Back in April of this year I was offered a job with The Department of Homeland Security as a Senior Network Administrator. Originally the position was in Douglas, Arizona. Of course, I had to wait for the preliminary background check, so I continued working my current contract job in Jacksonville, Florida. In June I was told the Arizona job was not going to be funded, but they had another position in the Caribbean, how did I feel about St. Croix?
Needless to say I had never, ever considered moving to an island. I mean, how often does that kind of offer come along to someone who’s 32 and single? After negotiating salary and moving assistance (both pretty excellent I might add), the ball got rolling.
In July I got authorization to go ahead and move. On the 21st United/Suddath came out and packed all my stuff into a 40′ container. Two days later I drove my truck to their warehouse and it was loaded on the container as well. July 27th I boarded a plane for the islands.
I must say having a recruiter handle the travel and accommodations helped out immensely. When I got off the plane in St. Croix I already had a hotel prepaid for two weeks and a rental car waiting. To top it off, I didn’t have to start work until August 2nd, so I had the rest of the week to get my act together. At this point I have to thank the wonderful people at Breezez, where it’s super easy to relax. Great happy hour and excellent food.
On Friday I started to tackle the job of finding permanent residence. I got the local paper, found some places that looked good and started making calls. Everyone was very helpful but I quickly found the downside to the maps here, especially the tourist maps. All the maps show road numbers. No one here knows the road numbers, they know everything by location, so finding landmarks is a helpful thing.
I finally found a duplex I really liked and put down the deposit on Saturday. Claudia, the landlord, was very pleasant to deal with and even took me to get a post office box and to get the water and power turned on. For those who are moving here, get a post office box first. You can’t get anything turned on without a mailing address. Also, the post office will require a copy of your lease in order to rent you one. While I was out and about on Friday the transport company had called and said my stuff had arrived!!! I was told it would take 4-6 weeks!! So, Monday morning they delivered my household goods. Water and power were both working, which was great since WAPA told me it could be 3-5 business days. Nothing got broken or lost, which was excellent. They finished before lunch and I headed to work at the airport.
Since then it’s been hectic and a real adventure, especially getting the truck registered. I paid the excise tax and the road tax, then had the transport company do the registration for me. It was worth the extra $100 to have them do it. Phone and Cable are not like in the States. You actually have to go down to the office and wait in line, no calling up and having it turned on. I signed up for both on the 5th, they did the install on the 17th. This weekend I’m going to tackle signing up for DSL.
The best advice I could give anyone has been reiterated numerous other places. Don’t be in a hurry here. Everything takes time, and you’ll only make it worse if you get agitated about it. Driving on the left is not hard, you’ll be surprised how quickly you get used to it. And lastly, when you see something in the grocery store or K-Mart that you like or want, buy it, cause it may not be on the shelf tomorrow or even next week!