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Things to Consider

 
Jord
 Jord
(@Jord)
New Member

Hello,

I've been reading a lot of this forum in my research of considering a VI move. My husband and I are trying to more out of Minnesota to a warm climate. He has been to St. Thomas and USVI and BVI many times and would like us to consider living there. We are planning a PMV in March to see if it is a place I would like to call home. We have a five year old and from what I understand private school is in her best educational interest compared to public schools on the islands.

My husband is a recent Law School grad. We are looking at St. Thomas as it seems there is more career opportunity in STT over St. Croix? Is this accurate? Is there a need for attorneys, or is it an over-saturrated market?

We would be renting for at least the first 2 years. What is a reasonable budget to expect for rental?

We are very aware of the crime. We've lived in major cities and know the blend of respect of culture, not being where you shouldn't be ect. Are there area's or neighborhoods that have lower crime rates over others?

We are also somewhat concerned about being able to find a church. We are very involved in our church and evangelical Christians, and are having a hard time finding information about churches in the area.

What other employment is available? I am currently an assistant teacher in a deaf/hard of hearing pre-school. I have looked through many job listings and don't see a lot of need for my area. I do not have a degree. Is there work outside the service industry for not degreed workers?

A large issue also is diet. Both my daughter and I require a gluten free diet. Are gluten free foods available in stores?

We are not looking to bring the rat race with us. We are looking for a place in life to be warm, minimalistic and slow down. Can you please help me think of other things we need to consider? Thanks so much!

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Topic starter Posted : January 31, 2011 3:14 pm
Leslie
(@Leslie)
Advanced Member

My husband and I are in the exact boat except were coming from Michigan and looking at St. John. Were is a ton higher in price so were bracing ourselves for that. But it's where I want to be. Good luck in your search. It's been very insightful for me so far and Im just beginning.

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Posted : January 31, 2011 4:09 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

Jord - Yes, there are opportunities for attorneys on STX, both in government positions and private practice.

Yes, most people moving here with children would be wise to budget for private school tuition. There are a variety of reasons this is true, but you won't find many people giving you opposing advice on this issue. There are 1-2 public schools on STT that sometimes get good reviews as being acceptable options for children new to that island. There are good private schools on both islands.

The housing budget depends a lot on how you want to live. You can get decent 2-BDR, 2-BTH condos in the $1500 per month range, plus power and water metered service costs. Most condos include cable tv, pest control and sometimes other services. Most are furnished and somewhat equipped with basic household items. Units even in the same complex are not all equal however, so you want to visit each unit under consideration. If you want a private house, for something moderate and in a reasonably well thought of neighborhood, you are likely to see monthly rents in the $2000-$3000 range plus you pay all the utilities.

The islands are small and the neighborhoods are pretty much all jumbled together with mansions next to cottages and low income housing projects scattered randomly about the islands. There are a few gated neighborhoods and some areas of the island are less frequently noted on the crime blotter.

There are LOTS of churches here and you are likely to find one or more that suit your religious preferences.

If you have experience working in schools with special needs children, the schools here would likely enjoy talking with you. Not all positions in the schools are for certified teachers and they are likely to appreciate any experience and skills you have to offer. There are other office/clerical positions or cashier/customer service in stores, etc. Employers usually won't talk to you or respond to inquiries until you are actually here on the island. Plan to devote part of your PMV to an active job search.

You can get specialty foods here. You'll learn where to shop. There are health food stores in addition to a few pretty decent grocery stores. If there's something specific you need, some stores will consider adding it to their shelves or special ordering for you. Many of us have family or friends send down something from the mainland now and then if we have trouble getting it here.

There are always many other things to consider. The more time you spend reading the past couple years worth of posts on this site, the better prepared you'll be for your PMV.

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Posted : January 31, 2011 8:38 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

The opportunities for attorneys range from federal, territorial, private firms, and private practice. It all depends on your previous experience, I guess. You should attend a Chamber of Commerce event when you come. You should make some contacts.

At the private schools your kids associate with the more successful residents' kids, so you have opportunities to network. There are many motivated and successful graduates of the public schools.

There may be some non-profit organizations that can use your skills. The local paper will soon publish a special edition on non-profits.

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Posted : January 31, 2011 10:47 pm
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

"We are not looking to bring the rat race with us. We are looking for a place in life to be warm, minimalistic and slow down. Can you please help me think of other things we need to consider? Thanks so much!"

This is one of those things that I think causes our high turnover rate. It is absolutely warm here, especially if you grew up somewhere in the north. For me coming from the south, warmth doesn't really matter to me. But it is not minimalistic or slow here. Becoming minimalistic or slow all depends on you No Matter where you live. Here I find I'm constantly running errands almost every day to get things done. So don't move here to join the simple life, that's what vacation is for. The islands are just another place to live, granted it's a beautiful backdrop. 🙂

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Posted : February 1, 2011 11:19 am
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

"We are not looking to bring the rat race with us. We are looking for a place in life to be warm, minimalistic and slow down. Can you please help me think of other things we need to consider? Thanks so much!"

This is one of those things that I think causes our high turnover rate. It is absolutely warm here, especially if you grew up somewhere in the north. For me coming from the south, warmth doesn't really matter to me. But it is not minimalistic or slow here. Becoming minimalistic or slow all depends on you No Matter where you live. Here I find I'm constantly running errands almost every day to get things done. So don't move here to join the simple life, that's what vacation is for. The islands are just another place to live, granted it's a beautiful backdrop. 🙂

Great post!

Sean

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Posted : February 1, 2011 4:30 pm
Jord
 Jord
(@Jord)
New Member

Thanks for replies. Thanks you for the housing breakdown Alexandra, that is very helpful.

The perspective on slowing down Hiya I also appreciate. I guess I don't expect life as a vacation, just not that mad rush of "if I don't get my coffee in less then 2 minutes the world will end" attitude I'm tired of experiencing in almost every moment. I want to be able to move a little slower. 🙂 But I think the PMV will help me to understand the culture and atmosphere more.

Can anyone help me to understand the crime on St. Thomas vs. St. Croix? Is there nearly as much on St. Croix? Are there more families on one island over the other?

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Topic starter Posted : February 2, 2011 2:26 am
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

The population sizes of STT and STX are very similar. I see more singles on STT (lots come to work the winter tourist season in the service industries) but both islands have families as well.

The crime rates tend to be similar for both islands. STX has three times the landmass of STT, so it just feels much less crowded/busy. We also don't get as many cruise ships, so we don't have the traffic jams that can plug up Charlotte Amalie on STT when they have a bunch of ships in on the same day.

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Posted : February 2, 2011 3:51 am
cdsp
 cdsp
(@cdsp)
Advanced Member

RE: slower pace
I own a home in STX and consider STT to have a little to much of the city / get things done feel I think you are referring to. There are many many churches of all types in STX- I think I read somewhere it is highest rate of churches per person in any of the US, I am sure you will find something. I am only a snowbird and found the church near my house very very welcoming. Private school will be your best bet, I left PR when my son started middle school because I could not afford private school. Good Luck!!!!

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Posted : February 2, 2011 5:11 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

In some ways you can feel more frantic and rushed here due to the fact that everything moves so slow.

This happened to me yesterday: I had 60 minutes to eat lunch. I drive from town to McDonald's but get stuck behind a taxi going 8 miles an hour. So it takes 15 minutes to go the 3 miles to get there. When I arrived there is a line of 10 people. There are 15 people working but only one is at the register. It takes her about 3 minutes to process each person. So I wait for 30 minutes to get my food. Now I only have 15 minutes to eat and get back to work. Praying that I don't get behind another taxi on the way back I frentically wolf down my meal in 3 minutes, hardly enjoying it. I end up trying to speed to get back to work in time for my meeting.

You get the idea, the slowness of others often makes a conscientious person's life far more stressful not less stressful!

The alternative is you stop doing things on time, show up late etc. That is fine when interacting with other locals as it's somewhat expected. But if you happen to be working in a job that is not on island time, or have a problem with constant and extreme tardiness, it is amazingly frustrating and can be very stressful.

Sean

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Posted : February 4, 2011 2:51 pm
TheSavage
(@TheSavage)
Advanced Member

This a island if misfits that contributes to mayhem abd madness. But once you accept that it's great and when you hit the beach everything melts away for those few precious hours.

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Posted : February 5, 2011 4:38 am
glynnswife
(@glynnswife)
Advanced Member

The lesson to be learned is don't expect McDonald's to be fast food. If there is more than one person in line you WILL wait for 15-30 minutes for your food.

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Posted : February 5, 2011 3:03 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

The lesson to be learned is don't expect McDonald's to be fast food. If there is more than one person in line you WILL wait for 15-30 minutes for your food.

That's definitely true 🙂 I don't know how they stay in business, they have 15 people working at the same time at an average of say $10 an hour so $150/hour. They seem to only be able to get through about 30 orders an hour. That's like $5/customer in labor charges alone!

McDonald's was just yesterday's example though, you could interchange McDonalds with a lot of other things.

In addition to the speed of things, the number of things that you take for granted in the states like a stable supply of running water, electricity, phone, and internet, along with mail delivery to your door, trash pickup, the ability to go to one grocery store and do all your shopping etc. that don't exist here make even a simple life here stressful at times. Personally I would definitely say that the rat race here is no better than the one up north.

Sean

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Posted : February 5, 2011 5:19 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

The rats are slower, the race is negligible, the weather is better and nobody cares what you drive, own or wear.

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Posted : February 6, 2011 3:10 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

The rats in the race have a better tan.

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Posted : February 6, 2011 11:15 am
VIsnorkeler
(@VIsnorkeler)
Trusted Member

I just factor in that anything I do is going to take at least an hour and I am not so stressed out. As a matter of fact, I am thrilled when a trip to three grocery stores, the post office and the bank only takes me an hour and a half! Now I have three hours to maintain that tan and go to the beach! YAY! :@)

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Posted : February 6, 2011 3:07 pm
rdugirl
(@rdugirl)
Advanced Member

Lol...I love reading all the great advice and funny anecdotes (the rats have a better tan). I can't wait to arrive. Anyone know what the need for RN's is like on STT vs. STX?

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Posted : February 13, 2011 8:53 pm
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