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(@Andie)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Hello all -

I am very happy to have located this website and forum in what I find is the most informative site yet to date.

As a person desperate to "downsize" in a year round tropical climate - STX seems to be a solid choice - at least on paper.

The next step of course is to come on down for a two weeker, with kids, to check things out as best as one can.

Employment is not an issue as I have two Online businesses. That being said - DSL is of utmost importance. After reading the forums, I may just be in luck in this department. Anyone familiar with online business license requirements?

The two issues that will require immense planning, etc. are:

1. I have a special needs daughter, autistic with severe developmental delays. She is very resilient and has thrived over the past 4 years since adoption, so I hesitate to pull her from her school program.

2. Housing - needs 3 bedroom 2 bath that accepts - get this - 3 big dogs (2 goldens retrievers and a black lab and two cats)

Ok - before you all start with uncontrollable laughter - the pets live mostly indoor and are well behaved - it doesn't hurt I work from home - and they are all fixed. Big hassle(which is normal and we are used to even here in Oregon), or just flat out impossible?

We have a 92 Full Size Bronco with title - so shipping won't be an issue.

Contemplating selling most of what we own and coming down lean. Not sure on this point, yet.

Any words of encouragement or reality checks are welcome -

Take care and see ya soon! Andie

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 3:28 am
(@laurenolivia)
Posts: 43
Eminent Member
 

Hi Andie,
I moved to St Croix from Portland, OR last August. We brought our two large dogs and two cats, and found a rental. I know that DSL is not available everywhere on the Island. The local phone company, Innovative is planning on doing what ever it is they need to do to make it available all over the island but who knows how long that will take. So, you do have a housing challenge but I donโ€™t think that it will be impossibly to find what you need. The best way to do that would to come down for a visit, this will give you a better idea of where youโ€™ll want to look for housing. Good luck!

Lauren

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 12:54 pm
 Jin
(@Jin)
Posts: 1180
Noble Member
 

Andie:

I would reconsider bringing a car as old as yours to the VI. Shipping and taxes are going to run around $2,000.

You need a reliable car as getting an automobile serviced on STX can be challenging. For instance, I called the the GM dealer on Dec 20th to have my car serviced and the earliest appointment I could get was January 18th. Not what you want to hear when the check engine light is on and your car is making strange noises.

As for high speed internet you have several wireless options here also. Prices are high from all sources and the speeds are less than you get using a cable modem stateside.

I wouldn't try to host my own server for a commercial site on the islands.

Jim

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 1:32 pm
(@Andie)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Hello there!

Thanks much for the quick replies!

Thought about the Bronco - it's age, etc.

My brother suggested we have a Jasper engine dropped in and all other issues addressed - the truck is pretty solid and would do great in that environment. I am one of those "go with what you know" kinda girls when it comes to vehicles.

I tell ya - when I was about 22 I dreamed of living on an island renting bicycles for a living - ๐Ÿ™‚ May not be a bad idea, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚ Good to hear of the DSL options!

Take care - Andie

PS - Lauren - I am in Sisters, Oregon - it is beautiful here - but freezing!

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 3:54 pm
 Jim
(@Jim)
Posts: 1180
Noble Member
 

A Jasper remanufactured engine installed will cost you around $4k.

As for renting bikes. Not much demand on STX. While STX is the best island in the VI for bicycles it is still a tough and dangerous place to ride.

Endurance Sports sometimes has bikes for rent. The only other place that rented bikes went out of business when the cruise ships stopped coming.

Good luck!

Jim

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 6:25 pm
(@east-ender)
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member
 

Andie: You will find that there the quality and quantity of programs for your little girl are not what you are probably accustomed to. You will need a special look-see visit just for her needs....

Also, even thought there is DSL in some places, you must remember that the infrastructure is not up to stateside standards- frequent power outages are still a problem. There was someone posting here as "Hip Crip" who also had similar requirements. You might check the archives here and see if you can find her contact info.

Aside and soap box: Did you ever notice how some folks are frequent posters as they are planning their move, but stop once they settle in? I would love to have follow-up from some of these! Let us hear how the reality is...

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 9:05 pm
(@Andie)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Hi Jim and East Ender -

Jim - thanks for the follow up!

East Ender - we plan a Look See in June - we can spend at least a month if we wait til then.

Once our plans are firm - we will let you know in hopes to meet some of you!

Take care, Andie

 
Posted : December 21, 2004 10:37 pm
(@Loyal Reader)
Posts: 65
Trusted Member
 

Hi, Andie

Great idea to do some research (both online and in-person) before you come here- the USVI is a great place to live, but it's good to go in with your eyes open!

I was perplexed by Jim's answer to you about your online businesses. I'm not sure the nature of them, but I didn't assume that you need to have/host your own server here. If you do, that's certainly an option- tons of people have online businesses down here! If you'd like to email me, I can chat with you more about that. It's easy to do- no big deal.

Additionally, while all providers don't do this, (in fact, only one does), you can get guaranteed speeds comparable to Stateside speeds. The pricing is more expensive because, like a lot of stuff here, it costs $$ to get Internet out into the middle of the ocean! ๐Ÿ™‚ Search this board for info about high-speed providers (key word "internet") and you can learn more about who offers what here.

Right now, I believe that surfVI is the only company that offers high speed internet via terrestrial wireless on St. Croix--- but I could be wrong! surfVI/Ackley Communications guarantees speeds, both upload and download, so you can get a consistent online experience. Business packages with static IP addresses are also part of the surfVI offering, so running your online businesses would be no problem there if you can get service from them.

East Ender is right on the money to warn you about power outages- just this morning, WAPA "wapped", and St. Thomas had no power for about half an hour. WAPA is a different beast than Innovative/Vitelco (who offer wire line DSL), but can affect your life and your business! I highly recommend bringing the biggest, fattest, most expensive UPS (uninterruptable power supply) you can find- or investing in a generator, if continuity is mission-critical to your business! ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoy your research and your visit. BTW, I lived in Portland, OR for a while, too, and after a few months here, I was convinced that SAD (seasonal affective disorder) was really really real, and while Portland was beautiful, it's great to be living in a place that's sunny a lot of the time!

Best,

LR

 
Posted : December 22, 2004 2:47 am
(@Jesse)
Posts: 9
Active Member
 

Andie, I am a private DT therapist and worked as a paraprofessional in an Eden Institute autistic program. I'm currently finishing my Special Ed. degree and since I'm moving to STX in February, I have been looking into the VI schools system for info on any special ed. programs they have. I would suggest getting in contact with someone at the Division of Special Services (340) 773-7997 with a copy of your daughters IEP in hand, to make sure that you will have all necessary access to any related services that she needs.

I'm also curious if IDEA,

http://www.ed.gov/offices/OSERS/Policy/IDEA/index.html

applies to the USVI as well. If it does, you should have no problem getting funds for private therapy or instruction.

Good luck with your move! If you have any questions or want to chat please feel free to Email me.

P.S.
Wow.. so many Portlanders on this Island! I feel at home already (SE Portland Local!)

 
Posted : December 22, 2004 3:48 am
(@Andie)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Holy smokes - tons of folks from Oregon!

Regarding the Server - My servers are based in Singapore and Texas - so not an issue there.

The Internet and high speed desires are needed for huge animation file uploads, etc. My husband is a computer game programmer and animator - as such - he needs to send and receive large files. Dial up is not an option for him.

My business currently is marketing, publishing and tech recruiting - so basically emails, promos, etc. so I could get away with it with alot of added patience. ๐Ÿ™‚

But - it looks like there are options available for high speed. Very cool!

I have to admit though - I am ready to ditch the 14 hour days and teach Yoga and Meditation with my free time Writing - any call for a Yoga/Meditation teacher on the Islands?

(The surge protectors on surge protectors and generator will be a must - thanks for the heads up!)

Regarding Florentina - she is 7, on an IEP for 4 years and currently in a regular classroom with 4 rotating Special Ed Assistants and Speech Therapy daily. Her situation this year is quite remarkable all thanks to her teacher. Her teacher insists she be in the regular classroom and has welcomed her and her issues with open arms and so have her classmates. In fact - Florentina calls her classmates - "her kids". This is an unusal situation and not the norm. Meaning last year her teacher refused to have her in class so Florentina was often by herself with an aide in the Special Ed room.

My point is - anywhere we go it only takes one person to accept a child such as Florentina to allow her an opportunity to succeed in a real environment. I strongly believe any environment that is nurturing and that accepts and treats Florentina like a regular kid - she will excel in. We are optimistic we will find this for her on the Islands.

You all have been beyond wonderful and generous with information! Thanks again!

Take care, Andie

 
Posted : December 22, 2004 3:04 pm
(@east-ender)
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member
 

Jesse: What is a DT therapist? Most of the laws governing federal money also govern things here. However, to say that there should be no problem getting money to pay for things is another problem. Here is an example in the health care field. We do follow Medicare and Medicaid guidelines. We have a population (the territory) of about 120,000 and only 20 Medicaid beds for long term nursing care. The education department has been under some federal injunction for many years because the parents sued them for not providing services. These are areas where, although we are US, we are not really US. Again, read the on-line papers. If you can find a contact in special education, it might be helpful.

 
Posted : December 22, 2004 10:12 pm
(@Andie)
Posts: 16
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Hi East Ender -

I believe it -

Even here in the States in the best of circumstances and best of schools - it can be a fight the entire way to include suing the school district for services.

Fortunately we have not had to go to the extremes.

Optimism, research and finding an ally in the system is the name of the game. Even then it may not work - haha. Homeschooling, hmmmm - well we homeschooled our oldest son for a year when we were in NYC - could work.

On another note - I had mentioned in another thread we currently live in a town of 1400 people - very slow, very laid back resort community. Yesterday I was standing in line behind a woman at the grocery store whom kept talking and talking and talking to the cashier - a good solid 5 min, which seemed like an hour, after her order was rung up - then the woman realized she needed to pay - out she whips the check book - all the while talking, and talking some more - It took her another 5 min to complete the check tear it out and hand to the cashier - at this point I am laughing out loud - oh - but it's not done yet - she stands there, looks over her shoulder to see me standing, waiting - I wave, and she moves on - well not quite - she leaves her basket blocking me while she runs around to HUG the cashier - OMFG - lol - yep - she leaves - finally - and I am laughing - my husband smiling rolling his eyes.

If the Island are anything like this - we may just be okay. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Holidays, Andie

 
Posted : December 22, 2004 11:35 pm
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