moving to the islan...
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moving to the island with kids

Posts: 983
Prominent Member

Hey MEA, since I know you, I emailed you off-board. Hope that was OK.

Posted : December 22, 2004 5:38 pm
(@Native Son)
Posts: 0
New Member


Great post, full of realistic information. Like I keep saying, the US Virgin Islands is NOT the place for people who are used to a lot of mainland conveniences, services, food, etc. Think real hard before deciding to move here. I'm glad you mentioned the segregation situation. By and large, I find that the people who settle happily here have a lot of money at their disposal. It is hard to be unhappy in a six-bedroom, 8-bath mansion with pool, jacuzzi, tennis court, 6-foot plasma TV, and T1 internet access. Yes, I know pwople who live like that. If you can afford a T1, you have the ultimate in broadband Internet access. These folks have the Sub Zero appliances, Wolf stoves, wine cellars, etc., just like they would on the mainland.
The rest of us have to deal with the day-to-day annoyances of island life. We cannot pay someone 60 dollars to go stand in line for us at Dept. of Motor Vehicles.
Some people love it, some will hate it passionately after a very short time, once the "paradise" aura wears off. My wife is a native New Yorker, Manhattan born and raised. She moved here 18 years ago and has loved it since, doesn't want to live anywhere else. It has that effect on some people. I'm from here, this is my home, and I'm not going anywhere else.

Posted : December 22, 2004 6:02 pm
Posts: 11
Active Member
Topic starter

Gosh, this certainly is alot of advise! More than I expected 🙂 I am from a very rural town in eastern Kentucky and I am very use to limitations. We only have 1 grocery store, which is very expensive, we have to drive 30 miles to a wal-mart, 80 miles to the nearest mall, so those things shouldn't be a total shocker. Probably alot more shopping opportunities than use to! And we live in the appalacian mountains which reminds me of some of the territory we drove on in the islands. I am really taking in all this info , it has answered alot of questions. Eastern Kentucky is really a "non-black" environment and we are not use to being a minority but my friends and I found all the natives on the islands were very friendly and helpful. Not to mention alot of fun! some of my friends still get calls from the ones we met there!! They are Very layed back, like alot of us mountain folk 🙂 I plan to visit the islands for an extended visit, things are changing at my job and it looks like for the best. I do want to live there one day, it may be summer it may be 3 years from now. I do envy you all who have taken the plunge, I love hearing all your stories and advise I am sure it will help me make the right decision.

Merry Christmas


P.S. 5 in. of snow in cincinnati, 3 in. in louisville, sleet in frankfort, ice storm headed my way here in Lexington!!!! eeeekkkk!!

Posted : December 22, 2004 7:30 pm
Posts: 3919
Famed Member

Heather, Ric and I are from Louisville. If you ever get to STX, give us a call.

Posted : December 22, 2004 9:13 pm
Posts: 684
Honorable Member

Thank you all for your honesty. It helps to know that I am not the only one feeling this way. I think a lot of it has to do with the social aspect of living here. I have met a lot of people and enjoy talking to them, but then it is like I never hear from them again. Everyone in my income range has to work a job or two full time and finding time to get together is almost impossible. I think your level of income has a lot to do with your enjoyment of the islands. If I could afford it, I would drop off my laundry and it would take 10 minutes to drop off and 5 minutes to pick up. Instead I have to spend a good half day sorting, driving, washing and drying, loading up, and taking home. Add more time to put away the clothes. That is just one errand. Okay, no more complaining. 😉

My one huge enjoyment is taking the truck, husband, and kids over to St. John and spending a day on the beach. We make a day of it and take a packed lunch. The kids run off tons of energy, build sand castles and swim to their hearts content. We gaze at the beautiful ocean, swim, and build sandcastles too. It is like nothing else on earth. When we get home, the kids collapse and go to bed early. We watch the ships sailing out with their lights on and sleep well. It helps! 😉

I have some plans for next year to find some ways to chase away my blues. My husband can't up and move us - so I really need to enjoy my time here. We will see. I will keep you all updated. My advice to new islanders is to definitely come on a Pre-Move Visit. Use your time to actually shop for groceries, see schools, look for housing, jobs, etc. Explore all your possibilities. For some, it fits to live here. For others it is a struggle for a while, but works out eventually. For still others, they just pack up and leave. Good luck to all. Living here is hard, but has some great rewards!


Posted : December 23, 2004 12:47 am
Posts: 11
Active Member
Topic starter

Linda -

Be very, very glad you are down there! we have freezing rain going on as we speak! I work at Toyota 2nd shift in Georgetown and I had to defreeze my car for about 30 minutes, at 3:00 in the morning, before heading home!! They shut down production for tomorrow so you know it is bad. And getting worse!! Louisville has gotten more than us so far.

By the way did you see that basketball game this past weekend between The Cards and The Cats? It was a doozie!!!!!


Posted : December 23, 2004 8:37 am
Posts: 11
Active Member
Topic starter

Cincinnati is supose to get 20 in. of SNOW!!!!!!!!

Posted : December 23, 2004 8:39 am
Posts: 3919
Famed Member

Better call my dad. Hope he has sense enough to stay indoors.

Posted : December 23, 2004 3:33 pm
Posts: 5
Active Member

My family and I recently returned from STX from our pre-move visit. I am surprised to have concluded that STX would not be a suitable place for our family. The weather, obvioulsy beautiful, especially coming from Boston in December, but after that I was surprised at much of the conditions, the natives and a few other things. There were certainly beautiful parts of the island and before anyone on the board sends me hate-mail, I know it is all opinion here. I just want to share my perspective for those that have yet to make a visit and are looking for info. To each their own, I am not discouraging anyone, just offerring my experience to anyone looking for it. Feel free to email me with questions. Happy New Year!

Posted : December 31, 2004 8:14 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

Rachel: Please, please post your thoughts! Those of us who are constantly recommending a careful look at the lifestyle (and especially for those wanting to raise children) would be thrilled to know your feelings. As we said, it is not for everyone!! Best wishes to you!

Posted : December 31, 2004 8:30 pm
Posts: 17
Active Member

I have 2 children - 4 years old and 1 1/2 years old. I'm an attorney and my husband is a chef. He's got a job offer in St. Thomas. It would be easy for me to get licensed in St. Thomas. Does anyone work in the legal system (civil or criminal) out there?

I got married in St. Thomas and have visited several times throughout my life. I love it out there. I know spending your vacations in St. Thomas and living there are two different things.

I have lived in many different states (very rural and very cosmopolitan) and have enjoyed the more secluded destinations. I currently live in Arizona but I'm originally from California.

Does anyone have any advice as to how long a pre-move visit should be?

We are tossing around the idea of having my husband move out first and scope things out. What do you think?

Posted : January 1, 2005 4:57 pm
Posts: 24
Eminent Member

Rachel - please do post your thoughts! I for one would be very interested. We fly down on Jan. 19th for our pre-move visit (STT, not STX) and I'd like to hear of your experiences.

Thank you!

Posted : January 2, 2005 2:39 am
Posts: 217
Estimable Member

I have no children. But, if I did, I don't think I would want to bring them up here. Maybe if I could afford to send them to Antilles, but certainly not if they had to go to public schools. This just doesn't sem like a famly-friendly enviroment. Just MHO.

Posted : January 2, 2005 2:48 am
Posts: 16
Active Member

Hi Marty -

Can you elaborate on why you see it is not a family-friendly environment?

Are the schools rough, knife fights, racism, or just overcrowded with limited resources?

Shoot - I went to school ten miles from the border of Tijuana back in the late 70's early 80's and there we had an every week gang riot complete with cops, guns and knives, massive racism with drugs, drugs and more drugs. But we survived and are stronger from it.

Perhaps perception is driven by what we know and have experienced which then extends to what we will allow our children to be exposed to.

For example - if I were to grow up privileged, Beverly Hills, private schools, the best of everything - then perhaps the public schools would be a No Way for my children.....

RachelH - Please do share your experience - it would be helpful.

Thanks and take care, Andie

Posted : January 2, 2005 5:18 am
Posts: 3030

Hello Kelli,

I was going to direct you to the post entitled "Finding work in the legal system"... but I see you found it already :-). A pre-move visit; 2 weeks to a month; do living here type of things rather then vacation type things... grocery shop, look for apartments, drive to "work" and "from work" to experience traffic, check out doctors, dentist, hair dressers, attend local events if any are going on during your trip... That's fine to have your husband move down first but don't treat that as a substitute for a trip together to decide if you even really want to move here.


Posted : January 2, 2005 8:08 am
Posts: 217
Estimable Member

"Are the schools rough, knife fights, racism, or just overcrowded with limited resources?"
-All of the above, plus the fact that our teachers and administrators aren't quite up to par with their mainland counterparts. JMHO.

"Shoot - I went to school ten miles from the border of Tijuana back in the late 70's early 80's and there we had an every week gang riot complete with cops, guns and knives, massive racism with drugs, drugs and more drugs. But we survived and are stronger from it. "
-I went to school in Detroit, and I wouldn't want my children to go there, either. Since you are "stroger from it", would you really want your children to strength train that way?

"For example - if I were to grow up privileged, Beverly Hills, private schools, the best of everything - then perhaps the public schools would be a No Way for my children..."
-I did not grow up priveleged, in any way, shape or form. A skinny white kid in Detroit, WIC, we all slept in the same bed for warmth...I could go on and on. The point is, most people that have their kids in public school here have them there because they have no other alternatives. This manifests itself into a less than desireable learning enviroment, wherein the majority of graduates (which is far less than the number that started out) never go on to any higher education. Our schools lost accreditation, when? Last year? 2 years ago? Give you any idea?

Posted : January 2, 2005 2:23 pm
Posts: 17
Active Member

Thanks Islander that's really helpful. We'll probably all come down sometime in Feb. I'm set on bringing both of our cars over. Chrysler 300 (which should be easier and cheapier since it's an American made car). But I have a Bug convertible which I cannot part with - which I'm sure since it's a foreign car will cost $$$. All of the message boards and moving stories have been very informative. I saw that most people found apartments to rent. Is it hard to find a free standing house to rent?

Posted : January 2, 2005 4:50 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

Just wanted to hear more info/advice on moving here with kids. I am a single mom with a 2 yr old. I have an interview this week in STT. I have been many times before my son was born. I have been very excited about my interview UNTIL NOW. I read all the msgs on here tonight and I am bery timid now. And other advice? I am so torn right now on what to do.

Posted : January 3, 2005 1:16 am
Posts: 86
Trusted Member

There seems to me to be A LOT of families here on STT-- tons of people in their 30s and 40s with kids, but nearly all of the kids who are white go either to Montessori school or to Antilles ($12K/yr). The public schools are pretty much black-only from what I can tell (I'm not a parent though) and yes, the public schools are not very good schools. I think the VIs score the lowest of the entire US routinely (worse than Mississippi!). It's also weird how segregated the schools are here-- it would make me uncomfortable if I were a parent, but maybe that's just me-- I'd prefer a more diversified school for my kids. all in all, the kids here that i've met seem very well-adjusted and fun-loving, very into water sports, healthy, "ne fear" kinds of kids.

Posted : January 3, 2005 1:24 pm
Posts: 17
Active Member

That's not surprising since a majority of the population are from African/West Indian descent like myself. I grew up with both of my parents in education. They worked in some of the worse schools in Los Angeles. Instead of sending me to a private school (which they probably couldn't afford) I went to a rough school. However, I excelled anyways - mostly due to my parents' encouragement and ended up at UC Berkeley even though I went to a public school in the hood and even though the statistics were not in my favor. The schools in St. Thomas aren't going to get better if all of the newbies to the island keep their children in private school. Motivated children that are put into a public school seem to motivate other children to excel. Instead of giving up on St. Thomas why not try to change the system? At least that's going to be my attitude when I move to St. Thomas.

Posted : January 4, 2005 2:41 am
Posts: 8
Active Member

I say DO IT! If this is something that you TRUELY want, then it will be a good thing for you and your son. It's not like you are moving to Iraq! You are going to St. Thomas and if things don't work out there is no written rule that you have to stay there. Take a trial year to settle in and and if you love it and want it to work out then it will for both of you. When you are happy and satisfied with your life's goals things have a funny way of working out. Have faith in yourself and don't judge your decision by what some of these posters have posted. Remember this experience will be what YOU make of it. I can't wait to share my love of the islands with my kids. I too am overwhelmed. But I know that if for any reason it isn't working in the best interest for my children I will make the right decision to make it better for them. If it means moving back to the mainland (which I shudder to think this would be the case, DC suburbia isn't so great) then so be it!! And you have that right to decide too. But I would go and see, if not you will wonder for the rest of your life, "What If.........................."
Happy moving!

Posted : January 4, 2005 4:36 am
Posts: 4
New Member

Just my 2 cents worth.....

I moved here in August with my husband and 2 young girls, ages 7 and 10. We had never been to STT before, and I accepted a teaching position at CAHS, sight unseen.
I have to say, it upsets me to read all the negativity about raising kids here and STT not being a "kid-friendly" island. My children go to the public school, Sibilly Elementary on the northside, and they just love it. (I know, Sibilly has a great public school reputation for STT) My eldest plays in the steel band and the girls love to play outside with the friendly neighborhood children. They have a great playground up here near our house, and our driveway and yard are perfect for playing and riding bikes. As a teacher, I have been very impressed with the education my kids are receiving, yet IMHO, sometimes cultural experiences are as important as academics.

Please don't let people with bad experiences put you off moving here!


Posted : January 8, 2005 9:33 pm
Posts: 684
Honorable Member


I don't think it is negativity that some are posting. We are just offering up our different experiences. I didn't say that STT wasn't 'kid friendly', I was stating that compared to the suburbs in the States it is not as 'kid friendly'. Which, is still just my opinion. I think that the kids adjusted the fastest in our family to moving here. My issues are my adjustments to living here. I have also heard that Sibilly was a great elementary school. I don't live near that school and decided to not send my kids to public school with much consideration. I have decided to let them settle in more and may send them to public school next fall. Most of our decision had to do with some special needs they have.

I still would not advise the public junior high or high school until the government works out some more funding and makes some drastic changes. With the wealth coming into this island, there is no reason for the teachers to be paid so little, but that problem exists stateside as well...

After our freezing two weeks off the rock, we have gained much more appreciation for our island home. I have a much more positive outlook on living here than I did before I left. Not all that was due to the weather, but just helped to clear my mind a bit. I had over-estimated my ability to adapt quickly. Took me a little longer, but I do like living here. I wish all you new movers good luck. It will be a great experience in your life.


Posted : January 9, 2005 12:44 am
(@Jeff's wife)
Posts: 9
Active Member

Theresa it was soo good to read your threads, I remember your first thread the night you moved in...alot has happened and I know you are the better for it. I rememebr when my mother moved us to Nassa Bahamas 20 years ago and she shared many of your feelings, Se got involved with local theater and created lifelong friendships. For me and my sister it was a great experience and 3 years later we all were crying when we had to leave. It's still our second home to this day. So I say keep the faith!!

It's been a minute since we checked out the sight, it feels like visiting old friends. We chickened out on our planned pre-move visit last fall. We visited Jamaica for a wedding instead (great trip). My kids still are asking when are we moving to VI. Husband learned of a job opening as US Federal Prosecutor on STX but he fears local distrust or backlash with it being a small community and us being an African-American family. He wants our kids to be safe. "Native Son" can you share anything on STX and the communities relelationship to law enforcement residents?


Posted : January 11, 2005 8:49 am
Posts: 3
New Member

Hi Suzanne,
I read your thread and I was wandering if you could give me some facts about getting hired as a teacher in the Virgin Islands. I currently live in Ohio, but I have a BA in Middle Childhood Education and I will have my Masters in Special Education in May. I am sending in my application and hopefully will receive some feedback fairly soon. How long did it take for you to become hired? Did you have to go to the islands for an interview? Any advice? Will my degrees help me or hurt me in any way? I would appreciate any info that you could pass along. Thanks a lot, Kristan Bays

Posted : January 24, 2005 11:06 pm
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