I spent 4 yrs livin...
 
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I spent 4 yrs living on STT

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stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

Well, island life is not for everyone. I love it here and all of the 'issues' outlined are not a big deal to me. I actually feel good about living without. My folks, well, they would hate it. My mom would rather die than live without A/C, and my dad, he likes to take about 4 showers a day. This is not the place for them. I remember the first time they saw the house I live in now (basically a shanty). They were completely mortified.

Since St. John is so small, you 'see' the new people all the time. After awhile, you can get pretty good at telling who is going to stay and who is going to go. And after living here even longer, you can tell how long they will last and the reason they will leave. I will admit though, it usually doesn't take someone 4 years to leave. That's quite awhile to live here and hate it. The first year seems to be the hardest for people.

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Posted : September 26, 2010 8:04 am
Highlander32
(@Highlander32)
Advanced Member

Hi Aussie, Not sure what that means. What I was trying to say is she complained about such trivial things. Did she really think moving to the caribbean was like moving from one state to another with all the conveniences? I don't think she did enough research before she moved. But if that's the case, you would think she would have figured it out alot sooner. Anyway. There isn't anything here for me anymore. Can't afford the house, the job market is in the toilet. The opportunity came along last Sept. to move to STT when I replied to a job offer. I don't think I was "blinded". I have said all along what's the worse thing that can happen? I won't like it and I'll have to leave. If I don't try, how many times should I kick myself in th butt for not trying? The consequences of staying here outweigh the risk. John8-)

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Posted : September 26, 2010 3:22 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

If I don't try, how many times should I kick myself in th butt for not trying? John8-)

Greetings John

It sounds like you're pretty well grounded and have thought this through so, come on down! As someone else said, enjoy the ride! Keeping your options open and some of your belongings safely in storage stateside might be a wise precaution though.

I wasn't trying to single you out but, rather, your statement. I see a fair amount of false pride and chest-thumping here from long time residents. They assert that they are made from sturdier stock than the folks that move here and then make the choice to leave. They assert that the other folks just couldn't cut it or, as you suggested, they just weren't a winner. I'm sure that there are instances when that may be true but, for the most part - no, I don't agree. I believe that it's more about life choices and what you are/are not willing to accept for yourself and your loved ones.

I agree that many of the things that Barbara addressed are trivial - minor inconveniences, at worst. She did touch on more serious concerns though such as the government, health care, the police, and the schools. Her statements were broad, sweeping, negative generalizations and therefore of little benefit. Perhaps she simply didn't express herself well.

When I stated that many aspects of living here take time to understand, allow me to just scratch the surface of what I'm trying to express through a series of questions. Have you had to call the police yet? How quickly did they respond? Did they respond at all? Did things seem to get better or worse after you contacted the police? Do you feel they did a good job of investigating the matter? Did they catch anyone? If so, did you follow the case through sentencing? Was the sentence appropriate? Were they sentenced at all? Did you read the bad guy's name again in the paper when they were arrested for yet another crime?

There are many aspects of living here that simply can't be seen while on vacation or during a short PMV.

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Posted : September 26, 2010 4:40 pm
cheryl280
(@cheryl280)
New Member

Hi There,
I am leaving for St. Thomas tomorrow to scout it out and am planning on moving there asap. I also live in NJ. Just out of curiosity, what part are you from?

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Posted : September 26, 2010 11:35 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

I think I misspoke... there is one big concern for me living on St. John, schools. I have a 9 year old son and the options for a quality education are limited. A couple of years back I was contemplating a move to seek out better schools. There are some good private schools on St. Thomas, but it is quite a commute for a little guy, not to mention the huge expense. I am fortunate to have a bright little guy on my hands and he does quite well with his academics that are heavily supplemented at home.

As far as having had to call the police... I have done this on occasion and had very good response. The one key thing is that I have to call 911, not the local number. If I call the local number I tend to get ignored. 911 calls are recorded, and handled quite differently, so I do as the Police Commissioner suggests and call 911 for EVERYTHING, even if it seems minor. We had kids and young adults coming into our yard and stealing chickens (for cock fighting) and I would call when I saw them hanging out trying to get chickens. For one, I didn't want them to take the chickens, and for 2, I have two very large dogs that may or may not bite them if they are in the yard. After I called 911 a couple of times, they would make drives by the house throughout the day and tell the kids to keep out. (They were easy to spot, they usually had a rooster with a string around their leg used for louring other roosters).

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Posted : September 27, 2010 7:02 am
VentoGT
(@VentoGT)
Advanced Member

Well, I've been here 7 months now so I've seen some of the ups and downs and the replies from other posters are accurate. This place is far from perfect [STT], but it's quite an experience and I have met some people and experienced things that I never would have had I not made the decision to move here.

Unfortunately, my job didn't turn out to be what I thought so I'm back on the search but am determined to be here at least through Spring, hopefully much longer if I can find the right employment. Oftentimes, expectations are the boon of many people's problems, and when one sets expectations to an unattainable level [i.e living here should be just like the states], they are bound to be disappointed.

Life is up and down here just like it is anywhere else, we just happen to be in a much more beautiful place than many others to weather the ups and downs. It isn't for everyone, but it is a fantastic place.

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Posted : September 27, 2010 8:33 pm
formersttresident
(@formersttresident)
Active Member

Hi Kids - Barbara here,
Gosh it made me chuckle that there is such a "negative" response to a former resident expressing her experience.
Just a little more info and then I'll be on my way. I posted for one and only one reason - I wish someone had been more honest on the board when I was moving to STT.

I was the Corporate Controller for the owners of Vitraco Mall and Nisky Center. I had an excellent job (one of the few) and my daughter moved there also. She had been going to college and living in New York City. She was there during 911 and was extremely traumatized. She needed to leave and decided to go to the USVI. I was living in Tucson and wanted to be closer to my daughter. Basically, I followed her dream. Silly, I know, but it was very very important to me to be closer to her.

As property managers of two malls on STT (Nisky is second in size only to Tutu.), you get a very intimate look at how the island operates. Subway rents space at Nisky. The first time I met him, it was in response to a letter I wrote him complaining about being served stale bread. He offered no apology, but was very concerned they had stale bread on the premises. And, guess what? He owned the IHOP. It did in fact close because of Wapa. Our own WAPA bill tripled over 4 years. Its very old equipment, and very fragile, it puts an enormous strain on the economy.

I personally had bank tellers steal from me twice. We had extremely high security wages and still had vagrants sleeping on the benches, armed robberies, broken windows, etc.. None of the crimes were ever solved. We took a woman from the mall to the hospital in an ambulance. Our property manager road to the hospital with her and I followed in my car. On the way, the police came over their radio and asked for backup. The ambulance drivers started laughing and said the cops don't have a prayer of getting backup. They said "it's Thursday and the cops all got paid. They're all off shopping and cashing checks and no one will respond. It's been that way for 20 years". At least as long as he was an ambulance driver.

I could go on and on and on. The island is beautiful!!!!! I found life does not revolve around a view. The best I can do is compare it to Chicago in the 50's. The Governor is Al Capone and you take it from there. I was also very close friends with a senator - trust me - I know.

So anyway you guys, I am so not angry or a drama queen. I feel very very blessed to have my feet back on US soil. I truly hope the islands turn out to be paradise for all of you there now or moving. God bless - Barbara

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Topic starter Posted : September 29, 2010 7:15 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Al Capone died in 1947 - Chicago in the 50's was actually quite a vibrant city and elected Daley as Mayor in 1955 - and he stayed Mayor 20+ years - there is a 2 term -8 yr. limit for Governor in the USVI - Senators are elected every 2 years in a popularity contest - 7 from STT and 7 from STX and one at large - a resident of STJ.
I am sure you learned quite a bit as Controller for the owners of the 2 properties and as a personal friend of a Senator but the "trust Me - I know" sounds hollow.

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Posted : September 29, 2010 7:53 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Barbara: I appreciate your post. It is funny you mention that no one warned you. I feel instead that the residents who post here get accused of being TOO negative toward newcomers. As many responders have said, it is NOT Paradise here, and if you think that is what you are going to find, you WILL be disappointed.

A couple of red flags pop up on these new revelations. 1. Your daughter fled to the VI under traumatic condidtions. 2. You moved here to be near her. Neither of these gives rise to joy. You probably expected things to be like they were in Tucson, only with water and better views!;) I think anyone on this board would have told you that you were not in Kansas, or Arizona, anymore. The culture here is so diametrically different than anything you could possibly imagine. After all the time I have lived here, I will still shake my head about some little something and the response from my beloved is: "Did you forget where you live?"

Do you mind if I ask why you posted here two years after you left?

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Posted : September 29, 2010 9:47 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

I think Barbara's original post, along with her most recent post, and EE's post, today, should go into the archives somewhere to be pulled up for all those who think living here is a panacea.

It's a gorgeous place (a little litter), with beautiful water and scenery. I don't go along with the "friendly" people some tout, but it's all about perspective. My friendly may not be your friendly. Irritations abound, if you let them. The key is to be flexible, and don't sweat the small stuff. If you do, you'll be on the next plane home.

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Posted : September 29, 2010 11:38 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

You can't make appointments for the DMV in AZ. I finallly found a private company that does the DMV services that take me a few minutes and only costs me a little bit more. We can renew out car license on line but with newer cars we have to go to a smog check that costs about $20 or so. Not all counties in AZ have to do this.

I think many of her complaints would be found in many rural areas on the mainland.

Me, a day on STT was too much. However to be fair, all I saw was an overall view on a buss tour and then the tourist shopping area with all of the Hawkers trying to get me in their little shops. I do understand that has supposedly changed.

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Posted : October 1, 2010 12:25 pm
stcmike
(@stcmike)
Advanced Member

I'm sorry the original poster had such a bad time in STT. I usually go out of my way to avoid STT, to congested and commercialized for me. I think St X is the place to be in the Virgin Islands, Its not as expensive as the other islands and you have a little more elbow room. To me there is nothing more pleasant than taking a leisurely stroll down strand st in Fsted and watching that gorgeous sunset. With all that said I do not consider the Islands a Paradise. A paradise would not have the crime,corruption,poverty. terrible education and horrendous health care that we have on St C. I will stay here a few more years but I know I will end up back in the Northeast part of the states.

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Posted : October 2, 2010 2:09 am
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

Barbara's post is interesting and instructive.
It points out the vast differences in experience one can have here in "paradise" based on what you're doing here.

-Those who come down to open or manage a business are often frustrated.

-If you have dealings with the police/security/crime issues, they can jade you quick.

-Those who come to vacation or retire here, or are wealthy enough to insulate themselves here, can create a big blindspot.

-If you come down to work for a stateside-style/owned operation, you'll probably have a better experience here than if you come to work for the hospital or government, where you have to deal with more local attitudes about work.

Barbara's comment that she was "following" her daughter after her daughter was traumatized by 9/11 is also instructive. How many times I've read up here "don't come if you're trying to escape something" ...or if you're "following someone else's dream, not yours." This is true about moving anywhere.

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Last but not least, I WISH we'd hear from more St. Thomians on this board about life on St. Thomas. It DOES seem to be less appealing than life on St Croix, but half the population lives there, and I wonder 'why' other than 'that's where my job is.'

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Posted : October 2, 2010 11:09 am
bluehairdave
(@bluehairdave)
Active Member

"Last but not least, I WISH we'd hear from more St. Thomians on this board about life on St. Thomas. It DOES seem to be less appealing than life on St Croix, but half the population lives there, and I wonder 'why' other than 'that's where my job is.'"

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- I am curious about the same thing. There is a possibility we will be moving there and I am having trouble figuring out which island. I have never visited STX but have visited STT a few times. From the pictures it looks like STT might be prettier? (In that it many of the homes have tall mountain views right down island and you can just skip across in 30-40 minutes to a beach on north or south or east side or another depending where on the island you are?

From the pictures of STX it looks more flat and grassy and from the looks of the rental pictures I see muddy or more rural. And for some reason the beaches dont look as nice.?? (i.e. white sand and clear or turquoise water etc..) But everyone seems to like STX more I cant help but think that this is just a figment of my imagination..... Im going to visit both again for an extended time but some opinions would help here. I am a bit confounded on what to think. I know people dont like STT because of downtown etc but what about the Northside?

I have lived in urban beach areas most of my whole life where crime and drunks and fighting out on the street is common a few nights a week. Gang bangers, bar goers pi$$ing on my fence as they walk by.... out of control kids picking up newspaper machines and throwing them onto car windshields..Your business gettting shook down by the local hells angels for money.... Just a Sat night in Mission Beach, CA! lol

How much different would STT really be if I had a place up in the hills over Magens on the Northside?
We just need some internet and we are good to go.
Of course I dont want the same atmosphere as described above. Id like a nice place now that I have a kid etc. Is there anywhere on STX I should look with a nice view, a pool and somewhat close to town BUT more secure? In STT many places are in gated neighborhoods. I had a friend who was shook down and robbed more than a few times on STT and he wouldnt live without a security gate neighborhood now if he ever moved back.

sorry to go on and on but its been bugging me..Which island? From the perspective online it makes STT look much better until you read this board.. thoughts?

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Posted : October 2, 2010 5:40 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Well, I have to fess up, but I have never been to St Croix.:-o

I guess I picked St Thomas because I first came here on a term charter, fell in love with sailing and the possibilities of island hopping. I know someone who felt claustrophobic on St Thomas, moved to St Croix for the wide open spaces. Some St Thomians seem to think there isn't enough "to do" on St Croix. I think where you end up it is just happenstance for some, well researched choice for others (like Edward.)

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Posted : October 2, 2010 6:20 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

And I've only spent a few days total on STT. I really need to get out more.

In general, STT is town, STJ is park and STX is country. We are a little flatter and more spread out.

The only way you are going to decide which is right for you is to come to each island and stay a while.

I will say that STX is no good if you plan on doing a lot of island-hopping. We are just too far south for that to be fiscally possible. Unless you're rich and then it doesn't matter where you move!! lol.

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Posted : October 2, 2010 6:53 pm
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

STX has a lot of mountains. We also have flatter areas and rolling fields which STT doesn't have.
Lots of great beaches and great water too.
What we don't have are a lot of tourists and congestion.

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Posted : October 2, 2010 9:18 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Last but not least, I WISH we'd hear from more St. Thomians on this board about life on St. Thomas. It DOES seem to be less appealing than life on St Croix, but half the population lives there, and I wonder 'why' other than 'that's where my job is.'

I live on STT and do not comment on STX because I spent a month there a few years ago and hated it. I don't discuss my experiences there, because I'm not into bashing places other people choose to call home. I'm amused when folks from STX cite the congestion in Charlotte Amalie as a chief reason for disliking STT. CA is like an amusement park in that most locals only go there if they work there or have out-of-town visitors. I live on the northside and do not have to contend with congested traffic when running errands to Cost-U-Less or Home Depot. I only skirt the edge of town when going to the airport, and even that is a painless fifteen minute drive. I know STT has traffic, but it's never an issue for me because I don't frequent places that tourists frequent.

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Posted : October 2, 2010 9:51 pm
islandlola
(@islandlola)
Trusted Member

<>

So true. I've gone weeks sometimes without going into town, and without encountering many cars (or people) besides those in the Cost-U-Less. I frequent the ferries sometimes, but except for during holiday periods (when it's always crowded), there are many calm periods when crowds can be avoided there. In addition, I go to the less-busy beaches, and even go to those on off-hours most of the time. So, unless I'm trying to, for example, go cross-island when the ship people are heading back to Havensight, "congested" isn't a typical part of my experience in STT.

Best,

Islandlola
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Posted : October 2, 2010 10:25 pm
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