And So It Begins – Chile Style
Well Cecile should be winging her way to Chile by now … well Miami actually, then to Chile overnight, landing in Santiago sometime tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, in the frigid Midwest (-11 this morning driving to school), final prep progresses apace. Today was getting my driver’s license renewed as it would expire while we are down there (an impressive 18 minutes process at the DMV office on Sterling, kudos), and trying to figure out if there’s any way I’ll be able to use my existing cell number whilst we reside in Chile.
The Virgin Mobile Saga
I bought my iPhone 4S from Virgin Mobile because, apparently as opposed to most Americans (well, estado unidences in Chilean) I can do math. If I keep this phone for 2 years, even paying full price at Virgin’s $30/month plan I’m saving I believe about $1200 over the cheapest plans available at the time (about 1.5 years ago). All was good until I tried to figure out a way to use this phone while we’re in Chile. Not only does Virgin Mobile not support Google Voice, it doesn’t look like it supports call forwarding either. As this is my business phone, that presents a bit of a problem as Virgin also has no international plans and won’t unlock your phone. While there appears to be a way to unlock it, frankly I have better things to do with my time. Transferring the number over to Google Voice is one option, and I’m investigating others as well while waiting to hear back from Virgin. If any of you have thoughts, I’d appreciate hearing them, but please only realistic ones, not speculation. I’ve done a fair amount of research on this, and it doesn’t look good. For now I’m actually slightly grateful that I have a relatively small client base, so I can just zip them my Google Voice number and tell them to use that for a few months.
The Banking Saga
While we’ve mostly figured out dealing with bills both home and abroad while we’re gone, our bank wasn’t content to make it easy. Late last week we received a letter saying they are changing over their online banking system in mid-March, smack dab in the middle of our stay, and that everything will have to be redone. So not only will online banking not be available for about a week, but when it comes back you’ll have to set everything up again … and be able to receive a text or phone call, possibly several at the same web address, to finish setting things back up. We suspect they don’t want to make a long distance call, so in addition to letting the bank know we’re going to be in foreign parts and not to panic if they see multiple transactions from Chile, I began the process of figuring out how we’re going to work the signup process. While we might not and hopefully won’t need it, we do need it available in case we do. It’s possible Google Voice will be our savior here, but no real way to check until we’re down there with Internet.
Stay tuned …