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brockettfamily
(@brockettfamily)
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Joined: 11 years ago
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June 13, 2010 11:10 pm  

Good afternoon everyone!

I have been reading everything I can on living in the Virgin Islands and reading as much as I can on these message boards for several months now. My husband and I are planning on relocating to STX next summer with our 2 year old daughter. I would love to hear from anyone who has made this move without first making a pmv. I know it is not recommended but I really want to get out there and get jobs and see how we would like island living before we have to worry about our daughter starting school. I figure that way it will give us time to see if island living is a good fit for us (and time to check out the schools there for ourselves), or if it's not, then we have time to move back here before she would start kindergarten or 1st grade.

Thanks in advance for any all advice and stories you are willing to share with me 🙂


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Neil
 Neil
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June 14, 2010 12:13 pm  

We visited several times, but didn't do the "classic pmv" --which might be described as "come live here a month or more in an apt."

I'd say a lot depends on your personal, financial and job situation, i.e., the extent to which you can make a mistake moving somewhere (including here) and be able to correct that mistake -should the need arise, without blowing your life's savings or screwing up your marriage, etc.

Other than that, I won't rehash what you have hopefully already read on the board. Lots of good advice here.


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chefnoah
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June 14, 2010 2:21 pm  

I knew about the VIs, but didn't know anything about them. I was hired over craiglist and booked my one way ticket. All I knew when I reached was what I learned on this website. I wouldn't have made the leap if I didn't have a job secured. I think it could be hard to move here and then find a good job quickly. It takes a while to network and get the inside scoop on nice apts, island cars, jobs, etc.

It can be done!
Noah


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CAtoSTX
(@CAtoSTX)
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June 14, 2010 7:34 pm  

And Noah - you moved alone - no family.

I moved here Site-unseen... but again, no Child. My husband had a job offer and we had 5 weeks to get here.
I did get the mover's guidebook and did a lot of reading. But I can't imagine moving here with a small child and No job lined up.


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brockettfamily
(@brockettfamily)
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June 14, 2010 11:26 pm  

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and stories with me! I am hoping to get a job secured by the time we move but I have heard that is pretty difficult. Most people won't hire you until you are actually on the island. I will be medical billing/insurance field by then but have tons of experience in several office settings besides medical and legal. I have heard from a couple of people that finding a job in the health care industry shouldn't be too difficult. Hopefully that is true 🙂 My husband does pool plastering now but has done other types of construction in the past, as well as sales. I have been checking into places for our daughter to go to while we are working. So far I have only found one for 3 year olds. We will be able to move back here easily if the need arises, so that isn't a worry. And our daughter is so young (and outgoing) that I am not worried about her having any troubles adjusting to the change. She loves the beach and playing in the ocean so she'll love it I'm sure. We will be bringing one of our cars but leaving the other one here. And almost all of our things will be left here in storage until we know if we will be staying on the island for years to come or not. If anyone can think of anything else I should be considering, please let me know. Thanks so much!!


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Linda J
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June 15, 2010 3:10 am  

Sounds like you'll be fine -- IF -- you bring enough money with you. I would suggest at least $10,000. For example, consider rent. Most landlords will want first, last, and one months security. That could easily be $3,000 right away. Add on utility deposits, taxes and license for your vehicle and you could be at $5,000 within a week or 2. Something to consider.


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brockettfamily
(@brockettfamily)
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June 15, 2010 5:07 am  

Thank you Linda. I was planning on having at least a few months security since I don't know how soon we can find work. Hoping to at least make some contacts before I get out there, if not actually securing employment. Not sure how reasonable an idea that is though?


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teamhurldon
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June 16, 2010 6:33 pm  

We're doing it July 1, with no PMV, but do not have children. Everyone's experiences are different, do your research, ask a bunch of questions, and with your partner decide what's best for your family and realize what you can and can't do....

Best of luck! Keep in touch, I'll let you know how island life progresses 🙂


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Jennn
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June 16, 2010 7:48 pm  

You guys are very brave or nuts. 😉 (just kidding) I wouldn't be moving down here in this economy. Jobs down here are more about who you know they what you know. You may get lucky, but I would come down with at least 4 month's worth of expenses. 10k won't get you that far if you have to put first, last, deposit, buy island car (or pay to ship your car), turn on your utilities, etc... So I would not come with anything less then that.


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brockettfamily
(@brockettfamily)
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June 16, 2010 11:25 pm  

Jennn ~ it's probably a little of both but more on the crazy side 🙂


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Edward
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June 18, 2010 2:26 pm  

You will need a car. If you buy one, you'll be making a commitment to stay for a while.


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vicanuck
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June 18, 2010 5:54 pm  

Unless you want to send your kid to horrible public school....you'll need at least $1000 a month for a decent private school.


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Linda J
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June 18, 2010 7:49 pm  

And away we go!!!!


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roadrunner
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June 18, 2010 7:55 pm  

LOL, Linda J - I thought the same thing! 😛


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brockettfamily
(@brockettfamily)
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June 20, 2010 2:39 am  

I think we would bring one of our cars down there and leave the other one here. If we end loving it as much as we think we will (fingers crossed) then we could buy another one on the island.

My daughter can go to public school for the socialization aspect. Meeting friends, getting out of the house, running off all her energy 🙂 then I can always supplement her education myself with homeschooling (or just on my own). A good education is incredibly important to me but I don't necessarily agree that a good education is only learned through books at school. You can get an education from life experiences as well. I have read the posts on here on public vs private schools on the island. Pretty hot debate to say the least. We are white, and even though my daughter is only 2 1/2 years old right now, we are teaching her to love everyone, no matter what color their skin is or how they talk. My mom taught me that but my dad, uncles and grandpa are very racist. I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking like them. It's ignorant. I just hope she won't have to deal with too much "reverse racism" being white in the schools there. For the most part, it seems like the islands are a very friendly, accepting place to live. I have never been there, but have been doing as much research as possible.

We are prepared for a huge culture shock when we move down there, but should be more than worth it. Even if we end up not staying more than a year or 2, it will still be an incredible experience 🙂

Thanks everyone for your input 🙂


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stxer
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June 20, 2010 3:53 am  

Unless you want to send your kid to horrible public school....you'll need at least $1000 a month for a decent private school.

Wow... When you make an accusation like that, you owe it to everyone to explain your reasons. Like many people on this board I have made some negative comments about the VI public schools. However the more that I have learned about them, the better I like them.

So, folks please read some of the many discussions about the VI public schools before making a decision about them. You might even consider observing first hand.


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brockettfamily
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June 20, 2010 4:12 am  

I think any school, no matter where in the world it is located or if it is public or private, is all what you (as the student) or the parents (if the students are still young) make it. Teachers can only do so much on their own. You have to put work in too if you want to get a good education or if you want your kids to get a good education. Peer pressure and bullying should be more of concern in my opinion.


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imij
 imij
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June 20, 2010 6:07 am  

Hey there Brocckettfamily.........Look, me and my husband are kinda in the same boat. I strongly disagree that you can make this work without a "pre-move visit".......I get it, EVERYBODY is different, but it really IS a culture shock. Not just to your child, but to you!

I only wish the best for the three of you, I sincerely do! But my mind was in a whirlwind coming there for our PMV.............we were 3000 miles from "home" and actually selling our house and transporting our children has become a major concern for us! Are we still planning on coming, YES.....but just making a leap of faith to move anywhere in the world without knowing what to expect could be dangerous (not just economics, but even your marriage)

If you can afford to, come for just a short stay, at least! I recommend staying at the Carrington Inn B&B (Adults only, so you have to get a sitter for the time) (ask Grandma).....anyway their rates are dirt cheap and the serve up a kick ass breakfast in the morning! And its a FULL breakfast, not some cheep continental one.....Hot Fresh FOOD!!!! Off peak rates are 100 a night, peak rates 120 a night...

Now I know it all seems so Awesome on paper and on the web, but I just got back 3 weeks ago.......I was surprised to see a lot of poverty and low budget housing.....I'm not saying its all like that, because I saw villas and mansions, and a lot of money floating about as well....but in my "dream" mind I did not want to see rundown buildings and beggers on the street in town.........but guess what? You Will!,,,,there is real reality to what I say, And I'm not trying to discourage you in no means.....I just think you and your husband need to come first, and decide from there.

Good Luck!


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Bombi
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June 20, 2010 1:16 pm  

Just go for it. If it's right for you and your family it will be the time of your life. The kids will be exposed to different cultures and people. School is important but seek and you will find. Not enough people are even adventurous enough to consider leaving their nice, safe paradigm and live life. My philosophy is, no regrets

Yes we have derelict buildings and a lot of public housing and beggars. What some might consider as poverty may be a life style choice.


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aussie
(@aussie)
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June 20, 2010 2:17 pm  

"...a life style choice". Interesting...

According to the last available data online ( http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/island/VIprofile.pdf), 32.5% of the population of the US Virgin Islands, or approximately 35K people, lived in poverty as defined by the US Census Bureau. The US Census Bureau does not take into account the regional cost of living in determining the poverty threshold. Add the high costing of living here to the equation, and the numbers go up.

That's a lot of people choosing to live with limited means....


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brockettfamily
(@brockettfamily)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 31
June 20, 2010 9:42 pm  

Thank you everyone for the continuing input! I love hearing everyone's ideas!

I am not expecting a lot really on our move down there. We are not wealthy by any means and I believe that most of the population that actually live on the island aren't wealthy either. Everywhere in the world is going to have old buildings and "beggers" on the streets and crime. There's no escaping that. What I am looking for are clear, warm waters (I LOVE to dive) and beautiful weather. Those were my biggest factors in looking into the islands in the first place. The hurricanes don't really scare me (no, I have never been in one) since you generally get some warning to prepare. We are used to earthquakes and I think I would rather take my chances in a hurricane personally.

Leaving our daughter with someone while we go check it out is NOT an option. I have never left my daugher overnight with anyone because there isn't anyone I am close enough to trust with her like that. I would my grandma, but I think she is a little to "old" to have to deal with a rambuncious 2 1/2 year old for any length of time.

My hsuband and I are both pretty adventurous. You only get to live life once so why not go for it when you get a chance. We want to make this move by next summer so that we will have plenty of time before our daughter starts school to decide if we like it there and want to stay long term or if we would prefer living on the mainland. We don't want to keep moving around once she gets settled into a school. Even though kids adapt easily to new situations, that still wouldn't be fair to her. This is the perfect time for an opportunity like this. If we were to wait much longer than next year, we probably wouldn't get a chance like this again.

Hey, if nothing else, it would be a great adventure for a year or two. How many other people can say they have had the chance to live in "paradise" for at least a little while? I know many people who can't even ever make there for a short visit. I am very thankful I have a husband who is willing (and actually wanting) to live out this dream with me 🙂

Please keep your advice coming! I listen to it all and it's very much appreciated!


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Danymouse
(@Danymouse)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 7
June 23, 2010 11:09 am  

Hi,
we just moved here (2 weeks ago) with our 2 1/4 year old son and so far so good. We checked out this week the local Montessori school and really liked it. The teachers were very nice and the whole school/playground was very appealing for my son. He really liked it.
We had a place to life and work already before we arrived on St Thomas. I read a lot about St Thomas before I arrived but one thing nobody every seemed to talk about are the grocery prices. Everything is more expensive, you can get stuff cheaper by going to the local pricesmart or food for less but then you will almost need a huge fridge and freezer. Here are some prices for Milk, Milk (1/2) gallon $3.99 if you are lucky you can get 1 gallon for $7.50. If you go to the normal grocery store, don't be surprised to pay $300 for not a whole lot. Also you have to buy what is available, I tried to buy sour cream and had to go to 3 different stores to get it.
Anyway I still love it here


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SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 1914
June 23, 2010 11:54 am  

"...a life style choice". Interesting...

According to the last available data online ( http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/island/VIprofile.pdf), 32.5% of the population of the US Virgin Islands, or approximately 35K people, lived in poverty as defined by the US Census Bureau. The US Census Bureau does not take into account the regional cost of living in determining the poverty threshold. Add the high costing of living here to the equation, and the numbers go up.

That's a lot of people choosing to live with limited means....

Alot of those people choose not to work and sit around all day. Others choose to live in a shack on property owned by family. No job, no rent, very little overhead. Definitely a choice they make. Not saying all, or the majority but.......Many choose that lifestyle. Also, If you choose to take a job but then decide not to show up or show up late all the time you have chosen to be unemployed.


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aussie
(@aussie)
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June 23, 2010 12:33 pm  

Yup, some people do make that choice. One third of the populace making that choice would kinda fall outside the norm though, don't ya think?


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Bombi
(@Bombi)
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June 23, 2010 12:52 pm  

Consider all the day laborers and "under the table"people.


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