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Moving Questions to St. John

Posts: 25
Eminent Member
Topic starter

Good Afternoon Everyone,

I may be moving to St. John and had a few questions that I may not have asked before,

I have been researching using this website and found a list of food prices dated back from 2009, how have the prices changed or have they stayed the same.

also I have a new born a few months old does St John have a local pediatric doctor?

and are most apartments in and around Cruz bay on a city water system or do they use cisterns

My wife and I are committed to moving to St. John and have done extensive research but I have also heard that alot of people leave shortly after arriving I would like to know from you guys based on people that you have interacted with that have left why have they decided to leave after moving to the island and what tips could you provide us to better adapt to island living. we live in miami and i know it is nothing like here but we do live a very simple life we don't go out alot nor will we miss much of the "miami scene" what appeals to us is that it is remote and quite a perfect place to raise our new born for atleast a few year. What things can we do or know to make the most of the next few years.

also I'm sure I would like to take my wife out once in a while to dinner or beach activities how are the baby sitters in the area is thier a company to use or just a search in the local paper.

also how is the relationship with the statesiders and local islanders, I am very focused on being sure not to show poor ettiquette to the locals and would like to know any do's and don'ts. Also from a family stand point is it safe to have my wife and child out and about in St John or St Thomas I know that St. Thomas is a little more "hectic" but I'm assuming that their is a high level of respect for ladies and children correct? meaning that she won't be getting a lot of hisses or gawking if she is out by herself. I know it may sound silly but I put my wife and child first and care about their safety so while I may sound silly my main foucs is to ensure that they are safe.

also any reccomendation on local churches I'm Baptist but not too pick as long at the Pastor has a great message and attitiude.

any help will is greatly appreciated.



Posted : July 25, 2012 6:09 pm
Posts: 1250
Noble Member

Welcome, jz. If you are committed to moving to St John, you may find it money well spent to do a pre-move visit with your family beforehand.

Food costs -- I don't know where the list you mention is or what's on it, but food costs have probably risen slightly on STJ since 2009 due to increased WAPA costs.

Access to professional medical care on St John is extremely limited -- you would have to go to St Thomas for an actual pediatrician. StJohnJulie on this board has a baby and may be able to offer you more guidance in this area. She may also know more than I do about babysitters; I know there are plenty of local teens who do it. Otherwise, you will find sitters by word of mouth or through the board at Connections.

A number of apartments "in" Cruz Bay have public water, but Cruz Bay is not a very big area. The water source is a good question to ask when you're apartment shopping. Water conservation is crucial whether you are on public or cistern water, in any case. Our local ice company recently ran out of available water, if that tells you anything.

People leave for all kinds of reasons. Too small a community, too big a culture shock, too hot, not enough to do, too far away from stateside family and friends, too expensive, not enough work, wanting better education for their kids, developing problems with alcohol or drugs... the list goes on.

The list of St John's churches is published every week in the Tradewinds along with phone numbers.

I'm not sure what you mean by "is it safe to have your wife and child out and about" -- some people might say "Yes, totally safe on St John," others would say "if you know what areas to avoid you'll be fine." Everyone's idea of personal safety is different, so this is something that would best be answered with a pre-move visit.

Good luck with your research!

Posted : July 25, 2012 8:22 pm
Posts: 6523
Illustrious Member

As far as the food costs, the prices listed here on this site are very outdated but, as prices have risen here they also have stateside so if you figure an average of 30% more than you pay there you'll be close. Many St Johnians go over to St Thomas every couple of weeks to stock up on major purchases to save a few $$s. The cost of electricity has also risen significantly since that was last updated and we now pay 0.50kWh so compare that to what you pay stateside. It can come as quite a shock.

Good luck!

Posted : July 25, 2012 8:31 pm
Posts: 842
Prominent Member

Geez. Ok let's take this in steps:
1) food plus 30% for cost, minus 30% for quality
and you'll need "stuff" for the baby i.e diappers, car seat, clothing (as he/she grows) you'll have to go to STT for those sort of things. Kmart has baby "stuff'. made my own baby food, but that would have happened stateside too.
2) electric. again plus/minus 30% electric is NOT reliable. elctric powers the pumps so electric =no water. Hauling H2O ain't no fun with crying baby.
3) safety. I always felt safe (free from harassment) espeically when my kids were babies. Generly most folks are extra kind to young moms. But I would ask about any particular apt you'll rent, has it been broken into. does it lock securely. Can you keep the windows open and stil feel safe (ventanas v. sliders)? What are nieghbors like? Frankly, as a young male you are more statically prone to become a crime victim. In fact the murder rate in the VI about 100% higher than the stateside average. Lot's of guns. can you mind our Ps&Qs and keep a low profile? Will your wife be alone frequently? Will your job put you in contact with large amounts of cash? After a while you can learn to "smell" trouble. Other than that you need city smarts and county know how.
4) medical care. This was a deal breaker for me after my second baby. If your baby needs to see a scpecialist you will most like need to go back to miami. This is very pricey and scary and an overwhelming strain on family life and everyone's sanity.
5) personally, I'd wait until the baby is 9-18 months. Mom's with newborns need alot of family support and stability. Having your first child is likely the most mind-atlering event in woman's life. Everthing changes and new "reality" takes over. Adjusting to new enviroment, a trans oceanic move, speration from support system, is asking allot from a woman , who you obivously deeply love and wish to protect, or you wouldn't have so many questions about her safety. You show a admiable drive to provide and make a life for wife and baby. STJ will be still be around in 6 months. Don't make any move unless she is 100% on board. Don't try to lobby, convince, et al. Trust me on this!
5) All that considered, STJ/STTis fabulous place for toddlers and young kids. In fact there is a very kid/family centric social enviorment. Lot of young families do sunday's at the beach, pool parties, BBQs, ect....We never had sitters. Just swapped kids with other familes, sleep overs, play dates...

Posted : July 26, 2012 4:14 am
Posts: 6523
Illustrious Member

Under "Pre Move" above, you'll find a bunch of moving stories written by subscribers which will in many cases answer your question about why people move here and why they leave. There are lots of different reasons and not one size fits all! From my own observations over many years, many couples leave when their children reach school age. The public school system leaves much to be desired and although the private schools have an excellent reputation, the cost is prohibitive for many.

I do agree with poster fdr that you really should invest in a pre-move visit so that you can better come to an educated decision about whether a move at this point is a good idea for you and your family. Good luck to you,.

Posted : July 26, 2012 11:21 am
Posts: 12366
Illustrious Member

I believe there is potable water servicing Cruz Bay these days but most homes/rentals will also have cisterns.
You may have to pay for water usage if rental is metered for water usage.
You may want to inquire if your rental has a generator and hurricane shutters due to our frequent electrical outages
as well as being prepared for hurricane season in the event of a storm.

As for baby-sitting, some villa rentals offer the services of babysitters so you may be able to check with them and find someone.
Try Connections in Cruz Bay when you arrive as they may be able help with a multitude of services and referrals.

Most people living in STJ do come to STT to shop for many items as STJ tends to be more expensive and not always have what you may want or need. Ditto for coming over to STT for doctor's appoinments. You can also check at the Myra Keating clinic in STJ for the range of services and Doctors they provide.

You can bring your vehicle over on the barge if planning a full tilt shopping spree at Cost U Less, Home Depot, Pricesmart, K-Mart, etc.
or if you just need to go to one place, you can easily do so by taking a safari bus from Red Hook.
If you are stocking up, do bring the car over.

Just like anywhere else, use your common sense when it comes to safety and you, your wife and child should be fine.
Hissing and gawking should not be an issue if your wife is appropriately dressed.

STJ does not have as many options in terms of things to do as STT but you can always find something to do, if motivated.
Try the National Park as they offer a range of programs and events for visitors and locals,
There are always arts shows and benefits to attend.
Check out the Tradewinds newspaper as well as Connections bulletin board and you can find what's going on.

If you do decide to do a PMV - I can recommend as a place to stay.

Posted : July 26, 2012 1:17 pm
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