Ok, where have I stopped in my last entry ...
UK phone number. Let's start right after that.
The first thing I did was calling the Jobcentre Plus department responisble for the National Insurance Number (in short: NINo; sounds kinda cute, doesn't it?). You can look up the phone number on the internet or just go into one of the many Jobcentre Plus branches and say you want to apply for a NINo, then someone's there to help you (in my case a very nice black man gave me an information leaflet and explained to me what I had to do). Then I called the number (you will have to try it a few times - just like in every other country), got a reference number which I had to take to the interview one week later in Whitechapel, and was told what else to bring: proof of address and my ID.
When I first stepped into the Whitechapel Jobcentre branch I was shocked by the amoung of people sitting and standing around - I instantly thought "I'll be here for HOURS!". Anyways, as I had entered, a woman in the front told me to get a form, fill it in (important: that reference number the nice lady on the phone gave me), first and last name, and time of appointment. Then I waited - for maybe fifteen minutes, then five others and I were called together, we followed another nice person to the rear rooms, sat down on a long bench/sofa/couch (whatever you call a looong seating space) where some other people were sitting, and waited again for a few minute. And then, I was called by name by another nice lady (so many nice people here in London, seriously! I'm really curious how long that streak will last...), we sat down at her little office space, and the interview began: the usual questions about name, date of birth, marital status, and some other things. At the end of it I had to sign the form. (I assume at some point they want to see the proof of address, however mine was never asked for.)
Eventually, she told me that I should receive a letter with my personal NINo within four weeks (some people I talked to earlier said something about four to six weeks even), got another leaflet with the same and further information, then she copied my ID while I waited on the comfy seating thing again, and after another few minutes I was done.
On the whole, I haven't been in there for even an hour.
(I was pretty impressed by that, especially when I think back to what my first notion was.)
And in the end, I've got my NINo almost exactly one week after my interview. Luck?
So, the next point on my "basics" list was a bank account.
As I have said in my previous post it was really hard for me to make a decision (but at last I made one with advice from my lovely, helpful host and my father).
Because I prefer talking to people face to face - even in Germany - I went to a branch of the bank I've chosen to apply for a bank account, or at least get further information on how to apply for it. Unfortunately, the earliest free date was two week from then, and the (again nice) man recommended that I should do it either online or via phone call because it's much faster and easier.
So, I called the number for application slightly reluctant but determined (I must say at this point: I tried it online but when I had to fill in my last address I got stuck because there's no "Germany" option). On the phone was a lovely lady - with a HEAVY dialect, or accent; I'm still not entirely sure, but even though she spoke really slowly for me to understand everything, the diale/ccent still was pretty strong. But somehow we managed to get through every detail needed, then she told me what else I had to do: sending a copy of my ID and proof of address in an envelope to the bank company. (And I also send a letter (well, a copy of it) from my host as further proof; just to be on the safe side.)
So far, that's it.
Although I have done a lot of research beforehand, having been (or rather still being) in that searching and getting-to-know state, it feels assuring that so many people here are helpful and smile at you when you ask your silly questions.
And please note: this is by no means a manual in any sense, only the ways and struggles and solutions I've experienced myself.
UPDATE Wed, 17th Feb:
So, after two week of waiting for any sign for my bank account, I emailed customer service for an application tracking request to find out what's going on. The answer I got was:
"We would like to advise in order to proceed with processing this application further, we will require further proof
of address. This is because we are unable to accept the letter sent and utility bill as this was not addressed to you."
Well, good to know, eventually.
But since I am going to move again next week, I can pretty much start from scratch then. Yay.