We're arriving on Tuesday - TOMORROW
We will be arriving on STX tomorrow! We spent the last two days driving, with our dog, from Indiana to Fort Lauderdale. This morning, we gave our car to Crowley, and rented a car for the day. I have never shipped a car before, and they were so helpful and nice. So far, I can't say anything but awesome things about them.
Tomorrow, we fly on American Airlines at 6am to Puerto Rico, then we have chartered a plane, using Air America, from Puerto Rico to STX. They have been so helpful too, and I can't say enough great things about them.
So, I hope to be updating this torrorrow with great news that we made it! I can't wait to meet some of you! Everyone has been so helpful as we have planned our move, so "thank you" in advance for the help.
See you soon!
Maggie, the dog
Gina, my daughter (staying with me for two weeks)
Well meowruff, I joined you. Today is my first permanent day on the island. What a relief,
Over the last week, I've shipped the car (thanks Managed Freight), shipped about 60 boxes parcel post, closed on my house, and did countless other errands. There just wasn't enough time in the day. But all the advice on the board really helped. As an old boss told me, luck favors the prepared.
I'm curious about the chartered aircraft. That sounds like a pricey proposition. On the otter hand, AA charged me $200 one way from SJU to STX.
We're here! Yea! Our Tuesday started at 2am, as American Airlines told us to arrive at 3am for our 6am flight, since we were flying with our dog. Once we arrived, we discovered that the airport doesn't even open until 3:30am, so we waited... At 4am, American counters still hadn't opened, so we waited... Around 4:30, American began checking in customers. We were #2 in line and had the challenge of talking the clerk into allowing our pet on the plane. He stated that the temperature in San Juan when we landed would be too hot. But, after checking on line again and again with him, he discovered that the morning temperature would only reach 83 degrees. He continued to try to find any reason she could not fly with us. "Health Certificate?" I had it! "Rabies Certificate?" I had it! "Original Rabies tag?" I had it! Eventually, he took care of our tickets, and allowed Maggie on the plane. This process took ONE HOUR - I felt so bad for the customers behind me. But, we eventually flew off to Puerto Rico.
When we arrived, Pedro at AirAmerica talked TSA Personnel into allowing him to take Maggie directly from the American plane to the air conditioned holding dock. We had arranged this in advance, but the "wonderful agent" at American declined this also. I cannot recommend AirAmerica enough. Our dog, Maggie, isn't fond of strangers, and Pedro was actually able to talk to her - without her growling at him - and she even licked his face. One of the previous postings was asking about the price of this chartered flight. We paid $760 for the flight from Puerto Rico to St Croix. This fee was for the whole plane - we could've had five passengers. It just happened to be myself, my daughter and our dog. But, if a bunch of people are going somewhere for a quick excursion or island hopping, book the plane together and use them. And, to make the advenure even more perfect, the pilot let my 21 year old daughter fly the plane. She hasn't stopped talking about it!
So, if you're planning on bringing a large dog to St Croix in the summer, it can be done! You just need to be creative, patient and persistent.
Our car should be arriving early next week. I'll update this post with prices and details about that experience too.
We sent 20 boxes of personal items via USPS (using Parcel Post) two weeks ago. Some of the items were sent Media Mail, which is much less expensive. To date, we have not received any of these boxes.
We also sent one box via USPS (using Priority Mail) one week ago. That box was here waiting for us. We contacted Mailboxes Etc before leaving the mainland, and set up a PO Box with them to begin sending things. They're awesome - we can call daily to see if anything has arrived instead of driving to check things out daily.
I woke up today, realizing that I really live here now! It was amazing to look out my bedroom window at palm trees and beautiful flowerss, smelling the salt air, and hearing the ocean. I wondered if I were still asleep dreaming. Not this time! It was reality!
My daughter and I were at the beach this afternoon. A tourist approached us, asking about "snorkeling techniques", then asked where we were from. It was so awesome to say "I LIVE HERE!"
As always, I can't thank everyone enough for the information posted here. Yes, I did my research, but reading the posts put things in perspective and gave me other options for making this move.
I can't wait to meet you!
I'm just updating regarding our moving experience.
THE VEHICLE - Yea! It arrived on island on Monday. We were told to call after 1pm on Tuesday to see if we were "good to go" to begin the paperwork process of acquiring of vehicle. Knowing that the vehicle was on island, we went downtown to acquire car insurance. We decided to go with Marshall & Sterling. Absolutely awesome people to work with! (Basic coverage for 1 year: $387.)
At 1pm on Tuesday, we phoned Crowley's, and they were ready for us. So, off to the port we went. Once arriving, we had to pick up paperwork, take it to the tax office and pay ($461). We returned to the port and paid for the shipping ($1204), which included the customs fee on the mainland. Then, we went across to customs to have our car cleared, returned again to O'Neals (they handle the Crowley shipping), checked our car over and it was released to us. By this time, it was 3pm, and we were told that the DMV/Police Dept was closed, so we should just drive the vehicle home for the evening, then finish everything in the morning. It felt really odd to be driving our Indiana plated vehicle across the island to our home.
This morning, we arrived bright and early at the DMV to have the car inspected. The gentleman looked at my paperwork, glanced at my vehicle and told me to go in the door and get your license and title. That was it! So, in we went, I handed over my paperwork, took a number, paid my $94 for my registration and plates. Then, waited a bit more for my title, and off we went. We were finished in under an hour without any hassle.
From everything I've read, I was most worried about taking care of the registration, plates and titling my vehicle. We purchased an old vehicle (1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport), and had a mainland mechanic replace everything prior to moving here. So, in essence we have a new vehicle with an old body, but we knew that we would have to pay less due to the lower value of the vehicle this way.
Quite honestly, this process was easier and quicker than it would've been in Indiana. We have always dreaded when we have to go to our DMV. They're rude, unhelpful and it has always sucked a day of our life out of us. Here - they were helpful, sweet, kind, efficient and quick! Seriously! Maybe I just had an angel riding with me, but it definitely wasn't a negative experience!
PACKAGES - We began sending packages a week prior to our moving here. We are receiving boxes daily, and have received almost half of our boxes to date. We only sent one package Priority Mail, with the remaining packages sent Parcel Post or Media Mail.
LIFE - Wonderful! What more can I say?! I have met the most amazing people. Around every corner are fabulous and interesting stories. I am blown away by the warmth of the human spirit. We were waiting in line in K-Mart the other day, and a sweet lady approached us and said, "I have something for you." She proceeded to go through every corner of her purse, then pulled out a coupon that was good for $5 off a future purchase. It was due to expire and she wanted to make sure it would be used. What a sweetheart!
OUR DOG - She's adjusting just great! Initially, she cried everytime we left the house. Our neighbors were so understanding when we explained that she was having a difficult time. But, over time, she has stopped crying, and is discovering new potty areas that are safe from chickens and roosters. She loves to go for her daily morning walk, stopping constantly for me to pick up garbage and other dogs' poop. She hasn't found a love (or even like) for the ocean yet, but tolerates walking on the sand, as long as her precious paws don't get wet.
I am thrilled to be here. I'm thankful that I have a few weeks to get my feet wet until I begin teaching this fall. But, I'm really looking forward to meeting my future students. Every time I see children, I think, "They could be my students," and I get excited!
Thank you again to everyone on this post who has prepared me for the realities of this moving experience. Your wealth of information is invaluable!
meowruff, that is great to hear! Glad you are settling in OK with no problems. Thanks for the details about the vehicle move, I was a little curious about exactly how things will go, and you detailed it perfectly.
One thing, how much did you pay in taxes and what did they value your Jeep at? Do you know how they determined the value?
Thanks and have fun!!
I remember getting boxes every day for almost 2 weeks. It truly was like christmas. We had packed some boxes 2-3 months earlier, so we had many surprises. We also had instances of looking at something and asking ourselves "why in the world did we pack and bring THAT??"
Packing to stay is just like packing for a visit, bring twice as much money as you think you need and half as much stuff.
We had our kids and their friends help us pack our container. It got held up in customs for a while after it arrived on island. Hubby was off island when we finally got it so a couple of cruzian friends helped me unload. At one point they were laughing hysterically. I couldn't understand what they were saying. Then they walked out of the container, each one with a snow scraper in their hands.
I love your ice scraper story. I'm so glad that I'll never need one of those things again.
As my packages have been arriving, I've been excited as I open each one. Yesterday, one of the boxes that arrived was packed by my wonderful husband. He insisted on packing his winter coat - just in case. So, if we ever have a cold spell, just count on my husband. He's got the winter coat for everyone!
I keep a bin full of cold weather gear at my Dad's house as well as a stash of "heath & beauty" items too. Makes traveling there easy and keeps the suitcase light - more room to bring stuff back here! Also, my Dad, Step-Mom and In-Laws each keep a bin of warm weather clothes/shoes down here. Now that airlines are going to charge for luggage it makes even more sense!
Just another update for those interested...
DRIVER'S LICENSE - They open at 8am. I arrived around 7:45 and completed the necessary form. At 8:05, I gave my form, current driver's license, SS card and passport to the clerk. She photocopied everything and I paid her the $45.00. I then proceeded to "Window 1", gave her my paperwork and waited for a couple of minutes. I was called into her little office, checked the accuracy of the information on the computer monitor, gave her my fingerprint, provided my signature, had my picture taken and waited another couple of minutes. I was driving away, with license in hand, by 8:20am. Painless - easy - piece of cake!