Single mom, 10-yr-old, and cat moving to VI--ageism?
I've been reading posts for quite a while now. I'm a mid-40s single mom with a 10-yr-old daughter planning to move in July/August. I have 9K, a pension of 800 bucks monthly, and some experience. Lived in Costa Rica for six years, India for 2. W're tough and saavy, and not interested in foo-foo such as dry cleaning, crystal wine glasses, air conditioning, and other signals of prestige.
It appears that so many folks moving down there are quite young. I look young (relatively ) but wonder if employers prefer younger, perky, fresh-looking employees to middle-aged ones who are clearly not so fresh. I've been noticing some ageism state-side, and clearly find a lack of respect for the aged. Is there greater consideration for older citizens on the islands?
And--since I'm at it. Do my funds need further scrutiny before we move? Once we're there, we can't come back (which is an incentive, ha!).
I've never noticed any ageism here but then I never noticed any in the states so perhaps I'm just oblivious to the whole thing. Your character and your capabilities are more important to people here than what you look like or where you went to school. Your $800 pension and $9,000 savings will get you started but you'll need to work so your experience will be your greatest asset.
What sets off red flags for me is your cryptic remark that once you're here you can't return. Have you made a pre-move visit? Many folks who move here return to the states. Far more folks come and return than come and stay. Living here is challenging and if you can't go back I'd be very careful about leaving in the first place. Island culture is very different than stateside culture (or Costa Rican culture or Indian culture) and you and/or your daughter may find it unsuitable. Also, most folks who move here from the states find island public schools unacceptable, especially for high school, and private school tuition is expensive. If education is a concern for you I recommend that you search this board and read the many past posts discussing schools.
Thank you for the timely response dntw8up. That certainly brings a smile to my face. Yes, the remark was somewhat cryptic, and unintentionally so. There is sufficient savings in a retirement account for emergency bailing. But, my experience in the past is that if I feel I can't return, that I don't have a moneyed support system which could pay for our return (as was the case years ago in Costa Rica), I'm more likely to work much harder from the moment of arrival
Thanks for the response on ageism. I suspected there wasn't any, but was fishing for possible responses. I was also interested in any cultural insight as how VIers treat the elderly. I am not elderly by any means, yet anyhow, but will be there at some point.
One other question: Does anyone have special info regarding receiving social security payments in VI? Any issues? I receive them from the US and Uk. I suspect that it does not differ much from stateside, but thought I'd double check. Didn't see other posts about it.
I'll plug myself here: I'm 44, currently an Anthropology adjunct professor with a past career in ESL and Spanish instuction. I've also done quite a few years of social service work, and have worked in marinas (was a liveaboard for many years). If you know anyone interested in my skills, let me know and I'll contact them. Again, thanks. You have a more settled perspective. Maybe we'll meet up!
You will find living in the USVI is "somewhat" like livng in Costa Rica. But is very different as well.
St Croix(for example) has a large spanish speaking population. (Dominican and Puerto Rican influence). The official language is English. Your ESL skills could help you gain early employment.
Both St thomas and St Croix host a campus of the UVI (University of the Virgin Islands). The public schools are mostly black and have many problems particularly in the secondary schools. White students have had a difficult time with acceptance in the school system.
You can collect all regular Social Security payments in the USVI. We are a US territory. We can not vote in federal elections and have our own (rather flawed) government.
You are rather young to be worrying about ageism. I do not see it here. It might exist, but from my viewpoint you are just a kid.
You can research the UVI and the school system online. I would also suggest using this website as a resource. If you search you will find virtually hundreds of discussions on many topics. You can also go to the vimovingcenter.com and read all of the stories of people who made the move. I would suggest buying a copy of the book "Virgin Island Settlers Handbook". Click on the order form at the top of the page.
Thanks again for the replies. All welcome, regardless. Interesting point about not being able to vote in federal elections. I will restrain myself on responding to that! Ha! As for the "kid" quip, My mother's 67-year-old sisters say that to each other too.
Yes I've done quite a bit of research about the schools for my daughter. Sounds like it will be a "project." Do some homeschoolers take in the children of others for a fee?
From what I've read, there are many needs on the islands, and I believe in the responsibility to give what we can to others, within the cultural context. Perhaps an ESL school is needed (or wanted), or a Spanish school.
Again thank you all for taking the time to respond! I appreciate your insight and experience.
You sound very well-rounded, mature, and experienced. You should have no problem here. The crucian culture is respectfull, period, in my opinion. They are even more respectful to older adults. It is the highest compliment for a "mature" woman to get called 'mommie' by a crucian. To me it seems as tho there are alot of elementary schools to choose from. The standard public schools, but also many religion-affiliated schools that are smaller classes and appear well-run. All children on the island wear uniforms - its so sweet to see all the kids walking after school in all the different uniforms.
Jobs take awhile here, just because things move slowly. Be prepared for a wait. Also you may have to take 'just a job' with lower pay while you find what you really want.
It is a beautiful island with a wonderful culture. Welcome !
Thank you so much travelwoman!
That was the kind of information I was looking for. I appreciate the culture insight. I will always loved being called "mommie." I can settle with that much more easily than being called "reina (queen)" in Costa Rica. Ha!
Can you recommend any public schools at all? Or at least steer us away from certain ones? In St. Croix/ St. Thomas.
Wendy and Merrillye Branwell
I'm a homeschooling mom of four,former teacher, moving back to STX in June (for 1 year only). To answer your question about whether homeschoolers sometimes educate children other than their own, the answer is yes and no, depending on the state/territory in which you reside.
Some states have regulations in which parents are only allowed to homeschool their own children. Others allow homeschoolers to set up what are known as "cottage schools" and various forms of co-ops for joint education of homeschooled children.
Truthfully, I am having the most DIFFICULT time finding out information about the homeschool regulation in the USVI. For that reason, I'll probably just register my children in Washington state again this year, since I'll be returning here again next year.
If the USVI allows parents the option of homeschooling children from other families, I'm sure there are parents who would welcome a bit of extra income. Keep in mind that all homeschooling is different (different methods, philosophies, curriculum etc.) Be sure to see if your ideals (educational, Spiritual, philosophical) line up with those of your "homeschooling surrogate family".
One more note, perhaps there is someone out there, currently homeschooling in STX, who can provide a website and/or contact info. for a homeschooler's association or something similar. I would really appreciate it!
Thanks for the link dntw8up.
This is a good starting point for me.
I really appreciate it.
Are there any single parents on STT/STX? What are your experiences with work and raising children? After school care? Latch key? I have a 10-year-old daughter who is extremely social, a good skill yet one which needs much molding (not in any mycological sense, ha!)
Well, from the response, I guess I'll be the only one! Sheesh! That can't be true can it? Precedent setting? I doubt it. They're probably too darned busy to respond....
Your post has only been viewed 32 times. Perhaps the people viewing it just didn't have kids your daughter's age or maybe they didn't have relevant advice. Also, there have been similar posts and discussions in the recent past. If you haven't done so already, try searching for similar posts 🙂
Yes, I did several searches on the topic but there wasn't much to read. That's alright. I'm patient and not only watching replies, but views or lack thereof for clues.
Again, I have appreciated everyone's assistance.
Meanwhile, I've been to the library and picked up books on the history of the islands, books aligned toward tourists (there isn't much up here in rural Colorado), and some films. They are limited but help for orientation.
There are forums for just about anyplace someone would want to relocate to, and there are many unspoken rules about them. Relocation forums are a community unto themselves, eh? Expats, relocaters, retirees can be very possessive about their homes off the mainland US. They'd make a great research paper, or study....Ha!
What do parents recommend for public schools on STT/STX? Which schools should we avoid? I appreciate any insight you have to offer.
I research the posts, but realize too that the population changes considerably, as does school staff. So updated info is useful, if there is any....
Wendy and Merrillye
Approx. 1 - 2 weeks ago there was a whole string of posts under the topic "relocating with kids". The public school system is discussed quite a bit in several of the posts.
Every posting regarding the public schools in the VI are mostly the same - don't go the public school route. The public schools are apparently awful.
It would be more helpful if people who had actual experience with the schools make comments and recommendations. Anyone who says the public schools are "apparently awful" may not be the best source of information.
i have posted on my personal experiences with a child in the public school system - they are a disgrace - do not factor them as an option.
Well, I'm just joining an overwhelming chorus. Do you have any experience with the public schools?
I too am coming from Washington state and have a few questions I would like to ask you about moving from here. Would it be alright to PM you?
There are a LOT of us on STX who moved from Washington State. The weather sure is nicer here! I go back to visit family in Washington a few times each year, but I prefer it when they come to visit me in the islands. I really don't miss the PNW at all. Now it's just one more place to occasionally vacation and STX is home.
LOL at your comment of not missing it here!!! I know I won't miss this cold and rain either! Thanks for all of the info you have supplied to me. I am trying to find all people from Washington to find out different shipping etc.
Hi Wendy I am also moving to STT in the middle of May. I have a 10 month old I am not a single mom but as much as my husband works I might as well be. I am a stay at home mom so if you need anything let me know.