Going to the US and London! And Meetup Plans!

I opened a bank account in Brooklyn, New York when I moved there fourteen years ago. It was at a convenient location for me, the branch a mere minutes walk from where I was living. Over the years, this became my bank account that I used for all my American needs, all my work over the internet got paid into this account. It came with a debit card, and that has been the card I've used for all my international purchases as I don't have a local internationally usable debit or credit card. I used that card locally many times a week in general transactions and occasionally to withdraw funds via ATM.

My card was going to be expiring at the end of this year and my mailing address on it was a relative of my husband that I haven't spoken to in a year plus since initiating my divorce, and wasn't sure what to do because my new card was going to be mailed there, and decided to get around to changing my address.
And then the time line was pushed up, because I lost my debit card while on vacation. I called up the bank to get a new card and asked them to change my address, but they said that in order to do that I need to send them a picture of my ID... But both my American passport and driver's license expired. I sent them copies of my expired ones and offered them a copy of my up to date foreign id but it didn't work. They not only refused to update my address and send the card there, but also they refused to issue a new card and mail it to my address currently on file, and on top of it all they also locked me out of my account.

I tried to figure out solutions about how to deal with my bank issue, that all my money currently, calling them multiple times, proposing multiple solutions, speaking to managers, crying to them, begging them to help me, but unfortunately I got nowhere. Bottom line was, if I want to have access to any of the money that I earn through the internet, which is the majority of my income, I'd need to show up at my bank in New York...

And so...

I will be heading to the US very soon, and I'd love to meet you!

I found very cheap tickets and will be arriving there on September 11th, and then will be taking care of bank things September 12th in the morning.
And then in the evening, I would love to meet up. I will be hosting a meet up/get together in Manhattan.

The details are that it will be at Arba Mediterranean restaurant, an all gluten free restaurant that got great reviews! The address is 472 Columbus Ave in Manhattan.

I haven't set the exact time yet, but if you live in the general NY area and would like to meet me, please send me an email so I can know how many people to expect, and I'll make reservations.
After this get together I will be heading to my hometown of Cleveland for a few days, and then flying back out on the 18th. (Again, if you're from the Cleveland area, I'd love to meet you, but haven't set a date and time yet. Send me an email and we'll be in touch.)

Unfortunately, I only realized after I bought my tickets, that I had a transfer in London... That included transferring airports... And I asked Londoners about how to transfer, and they all told me that my ticket was problematic, since it didn't give me enough time to get from one airport to the other in time for my flight, even with taking an expensive cab, so I was recommended to buy a new ticket from London to where I live, and fortunately found one that is quite cheap. But I decided that if I anyhow was buying a new ticket home from England, I might as well give myself some time to tour London, a destination I've dreamed of touring, especially since reading my friend Michelle's review of how to do London on a budget. A long time friend in London is hosting me there and I'll be there for a few days before heading back home. So if any of you are in London and would like to meet, again, send me an email and I'll try to arrange a meetup.

So now, my life is quite busy getting everything ready for the start of the school year next week, especially with two kids in new schools, and preparing for my international trip in a little over two weeks (including going to the American embassy yesterday to renew my expired American passport which is supposed to be ready in time and delivered by courier).

I'm also really excited because, although this trip wasn't meant for pleasure, and is being taken because of necessity, I'm going to use it to see some people very dear to me, and do some touring, and hopefully get to meet you! I haven't been to the US since I was pregnant with Rose and she's now nearly 5.5... And i have no idea when I'll get there again.

So as frustrating as this whole situation is, good is still coming out of it, including this meet up!

Can't wait!

Have you ever had horrid bank issues like I've had? Please tell me I'm not the only one...

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I'm just in the Sullivan County, NY area, but have never *cough* been to the city. But I will wave at you from two hours away!

  2. we had something very similar with trying to access our ny bank account from overseas (same country as you), and i forgot the answers to a few of their security questions over the phone! so they blocked our account, and also said we had to come into the local branch, and i was starting to consider when to travel there.. but fortunately an idea popped into my head, we had a family member go to their local branch (even though it wasn't our branch) and they became a power of attorney for me, and did the transaction i needed, and reopened our blocked account etc .. but the trip does sound great, and if you don't have a local family member or friend may be necessary... good luck!

  3. Penny,
    What a story! Can't believe you have to physically come to the US but it sounds like you will have some quality time with family in Ohio! I would love to meet you but I will be in NYC on the 18th I'll wave to you too from Pennsylvania --

  4. It seems to me that the bank is treating you shabbily after all the dealings you've had with them. I suppose they stand by their policy and make no exceptions. If they want to have international customers they need to be more cooperative.

  5. Never had that problem but I would change banks. I recently got a Ally account for PayPal and other online purchases. I never use a debit card anymore. Too easy for ID theifs to steal. I just use my credit card for everything and pay the bill with my bank account.

  6. Banks are annoying and rigid and inflexible. On SO many things. NOT customer friendly. Years ago, we switched everything over the USAA, which is a credit union for the military and they are awesome.

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