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Kanniewaggie last won the day on November 20 2015

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About Kanniewaggie

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    Cary, NC
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  • Landed
    Nov 2014
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  1. We're holding thumbs they get as lucky as we were.
  2. Kanniewaggie

    Some Questions

    Tinjana, you need to have the address for the same area where you go to the Social Security Office. So if you for instance look at staying in Austin, get the mailbox there and go to the office in Austin. You will be completing forms, including your address where they will be sending the social security cards (the ups address). Take your passports with the immigrant visa and birth certificates also for additional reference. You can also check the social security website for more details. The Ups store can forward your mail to you in SA at an additional cost, but I think it might be a bit risky to have your greencards send that way. We provided the address of some friends for the greencards, and they then couriered the cards to us. Normal post in SA is way too risky.
  3. Kanniewaggie

    Some Questions

    It is really interesting to read all the advice provided, so here is my 2 cents worth. If getting a job already creates a big headache for you, then go ahead and contact some recruiters and arrange to visit them during your LSD. I did just that and it makes a great impression on them and the employers when they can confirm they had a face to face interview with you. I got a great job because of that, even though we were still staying in SA. It did mean that I had to pack up and move to the States a bit earlier than planned, while my husband stayed back in SA to finish his job responsibilities. But it was all worth it, and we had much less to worry about. In terms of the SSN, my advice is to also apply for it during your LSD. It is a very important piece of paper (E.g. You need the SSN when applying for rent, getting a job etc.), so rather be pro-active by going to the Social Security Administration offices to apply, than hoping it would arrive when you've moved here. You'll need an addrees in the state where you apply for the SSN, so we got a mail box at the UPS store which provide you with a street address. This also helped to get a bank account opened, also while still on the LSD.
  4. One year ago I landed in the USA, after a crazy 6 month journey where we learned we won the DV2014 in May 2014 (checking our 2015 entry status), getting all the paperwork in order, keeping fingers crossed we make it under the cut, getting medical exams completed (and surviving the accompanying pep-talk and scare-mongering), flying back and forth for an interview, job hunting on the internet, a blitz LSD, much research on destinations, a month holiday to Alaska and California, and packing 2 suitcases with the critical items for emigration. We were very fortunate to have good friends in the USA to lean on and help make the transition easier. Through them we were able to get our Green Cards in hand before flying to the US, and also to find an apartment, furniture and a vehicle when I landed late November 2014. It really helps to have someone with experience ready to advise, guide and help you avoid stupid traps. Of course there were also you lot who provided a ton of helpful hints, tips and information to make decisions and plans much easier to deal with. During our LSD to RTP and Charlotte (NC) in August, I made an appointment to see the recruiter at the staffing firm that contacted me during my internet job searches. This may have helped land me a good contracting position with Bank of America in Charlotte, which was also a blessing because our good friends lived close by and was able to welcome me to my new home. But, on the downside, landing a job that quickly meant a change in schedule and I had to leave Hubby in SA to finish up while I hastened westward across the sea ! Fortunately the 6 weeks went by in a blur of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, induction at work, assembling flat-pack furniture, Skype kuiers with friends and family over the Festive Season and driving on the wrong side of the road. Once Hubby arrived with his 2 suitcases (makes the drive from the airport easier if you bring less baggage), we set off exploring our new country. During the first month while Hubby was doing interviews with a variety of employers, I was sent off to Jacksonville, FL, for 10 days to work in a control room there. Jacksonville, FL, is a mere two hours from The Happiest Place On Earth, so naturally Hubby had to get in the car and drive down from Charlotte, NC, so we could experience a longish weekend of some magic and happiness ! While there Hubby managed to survive some tough online interview tests, and upon our return to NC the next week managed to get a contract position as well. Only, this was in Cary, NC, some 200 miles east from home-base ! Well, Hubby started commuting weekly over to Cary, while we explored Charlotte on weekends. Towards April, as our apartment lease in Charlotte concluded, we moved to a house in Cary, where we could keep our pets, who were scheduled to emigrate later in the year once we have settled. I was fortunate that my job allowed me to work remotely, and that my manager approved this arrangement. Along the way we had an adventurous wine festival in Blowing Rock, a fun trip to 2 PGA tour events, a Baseball game (with beer and fuzzy memories of the evening), a couple of trips to Carowinds to ride the worlds tallest and fastest giga-coaster and a bunch of other thrilling rides, a trip to DMV to finally get our drivers licenses and a trip to the beach (Myrtle Beach, where we ate a lot, especially some fantastic sushi, and oysters at a dodgy-looking bar, and drank a lot of Jack to fight off the unpleasant weather) In May I visited South Africa to fetch our "4-legged kids", and brought only the eldest along, because the younger had adopted her baby-sitter and preferred to stay there... Back in the USA, we continued exploring and visited Boston to see U2 in concert, ride awesome rides at Six Flags New England, joined a local golf club and played fun events like Nine, Wine and Dine, got a Weber and braaied a lot, got all manner of mozzi repellent and fly-shooers (n Vlieeplak werk steeds die beste), got bicycles and cycled all about town and ate too much Cookies-and-Cream ice cream. By the time September rolled in we were expecting the excitement to start fading away, but we had booked a cruise to Hawaii last year (while cruising to Alaska, you get discount for booking onboard, and we are suckers for discounts ... Already have our next cruise booked while cruising to Hawaii...), so off we set on more adventure ! When we returned from Hawaii, fall had taken over NC and it was miserable and wet and cold for days. But we found SA Red Wine, as well as a good shaker of mulling spices, so Gluewein comforted our sorry spirits. In October we flew to SA again, but sadly this time for a funeral. My mother passed away suddenly in the ripe old age of 74, a couple of weeks before her birthday. It was unexpected and while she was suffering some health problems lately, she was an old kanniedood. We managed to get a week off from work to go to SA, which speaks volumes about how the people here value family and relations. Even though we just returned from an extended vacation a few weeks earlier, there was great understanding for our situation from both our employers. And although we are both on contract, meaning we are free to stay at home and not get paid, we were not made to feel that we should "hurry back" immediately after the funeral. I have great appreciation for the way Americans work. They work hard, but they play hard too. A well balanced Work-Life balance is something we can aspire to here. Finally we went to see the All Star Cricketers in action in The Big Apple a coupe of weeks ago. What a fun and noisy day with A Lot of Indians and some Aussies, English and a few Saffas too ! The Sunday we toured Manhattan and saw Ground Zero and the Statue of Liberty off in the distance and a little bit of Central Park. Sadly no Friends attraction or exhibition, but we did experience a bit of home at Braai on 51st in the heart of NYC ! And that, in not so much a nutshell, is how the first year went ! There is still so much to go see and do, we surely won't sit and wonder too long about where to next. If you have the chance to come to the USA, just go for it. There is a million places to go and even more to do, so you will find somewhere that you can be comfortable. Just go with it and leave pre-conceived notions and ideas back in SA: start fresh and be whatever you want to be - America lives up to the tagline "the land of Opportunity". Go grab it ! See you at the airport :-)
  5. Kanniewaggie

    Age Of Entry

    Well, I guess the rent can fluctuate a bit depending on where you're going. We are currently staying in a 4 bedroom house for just under $2000. We could get cheaper, but we were looking for a place with an enclosed back yard, and they are very scarce.
  6. Kanniewaggie

    Age Of Entry

    Pickles, we were lucky to have a good friend that could check out some apartments and made some suggestions. When we decided on a place there was a lot of paperwork to complete. They did do a credit check, and because we did not have a credit record here, we had to put down a full months deposit. From there it was smooth sailing. So it really makes your life much easier if you know someone here. But I did find that renting agencies are appreciative of your circumstances and if you are willing to put down A big enough deposit, then you should not have a problem.
  7. Kanniewaggie

    Age Of Entry

    I was 42 and my husband 43 when we landed. It took us 3 months from receiving our visas to moving into our first apartment in the US.
  8. Kanniewaggie

    2015 Dv Lottery Winners - Lets Share Ideas And Info

    We had our green cards couriered to us. It definately made things much easier both checking in for the flights in SA (they asked for the green cards) and then entering the USA where they have the self service kiosks where you scan your green card. But I guess if you don't have it, it is not a trainsmash.
  9. Kanniewaggie


    Good luck to everyone that entered!
  10. Kanniewaggie

    Just Waiting ....

    We're holding thumbs with you!
  11. Kanniewaggie

    Extension For First Filing? (And A Couple Of Other Q's)

    Can anyone suggest a good tax consultant that can really help with the tax returns for SARS and the IRS?
  12. Kanniewaggie

    Job Search Getting Started

    I've had a very good experience with a recruiter. Also had telephonic discussions and then visited him on out LSD trip. He got me a good contract where I'm earning double I earned in SA, even before I landed in the USA. I guess I was lucky and you should not view this as the norm. But I think it is definately worthwhile using a recruiter to get into the job market here.
  13. Kanniewaggie

    2015 Dv Lottery Winners - Lets Share Ideas And Info

    We just showed our pension fund statements and that was sufficient. Also had a valuation on our property, but they didn't even want to see that.
  14. Kanniewaggie

    LSD Trips and Arrivals

    I have finally arrived. Got off the plane on Wednesday and were greeted by some very good friends here. So let me tell you a bit about the trip and what happened before I got on the plane. When I landed the job couple of weeks back the first task was to get a place to stay. Did some research on the net and decided to stay as close as possible to my new workplace - smackbang in town! Now coming from the winelands in Stellenbosch where we literally walk onto the winefarm when we go out the door this is a thing. But to make the transition as easy as possible this was what was needed. At least I don't need a car immediately and can get used to the way around before I have to find places on my own. So my very good friends were my eyes and ears and scouted the possibilities. The apartments were narrowed down and eventually we decided on the one. Now this was a great choice and I'm really happy here. But then came the paperwork. Now after having to do stacks and stacks of paperwork for the background checks from the employers, this was a breeze. But if anyone is looking for a good service opportunity, start filling out paperwork for new immigrants. This is time consuming, confusing and sometimes plain irritating. Man, these guys just love their paperwork. Long story short, if you thought it is difficult to get a job from SA, try doing rental agreements, deposits, background checks and all that stuff. I was lucky to have Kathie here, as she paid the deposits and had the necessary discussions on my behalf (she's a real gem). So if you do have someone here, make sure you send them some money to help with all the deposits. They have issues accepting international credit cards ( they will want to call you and talk to you about it first before accepting the payment), you surely don't want to send them a check via mail (which they actually prefer) and EFT is non-existing, even if you have a US bank account. So my further advice is that if you come for your LSD trip, make sure you get that secured credit card and the UPS store mailbox for your local address, and a local mobile number (for some reason they really struggle to call our +27 numbers and are always asking for a local number). Without that you need to know a gem on this side to help you out. Now back to OR Tambo. Strange thing when checking in, was that they gave the visa one look and immediately asked for my greencard. Not sure what would have happened if I did not have it, but luckily we received ours just the weekend before. I think it might have something to do with the visa expiring in less than 6 months (ours expire in Jan). After that no other issues. Arriving in the States I met with the automated self checking machines at border control. Great thing was that there were barely a row in the US citizen and Resident side, but it took me quite some time to get the machine to eventually scan my greencard. It was built for scanning passports and you have to put the greencard in just right to get it scanned. The screen then show your details, ask you to scan your finger prints, take a picture and then print you something that looks similar to a boarding pass with your picture on. Then you go stand in the short line and a border control officer do exactly what the machine did - check your detail (this time including your passport as well), scan you finger prints, take a picture, and then ask some questions. He asked how long I was outside of the US. Then why did I leave the US. Also did I plan on staying permanently this time. And then the great part - WELCOME HOME :-D This has now been a long story, but just this last thing - background checks. They do them for everything. By now I must be 760 points in the red for my credit rating. Checks have been done by my contract recruiter, then by the customer for whom I'll be working, then for the apartment lease, then for the secured credit card, and yesterday again for the utilities transfer. And it does not even help to say don't do the checks you will find nothing, this is just done by the book. This was an experience, and I am so happy to be here. So bring on the rest of the adventure!
  15. Kanniewaggie

    Us Job Market

    Thanks all for the good wishes.