place is currently un-occupied so we would be able to move into it ASAP (which is great for me!)
The living room. Isn't it just so wonderful? Love the wood floors....
The bedroom downstairs. The house has many built-in closets and shelves like this. Love it!
Okay... so now that you know all the info, what would you do? Place 1 - cheap, out in the country, unfurnished, large bedroom, 17th century or Place 2 - expensive, in the city, furnished, lots of room
Let me know what you would choose and why!
Baby update: So... we went to several General Practitioner offices yesterday to see how they would treat me. One of the offices said that I would be seen, but would have to pay out of pocket for everything - doctors visits and the hospital delivery until I have been in the country for 6 months.
The second office said that as soon as I filled out paperwork, I would be seen. But not for my pregnancy, since it is a pre-existing condition. So, I would have to pay out of pocket for everything pregnancy-related, but anything else would be treated under the NHS.
We have a call in to people who know more than we do. Hopefully they can sort this out, since I'm not trying to have an anchor baby! The options are that we can get the NHS to cover everything because we have long-term visas. Second option would be that we pay out of pocket and hope that our health insurance in the US would cover it. This might get tricky since we are now "residents" of the UK. I don't know how the US insurance companies would like that.
Well, pray for this situation! We have lots of decisions to make regarding both the house and the baby. We have limited time, which is making this even harder on us. We have temporary housing for the next month, and the baby could come anytime after that!