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Moving to STX for up to a year. Advise please.

 
neworleans
(@neworleans)
New Member

Hello there. I am new to forums first off, and not yet new to the islands. I am hoping to get a contract position with Hovensa soon for about a year. It may not even happen. However, I'm psyched about the opportunity, and if it comes through, I'll need to pack. I'm a guy who is a native of New Orleans, and I've never done anything like this. I have been researching a lot on line, and am finding that island life will be expensive. I will be alone, so I won't need a large home, but will need some friends. Anyhow, what might the top five most important things I should know be? I know that things are laid back, and that sounds inviting. But, I don't have any basis for comparison to begin to know what it's like living on three small islands. I've looked at crime statistics, and rental rates. So far there isn't any combination of websites that can answer all my various questions. As for this post, please just advise me on the top 5 most important points on becoming a Cruxian. Thanks a lot, and I hope to see y'all soon!

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Topic starter Posted : May 28, 2007 4:03 am
Becky R
(@Becky_R)
Trusted Member

1. It will be expensive - at least you have that up front. Not sure how it will compare to New Orleans.
2. It is not necessarily laid back - it just takes longer to get things done. If you are Type A it will make you twitch.
3. It's Crucian - Crucian people, Cruzan rum.
4. You don't live on 3 small islands - you live on STX. It's not horrible expensive to get to STT by the seaplane or Cape Air, but if you want to go to St. John it's a cab ride to the ferry....from STT you can go to the BVIs on day trips. Well worth the effort and the money. I think it's about $160 round trip from STX to STT.
5. You need a car on STX unless you are living in the Hovensa compound.
6. Pack lightly. Lots of flip flops, t-shirts and shorts. Don't bring a lot of stuff if you are only going to be there for a year. Anything you NEED is readily available. Kmart at Sunny Isle isn't that far from Hovensa, nor is Cost U Less for groceries.
7. Hovensa is paying top dollar right now to keep their people in housing. Make that part of your contract.
8. Friends will be easy enough to find at the beaches, jump ups, and at Hovensa.
9. Bring your visa, a certified copy of your birth certificate, and your driver's license. If you have anything hanging over your head on your traffic history, it will follow you.
10. Make friends with a local as quickly as possible to learn the ropes and learn the language.
11. SMILE - a LOT!
12. Be open to new ideas and new foods and a new culture. This won't be NO for sure...
13. Learn to snorkel and dive.....you will see things you can only imagine.
14. Enjoy yourself and know that you have an opportunity to do what others only dream of.....you may love it, you may hate it, you may feel apathetic when it's time to leave - but you are getting to live one of the great American dreams......and you will have wonderful stories to tell your jealous friends and relatives.
15. Get a great camera - you're gonna need it~!

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Posted : May 28, 2007 12:59 pm
terry
(@terry)
Expert

When ever you meet someone, especially locals, first thing say "Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Night ( Good Night does NOT mean Goodbye ). Also here in our area of the states, it's considered rude to walk up to people who are talking and interrupt by saying hello, I usually wait for a break in their conversation. There it seems rude Not to say Good Morning / etc , they will answer you and then continue on with there conversation. Also when entering a room full of people, they will say Good Morning / etc to all. Even in offices, small stores, etc.

Learn to drive on the left side of the road. 🙂 The hardest part for me is the small streets, and the parking lots. The drivers in STX are for the most part very courteous. They will stop to let you out into traffic, etc. Do the same. They use their horns a lot. Not the HONK!!!! because they are mad, but the toot - toot / go ahead, and toot / thank you. At first I kept thing what did I do to p#ss this person off. 🙂

Being from New Orleans, you will probably find understanding Cruzan a lot easier then most. It's not Cajun, but more similar then anything we have in AZ. 🙂

Don't be the "ugly American". Yes, I know it's a US territory but they don't want to know how it was done better / faster / better service / cheaper / etc back home. Yes, their customer service skills need improving by stateside standards.

Becky R is right, learn to snorkel or better yet scuba dive. Call N2 the Blue for scuba lessons. Derrick and Anna are very nice people and very good with both beginners and experienced divers. Small operation, you don't feel like you are on a ride at Disneyland ( get you in the water and out because they have the next group to make money on).

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Posted : May 28, 2007 3:04 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

Hi neworleans, and welcome.

You will hear this one a lot.
1. Remember to say good morning, good afternoon and goodnight (that is a greeting, not a goodbye), and do so with a smile.

2. Respect the local customs, etc. Don't complain about all the closed offices during Carnival or all the extra holidays. Enjoy! Please don't go shirtless in public, except at the beach. Toot your horn to thank courteous drivers, and don't let drivers stopped in the road talking get your blood pressure up. Just go around them.

3. Take advantage of the island's many natural attractions, local cultural events, jump ups, etc. Try fruits and vegetables you've never heard of. Drive up to the rain forest on a day off and enjoy a smoothie made from all home grown fruits. Get involved with whatever group or cause interests you.

4. Be adaptable and flexible. We have everything you could need and most of what you could want, but...maybe not all brands available at all times. General rule of thumb. If you see something you will need or want in the near future, go ahead and buy it. You may not be able to find it later.

5. Things cost more here than most US areas. Rent is much high. Food is usually higher. Wait 'till you price milk! Electricity is high, but water can be free. Depends on where you live and your rental agreement. Everyone has a cistern for rainwater. You may not need A/C if you live where there is a breeze. As a Hovensa employee or sub-contractor, I imagine you will easily be able to afford to live here.
If you are going to have any type of service, such as phone installed or cable or Internet, etc. or you need a repairman, plan in advance. It can take weeks to get a phone, and the repairman almost NEVER comes when he says he will.

I am finding it hard to stop at 5. You can search this forum and find info on anything you can think of. Some suggestions. Search: cell phones; Internet service; car insurance; car registration; shipping cars. You get the idea. There was a great thread about a month or so back regarding what people would do differently, what they would bring and what they wouldn't bother with. Maybe someone else can jump in and tell you how to find that particular thread. Very helpful for newbies.

Good luck getting the job. And as my husband is fond of saying, "If you're not careful down here, you would wind up having a good time!"

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Posted : May 28, 2007 4:15 pm
bethburnett70
(@bethburnett70)
Advanced Member

Terry, you are so right about interuptions. Even being on your phone, walking down the street is not an excuse to not greet someone. I've had people walk past me, stop in the middle of a sentence, say "good morning" and keep going.

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Posted : May 28, 2007 8:39 pm
neworleans
(@neworleans)
New Member

It all sounds great! It seems like the main objective is to be ready for a new way of life, island style. I can dig that. My wife has opened my mind to many new things, so I'm not afraid to try anything new. I can also handle respecting the local culture. I hate getting my hopes up about it all, as I don't have the job yet, but I can still dream until it happens. The reason for all this is because a mainland contractor here in NOLA has a contract with Hovensa that pays lots of money. If this works for me, I'll be able to work there six months to a year and come home with enough money to finish college without a full-time job. Thanks for the tips! Y'all are great!

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Topic starter Posted : May 29, 2007 2:59 am
Chuck
(@Chuck)
Advanced Member

I had been coming down for just over ten years before moving here and one thing I always thought was is it's a lot like NOLA ten years ago. The old Governors were Like Edwards. The new one is like Mike Foster. Getting thing done are mixed a little of the old and the new. The whole Island is like Clearwiew to Esplanade & the river to I 10. The concept of traveling East to West is a lot the same Eastbank to Westbank. Driving is alot like in the Parish, someone is always going to stop in the middle of the road and ask how ya momma an dem doin (no matter how many cars are backed up) . Housing is a lot the same, over priced and the Projects are close to the million dollar homes. One thing for sure the Public Housing Is here way better than St. Bernard, Desire or how St Thomas ever were. For crime, per capita its lower. It's alot like going out downtown. You have to watch where you park at night and stay to the populated area you'll be OK. One thing for sure, always being friendly and polite goes a long way here. Too often new people here are seen as 'short term" so you have to be persistent in your pursuit to be friendly but most everyone in the end Will come around. If someone honks their horn and waves their hands it doesn't mean #@%& but hi, go ahead,or thanks. I think the biggest mistake some people make is dreaming of moving to paradise and living as if they are on vacation and not remaindering that they have to work and function in society..

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Posted : May 30, 2007 1:55 am
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