May be moving to STT for 1 year - need advice on feasibility!
I've been reading through this forum for much of the day (so much great information!) and now feel ready to post.
I am debating taking an offer for a 1 year position on STT. My concern is that I have 2 kids, one in middle school, the other starting Jr. High. I get that private school is the way to go but I'd just like input from residents: am I insane to be seriously considering this? I think it would be an amazing experience for the kids and I can swing it, financially. I've been to the Islands many times and (especially having read this board!) have a pretty good idea of what to expect, but I'd really appreciate thoughts and advice.
Thanks very much in advance!
If you have a job and the means to live here, I'd say, go for it. I think it is easier if one plans to stay for a specific period of time. Don't burn any bridges back home. 🙂
I came here for a year and am still here 20+ years later.
Go for it as East Ender says!
After a year, you should know whether island life is for you and kids.
If you have a job and the means, been here before, you're way ahead of the game in many ways.
I feel that deciding on a school for your children will be the most crucial factor involved in your plan. Overall it will affect not only them --- it may well determine what part of the island you live on, your car needs, your commute time, after school participation, everyone's social circle, your weekend activities and especially Family Harmony.
It will hopefully be exciting and a great learning experience for all of you -- expand your interests -- introduce everyone to a new multi-cultural society - even other islands that are close by.
what are you concerns about the downside??
I would make sure your kids are ok with it, they are leaving friends and family. I ran into a father and his daughter who just decided to sell his business move to STX and while talking them, I asked her how she like it. She said she hated it. They were on the island for 6 months at that point and moved from the Boston area. Again, it may be great for you, but make sure your children are ready for it, as it's not like living in the states.
Thank you all so much: this is incredibly helpful.
My kids are old enough to fully understand what's being contemplated and we are going to spend the weekend (decision time!) making sure that we all understand what this will be. (right now, the older kid is on board 150%, the younger is thinking on it.)
Now I need more help (so needy!). I've been researching schools and neighborhoods. I would be working in Charlotte Amalie and - as of now - am think Antilles would be a great place for the kids, if I could get them in. Which leads to my next questions - 1) with regard to private schools, we are free wheeling episcopalians and would prefer not to do the parochial route. Could we get the kids into Antilles or are there things I should know? 2) neighborhoods - I've only sailed into STT and stayed aboard ship. Could someone give me an idea of the housing sitch on the east side of the island? Kids have always shared a room and we are super low maintenance, so a small 2br would be perfect. So appreciate any help and advice - this board is making me hope the job comes through!
I would look closer to Antilles if you decide on that -- south side, Frenchmans bay, etc for housing rather than east if you are working in town. Commute from the east End can be time consuming.
You might also consider this school:
My daughter went to Antilles 12 yrs.--- a fine school too.
Thank you, Exit. And yes, west side, not east.
Re schools, I was looking at All Saints yesterday! Crazy, trying to figure this stuff out from afar. Fortunately, if this happens, I will come down before the kids (while they finish up the school year) so I will have time to look for a place and acclimate. I'm spending the weekend researching neighborhoods and housing but if any of you have advice/pointers/general "you should know" info (like Exit's point about commuting from the east side!) it would be much appreciated.
Good weekend, all.
South. Not west. Lol, posting before coffee is a bad idea.
On the other hand, the east end has the yacht club and sailing, as well as http://www.vimsia.org/ and many other fine points for a family. 😉
I always recommend people look at the Anchorage- 2 bedroom condos on the water, next to the yacht club with other youngsters. Cowpet West is another good place.
Montessori school on east end is also excellent as is Antilles.
Both have great activities/sports programs for the kids as well as academic excellence and have excellent record of high achievers and very high percentage college acceptances.
I believe both have some limited school bus services which would help with your commuter issues if living on east end and working in town.
That's something you could check on while visiting and checking on schools.
Also check your commute time from desired living location, school and work during your visit. It used to take considerably longer before they widened the roads and added extra lanes in Havensight and at bottom of Raphune Hill bottleneck. Winter months commute can be a more time consuming due to added cruise ship arrivals if going thru Havensight.
Daily parking can add to costs and commute time unless the company you plan to work for has their own lot/assigned parking.
Northside gives an easier commute to town but very time consuming to
get kids to school on east end (Montessori) or south side (Antilles) and back to town for work. Additionally, there's no regular bus service on the north or south sides, nor the $2 safaris.
Neighborhoods aren't at all like they are stateside.
No sidewalks for one thing and not at all laid out as they are in the states.
South side can be pretty dry and hot, especially in summer. Check how apt. is laid out to catch the breezes wherever you look as you'll end up spending a lot more money on electricity to run any AC unit. You'll probably want AC in bedrooms and not run them 24/7 as you might be used to doing in the states. You may wish to look for an apt. that includes a generator, given the frequency of power outages that occur without rhyme or reason.
Good luck in the delusion making process.
A year goes by pretty quickly but exposure to new experiences last a lifetime.
Thank you! That's exactly the kind of info I'm hoping for! I've been reading real estate listings all morning, trying to get a feel for areas, availability, etc. Trying not to get my hopes up before the job is a done deal, lol. (Side note, I grew up on boats and sailing is a huge draw, for me 😉 )
Alana, this is fantastic: I'm taking notes!
Was also checking out Montessori - great to know.
I would never have thought about parking - will definitely ask about that. Generator was on my list of things to ask here, checking it off! These boards are amazing - thank you.
Cowpet West is quite close to Montessori so it would make commuting very easy for kid's school plus being on the beach, next door to yacht club is a plus depending if any rentals are available there. Cowper East next door also on beach is also an option as is the Anchorage location directly next to St. Thomas Yacht Club. All condos. Not inexpensive but not outrageous, either. Secret Harbor may also be an option.
I wouldn't want the kids walking back and forth on that road between those locations even if it's in walking distance, however as it's a narrow road with no sidewalks and speeding drivers.
Yeah, I'm finding prices to be about what I expected, maybe a hair lower. And all three of those condo complexs look great; will check out Secret Harbor. Being close to school would be major - but yes, no way on walking - one of the kids asked me that, this morning! - I've driven those roads. Nope.
If you sail, and are interested in the next generation sailing... http://www.styc.club/ 😉
Several world class sailors have come through the ranks there.
My idea of heaven. I have one more hurdle to cross before this job is a certainty... But right now, we are all so hoping it happens! Thank you all so much for your help - cross your fingers I'll be asking for more info, soon!
OK all, it's happening. Have job offer in hand and the family is on board (well, we're all scared but thrilled - so, in a good place!)
I need real time advice, now: I'm compiling a list of B&Bs / etc for when I land (input would be great - I just need relatively clean and close to center of Charlotte Amalie) but will also need names of legit realtors to find a long term, furnished rental. (Bringing family so yes, thinking East End.) Thank you all again for the advice you've already offered - it's been invaluable. Really looking forward to being a part of this community.
Scary, indeed but you and family will do fine! (Hopefully!)
What time of year will the move be?
Ronnie at Crystal Palace is always a sure bet if you wish to be close to town. He's a great source of information and an excellent host.
I'll pm you on Realtors. I'm one myself but just made the reverse move to FL!
There are tons of vacation rentals within your budget on sites such as VRBO, Flipkey, Airbnb, etc. Rates generally come down after May 1.
Good luck to you and kids.
Thanks Alana - I'll PM you.
As far as the move, I will be moving down mid-April, solo. My plan is to find a spot at a guest house or B&B for the first week or so while I get acclimated and start the job. Kids and husband will follow in July, once school is out.
SCHOOLS: Will start working on schools today but checking the map, I'm starting to think I should look for a month-long rental in town while I get that figured out, THEN look for a year-long rental, after high season, based on where the school is. (Any advice on this is greatly appreciated - my kids are really excited about this move but my biggest concern is that we make their transition as smooth as possible.)
HOUSING: see above. Really liking the idea of being on the East End as it looks very family-friendly and good for commuting. But I realize I know NOTHING, lol. As we are only spending a year there (unless, you know, we fall in love with the Islands and never leave!), we are thinking fully furnished annual rental. Again, input greatly appreciated. Which leads to another big concern...
PETS: I've been going through the threads and see lots about dogs, none about cats. We have three of the cat creatures and would very much like to bring them with us. I don't know if that's remotely feasible. (And if not, I have an emergency back up plan here, in case anyone is thinking we'd just abandon them!)
Those are my questions for today - as always, very grateful for your help! (Oh, and I read the family the "not for the faint hearted" post and they were like, "...and? We're stoked!" I think this is going to be great...)
Happy St Patrick's Day
I pm'd you.