Moving to St. Thoma...
 
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Moving to St. Thomas this summer

 
Nikolai422
(@Nikolai422)
New Member

So my family just got word, compliments of the USCG that we will be transferring to St. Thomas this summer. I have started doing my research and to be honest, what seemed like a dream spot in the beginning is not looking so lovely from the things I have read. I think my biggest concerns are the crime and creepy crawlys.

We have no say in the matter so while some people have the luxury of scoping the place out first and then deciding whether it is the place for them we have to move no matter what. Can someone please give me a better idea of what exactly the crime is like and how to avoid it? I saw there were 62 murders last year. Do these crimes usually all revolve around specific neighborhoods that we can avoid? Our family consists of myself, my husband and a three year old little boy. With my husband taking the car to work and me and my son getting around on foot the horror stories of all the crime make me want to be a hermit on the island instead of getting out and actually enjoying anything.

Also the creepy crawlys. Is there anyway to lessen the effect of these critters in your house? My parents suggested regular bug bombing and spraying inside and outside the house. Does this really deter them? Would finding a second story condo make any difference? We have a dog and a cat as well so anything without direct access to a yard would be tough but if it means I deal with less creepy crawlys the better. Some would say I have a sever phobia. 🙂

Finally we are thinking about getting pregnant with our second child soon. I have heard horror stories as well in regards to medical care. Of course the CG ensures we have coverage so that isn't the problem. Do the stories in regards to medical care central around coverage or the actual care facilities? Is now a bad time to get pregnant are the hospitals ok in this regards?

I really want to make the best of this experience because it is not everyday that someone gets to move some place exotic on someone elses dime but everything I have read has made St. Thomas seem more like a nightmare than a paradise. Can someone please offer me some POSITIVE advice on the island life. Where is the best place to look for housing? What are the neighborhoods to stay out of? What is the best hospital? Anything else that would be useful information would be appreciated too. Thanks in advance!

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Topic starter Posted : January 13, 2011 7:07 pm
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

You don't sound like a gang-banger (are you?) so it's highly unlikely you'll get shot.
http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/homicides-in-v-i-1.1089794

Get in touch with other USCG families/wives about good neighborhoods to live in.
Carpool or take your husband to work and keep the car, you'll need it.
Healthcare is ok for most health issues, including having a baby.
IMO, the bug problem is overrated, easily addressed, and adjusted to.

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Posted : January 14, 2011 11:34 am
michiganman1019
(@michiganman1019)
Advanced Member

We moved here in Feb 2010. I posted a detailed expense sheet and plan (on an excel spreadsheet) on the other forum. I can send you a copy if you would like. Contact me via email at michiganman1019@yahoo.com

We live in fortuna and we love it. Fortuna is on a semi isolated part of the island, 4 miles west of the airport and university, and we enjoy being away from the riff raff of the downtown and red hook areas.

The hospital here is good. The one on St Thomas and Puerto Rico are the best in the area. The cruise ships normally send thier emergency cases to st thomas because its one of the best in the caribbean.

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Posted : January 14, 2011 12:21 pm
roadrunner
(@roadrunner)
Trusted Member

Welcome!

I live on STX, so I can't address neighborhoods, etc., but I can address the other issues you mentioned and maybe help you feel better about your move!

Crime: Take the same precautions you would anywhere (don't wander around at night alone, lock your door, don't leave flashy items in your parked car, etc.). That will go a long, long, long way toward keeping you out of trouble.

Bugs: Just about everyone uses an exterminator, and that helps quite a bit. Also keep your kitchen spotless. You will still have some unwelcome guests no matter what you do, but they're really not that big a deal, and you do get used to them. We keep our doors and windows open year-round, and I might see one roach per week, on average, and they're usually already dead. As far as I know, none of the bugs are particularly dangerous (in terms of being poisonous) -- so be glad you're not moving to the southwest, where there are scorpions and poisonous spiders! The only really nasty critter that I know of is the big centipede, which has a painful bite, but there's no long-term harm, and as long as you peek into things (shoes, etc.) before putting your hand or foot in, you shouldn't have a problem with them.

Medical care and pregnancy: There are only two hospitals in the VI (one on STT and one on STX). As far as I can tell, they're roughly equivalent, and they're both fine for medical care, surgery, labor and delivery, etc. Most specialties are covered here, and the physicians are U.S.-trained and board certified. I know several women who have given birth here, both in the hospital and at home with a midwife, and they have all been very pleased with their care and have beautiful, healthy babies. Most people I know carry supplemental insurance through SkyMed or MASA (which have been discussed here -- do a search), which pay for your flight (which can be $10,000 and way up) if you need to be flown off island for a particularly horrible accident, medical problem, etc. You can choose to go to the closest facility that can handle your problem (usually Puerto Rico), or you can choose the closest mainland hospital (Miami), or you can choose any particular city in the U.S. (prices go up accordingly). It's roughly $200-300/year per person and is great for peace of mind. The reasons I've seen people flown out are for severe burns, head injuries requiring a neurosurgeon, pediatric issues requiring a PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) or a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit).

So... in general, I would advise anyone moving here to take some precautions, but once you've taken those precautions and have some peace of mind, get out there and enjoy the island!! There's a lot to love here, and there are plenty of reasons why people put up with the bugs, etc. in order to live here. 😎

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Posted : January 14, 2011 12:40 pm
Berenice
(@Berenice)
Advanced Member

Hey fellow CG wife! I'm on STX, so I can't help you too much. I did comment on your post on the CC forum.

Also, I'm sure more people here will give you some insight.

I was also worried about moving to the USVI, but you know it hasn't been bad for us here. I hate creepy crawly things but Ive been doing just fine. Keep it clean and nothing left out! I've grown accustomed to the lizards inside the house. We keep our doors open and the dog chases them around. Crime was also a worry but it's all about being smart when you are out late and having common sense. =)

Just wanted to say good luck on your move! Hopefully you can get touch with the girls there. I would see if your hubs can email someone already stationed there to see if he can get ahold of an ombudsman if there is one or another wife that would be helpful.

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Posted : January 14, 2011 1:59 pm
stxer
(@stxer)
Advanced Member

You are very lucky to be assigned to The USVI. I can imagine many other assignments that would not be as nice. The comments above are very good. Crime is not the problem that statistics seem to make it. I have never witnessed or been affected by violent crime in the Virgin Islands. However I rarely go out at night and always consider the consequences of my actions.

Bugs is bugs ...get an exterminator. Unless your fear of bugs is deep seated you will adjust and just say 'eeeuh'. The nice thing about the fauna here. No poisonous snakes (I have never seen a snake here). Almost no reported negative shark encounters, unlike Florida, California, Australia...etc. That makes for worry free ocean swimming, unlike Florida gulf coast.

Transportation is another thing. Having regular access to a car will make your life much easier. Shopping, going to the beach, even visiting new friends will be very difficult unless you have your own transportation.

enjoy your stay.

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Posted : January 14, 2011 4:04 pm
brooksleann
(@brooksleann)
Advanced Member

So far we love it here on the island (STT). We live in Harmony and it is far enough away from Char Am that we don't really see any crime. We only have one car as well. We made it a point to live close enough to my husbands work that I could easily drive him to work and keep the car. I have a 2 year old and it's hard sometimes to use public transportation with a toddler.

I did not have my daughter on the islands, but I know plenty of women that did and they said it was just fine. Especially since it would be your second child, you should be fine. Of course you would want to get settled and build up a good support group before you had another child. Also, This might just be a myth, but I have heard that there is only one doc that does epidurals for labor on the island and she is getting ready to retire. Not sure if that is something you are interested in.

I'm part of a mommy group, so whenever you finally move, contact me and you can come to the group to meet other moms.

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Posted : January 14, 2011 5:55 pm
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