Welcome to the online diary of the “London Ziegs,” as they journal their experiences relocating from the balmy climes of sunny Orlando, Florida to the more chaotically cosmopolitan environment of London, UK!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy [6mo] Birthday, LondonCrackers!

Our first post went live July 5th, 2008 -- exactly 6 months ago today! Wow, a lot has happened in those six months!
  • left General Dynamics
    • (we still think about you Judd, Scott, Doug, Sandy, Richard, Iveto, Don, Phil, Chau, Andrew, Alan, Amit, Gene, Dick, Jason, John, Eduardo, Dan, and all the other 5th-floor regulars!)
  • discovered my work permit was going to take a month or more longer than expected
  • accepted a short-term contract at Symvionics
  • found out Amazon wanted me to fly out to Seattle for a few months
  • left Symvionics...sorry Dan :-(
  • flew to Seattle
  • 15min into Seattle induction, my work permit got approved, but elected to stay anyway for training
  • spent a few weeks with the TCC systems crew
    • (shout-out to Graham, Geoffrey, Charlotte, Mani, Adam, Kent, Rod, and the team)
  • family registered our biometrics and received entry clearance visas
  • flew home to pack
  • shipped our belongings to the UK via shipping container
  • moved in with my parents until we could ship ourselves to the UK!
  • shipped our van
  • flew to England, somehow losing a PSP on the way :-(
  • moved into our temporary flat
  • rented out our house in Florida
  • obtained UK bank accounts, mobile phones, etc
  • started work at Slough
    • (hello Nic, Ben, Tara, Jo, Hugues, Phil, Josef, Sergei, Miroslav, Al, Chris, Guy, Simon, Christian, Jim, Andrzej, Karthik, and all the rest!)
  • stumbled into High Street Methodist by sheer coincidence
  • had two birthdays and Thanksgiving in our flat
  • found a house to let
  • moved into our new home & unpacked all those boxes...and boxes...
  • rapid-prototyped an Innovation Week project
  • spent 3 days packaging Christmas gifts at an Amazon Fulfillment Centre
  • signed the kids up for local schools
  • found time for Christmas
  • ran NHS through its paces (definitely NOT on the original schedule!)
  • hosted our first company (my brother) for a week
That was a pretty tight to-do list for any 6mo period. It's been fun chronicling our many [mis]adventures through the website so far, and we look forward to many new episodes to come :-)

In that time, we've had readers from a staggering 2830 countries: US and UK obviously, but also Antigua, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, New Caledonia, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, and Turkey! We are deeply honored at your interest, and hope to continue to generate many more anecdotes (some informing, others merely amusing in their inanity) for your appraisal :-)


  1. Slightly off topic (although you mention renting and Orlando), but we hope to go to Orlando for a week or two in March and are interested in renting a house: do you know any agencies/people to recommend? Any specific neighborhoods that would be nice? (With a specific emphasis on ease to Disney- we have a 5 and 3 year old.)
    Thanks for any help you may be able to give-

  2. For convenience to Disney, that generally means Kissimmee, my hometown -- usually something along west US-192:


    That gives you a relatively quick (~20min) commute to the main Disney parks (via I-4 or SR-535), plus easy access to the other Orlando attractions via I-4 (e.g. Sea World or, my personal fave, Universal Islands of Adventure). There are plenty of restaurants along 192, shopping for necessities (Wal-Mart), and trinkets (roughly 10,000 T-shirt shops at last count).

    Googling for "Orlando vacation rentals" returns 520,000 hits, but unfortunately I can't recommend any of them as they're all scum-sucking slimeballs who'd offer their own grandmother if you'd sit through their timeshare pitch.

    Basically, go with whomever is cheap yet can list good customer referrals. Tell them up-front that you intend to walk out 30min into their sales pitch; ideally, have them fax you a document stating exactly what your "sales pitch" requirements are (it's hard to avoid entirely), or at least send them a written statement of how much of your time you're willing to let them waste, keeping a dated copy in case they start yelling that you violated some contractual fineprint.

    I've *heard* there's an interesting side-market in "house-swapping", especially between Orlando and Europe; however, I've never actually seen it work in practice, and don't know how easy it would be to synchronize schedules between two families.

    Maybe some of my friends and family in the Orlando area can recommend specific agencies...?

  3. I'm told that FloridaSunshineHomes.com may be a bit better than the rest; their villa is a bit further west than I'd normally go (US-27), but if other details fit then it may meet your needs.

    As to why they mention Weather Underground on their homepage...boy is that just begging for disambiguation!