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About Dieter

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  • Location
    Charlotte, NC
  • First Name
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  • Landed
    May 2001
  • SA Location
    Loevenstein, Cape Town
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  1. The Charlotte South African braai is this coming weekend, April 28th, at the Charlotte Rugby Club. For more information, please see our website: http://charlottebraai.com
  2. Hi Nicola, I'll add some comments as I was recently looking to relocate inside the US too. I'm from South Africa, and married an american, so I can't really help with all the visa items, but in terms of location here is what I found. I grew up in Loevenstein, just outside Cape Town, and initially moved to Maryland, where I went to school. Weather wasn't too bad, but it did get a lot more humid than South Africa. Generally most of the East Coast is quite humid in the summer, however everywhere has air conditioning, so it isn't too bad. Maryland also got a bit too much snow for me, but overall living costs weren't too bad, as long as you are willing to live 30+ min outside the larger towns. After college I moved with my girlfriend at the time to Florida for 3 months over the summer, for an internship. Florida is really cheap compared to the rest of the country, however you definitely suffer in the summer months as the heat / humidity is crazy. I know a couple of friends who lived there, and generally most people can only handle it for a couple of years before deciding to move further north. There are also a lot of hurricanes etc, which make people uncomfortable. We then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and lived there for the last 5+ years. The weather, as mentioned by another poster, is absolutely wonderful there. We lived about 20 min outside San Francisco and it was pretty much exactly like Cape Town. Nice warm winters (no snow etc), and very mellow summers with no humidity. You do however pay for that quite heavily in terms of living costs. Most of california is very expensive, especially if you want to get a house with space for the kids. For example we paid around $1800 per month for a pretty small 2 bedroom apartment with no back yard. Traffic in the Bay Area and LA Area are also some of the worst in the country, plus you have the ever present threat of large earthquakes, which is worrisome. I will admit that California was a dream when it came to outdoor activities, like skiing, hiking, camping etc. Our son was born about 18 months ago, and we pretty much immediately started thinking about moving to a cheaper area. It simply wasn't an option for my wife to stay at home while we live in California. After quite a bit of research, we decided on Charlotte, NC. Housing and living costs in general are very cheap out here, as we pay around $1100 per month for a 4bedroom house with a huge back yard. We are 20 min from downtown (called uptown for some reason), in a wonderful neighborhood, with good schools, infrastructure and shopping. We've only been here a month now, but I'm already very pleased with our decision to move here. There is also quite a nice South African community in the area, so you can easily find Biltong and other items critical to our survival as South Africans. We do get some hurricanes here too, but we are far enough inland for them to not really have much punch left when they get to us. The weather is also a bit more humid than I'd like in the summer, but winters should be mellow, with snow being reasonably rare. Charlotte is also a major airport hub, so it is easy to fly back to ZA etc. Anyway, hope that helps, feel free to contact me directly if you need any more information. Dieter
  3. Yup, H1B is probably what you'd need. The feedback you received was correct in terms of how quickly they are grabbed up, usually within a couple of days (each year the demand is higher as the number of visas available hasn't kept up with demand). Anyway, the application process starts on 1st of April every year, and you need to have it submitted that morning, or it will be too late. It takes a couple of months to process and if successful your H1B visa will be valid from 1st of October that same year. You will not be allowed into the country before that date, so there is a long wait time between applying and actually being able to start working. It is very challenging to get these Visas, your odds might actually be better to apply for the greencard lottery, unless you know someone at a company in the US who really likes you and is prepared to go through all the trouble of doing this. Also note that it costs around $1000 to apply for this visa, that is without lawyer costs, even if you application gets denied. Hope this is helpful. I know a couple of people who pulled this off, and the payoff is worth it, so best of luck to you.
  4. Ian, I'm incredibly jealous. I've promised myself like 3 years in a row that I'd go, but I never get around to it. Next year I'll be there! haha.
  5. Oh, and there is a Rugby meet on Saturday for the AUS vs ZA game... check bayboks.com for the latest information for anyone who is interested in that.
  6. Hey All, It’s time for the American Formula 1 Grand Prix LIVE from Indianapolis…and if it’s even half as exciting as last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix it’ll be pretty awesome. Get up early (note that this is 9:30 *A.M.* on Sunday morning - race starts at 10) and come watch the race on our big-screen TV! I’m still hopeful that Fox will air it in High Definition, however since the Canadian one wasn’t, it seems unlikely. Afterward we are thinking of having a lunch braai, but we’ll see if people are interested first…if you are, let us know and we’ll set it up. This is being organized via an Invite, if you’d like to be invited please send me an email and I’ll pass it on. Everyone welcome! Visit Bayboks.com for more information and latest updates.
  7. Hey, Yeah, unfortunately it isnt quite as easy as that. The F1 visa is very limited and it is quite challenging to switch over from that to a full H1B. I went to Uni in the US, so I also got a year of OPT, during that year you basically have to find a company to sponsor you for a full H1B work permit (and then apply). The OPT year is a practical training year, it's not meant to be used for more schooling, and unless you use your OPT year to find a job that will sponsor you, you wont be able to get on H1B. To make it more difficult, there is a strict time limit for H1B and basically, if she doesnt have a job by April 1st of her OPT year then she will not get a visa. There are only a limit number of H1B visas available every year (around 65,000 or so), applications start on 1st of April every year, and if you get it, the visa will take effect on 1st of October. Unfortunately the demand for those visas are so insane that ALL of them were gone by the first day this year. So if you didnt have a company sponsoring you and applied the morning of the 1st of april, there is no hope of you getting that visa (and working here) until October next year (assuming you apply on the morning of the 1st of April next year). As far as I know there is no way around this visa shortage, except for getting married to an American citizen.
  8. Hey, I also moved to San Francisco about 1.5 years ago with my girlfriend and neither of us knew anything about the bay area when we moved (we didn't have jobs either). We initially moved to San Jose, which is the southern part of the bay area, however soon realized that it is way too far from San Francisco (at least 90 minutes driving, way more during rush hour) and moved to Burlingame. Burlingame is on the Peninsula just south of San Francisco and it was a good compromise for us in terms of location (also about 10 minutes from the Airport, which is very useful). I work around the Bay Area, mainly Palo Alto (about 30 min (50 min rush hour) South of Burlingame) and my GF works in the Financial District in SF (takes her about 65 minutes to commute each way, using Car/Bart combo). If you plan on working or spending any time in San Francisco, then I'd highly recommend being no further south than Burlingame, since during rush hour it takes about an hour to get into downtown by car. If you take public transport (BART, our subway system) then this takes about 45 minutes or so. The reason we chose the peninsula, was because of transport costs from other parts of the bay area: To drive across any of the cross bay bridges, it will cost you $4 or $5 every time. Combine that with parking costs and it seems like a way better idea to use BART whenever possible. As for rent, you can expect to pay around $1600 to $2000+ for a 2 bedroom place. Maybe a bit more expensive if you are looking for a garden and if you have pets. You might want to check with us before picking an area, so we can warn you of the bad ones. In terms of buying a house, unfortunately San Francisco is one of the worst places to do that, since housing prices are rather ridiculous (at least they seem that way to me). Hope that helps a bit, feel free to contact me if you need any specific info.
  9. Hey All, As everyone knows the Cricket World Cup is in full swing, and I was wondering what everyone has planned for the big game on Saturday (South Africa vs Australia)? I think it is safe to assume that all free online cricket feeds are officially dead, so options are rather limited: 1. Direct TV - Anyone lucky enough to have Direct TV and paid the insane amount of money to get the game? I'm a comcast subscriber, so paying the activation fee + $200 for the game package didn't sound like a great plan. 2. Paid online streaming - I know of at least 1 site where you can watch a live video stream of the game. Cost is $15 per match, which isn't bad, but unfortunately the bitrate is rather low, so quality is barely watchable (if at all). Also, no idea how well these will hold up during what is surely the biggest game of the World Cup so far. 3. Bars: I know that "Britannia Arms" in Sunnyvale and San Jose will be showing all games. I've also heard rumors of some Indian restaurants showing games in "back rooms", but I have yet to actually find one of these. At the moment the best option for me seems to be to pay the $15 to get the bad video stream. Anyone have better plans? Dieter PS: Video Streaming Sites: 1. http://www.cricclips.com - Free Highlights (Not Live) - Mostly large youtube links 2. http://worldondemand.net/icchome.aspx - Pay - Live Matches - Not sure how expensive 3. http://www.livesportson.tv/drm/eventlist.asp - Pay - $15 per game - Live Matches PPS: If anyone wants a slightly higher quality version of the ZA vs Nederland highlights package (350 meg), let me know and I can put it up somewhere.
  10. Hey, The meetup was awesome, very good to finally be able to watch Formula 1 with fellow fans who actually know something about the sport. We will definitely do the same thing for future races (if the timezones allow it). I'm also hopeful that Fox will carry races in HD when the US / Canadian grand prix come around. As for the race, yeah, I'm very pleased with Kimi's performance, especially given that his radio didn't work. It was sad about Massa, especially to see him getting lapped by Kimi, but he did a good job to get into the points. I think it is going to be a very exciting season.
  11. Dieter

    I Need some help

    Hi, Yeah, you should easily be able to survive on that amount of money, $70k is a very good starting salary for most professions, especially for your age. I moved to San Francisco with my girlfriend about a year ago when I was around your age. Neither of us had jobs when we moved, but I found a job within two weeks out here and made a lot less than that for the first couple of months. My girlfriend had some trouble finding a job (took a couple of months) and we easily survived. I'd recommend you initially try to save some money by not getting a huge apartment etc, and ideally getting one that includes some utilities (most include water, some include gas). Those are by far the biggest expenses, so as long as you keep those reasonable you will be fine. We lived in a shared house for the first 3 months ($750pm), and then moved to our own apartment. Housing in San Francisco is very expensive, so it should be cheaper down in LA for you. We paid around $1400 per month for our 1 bedroom apartment (quite roomy, like 800sq feet). On top of that we pay around $30 - 80 for gas + electricity (if you use AC a lot, it will go up quite a bit). We've never been great at living carefully, so our food budget is generally around $500 per month, but if you pack lunch and don't eat out much etc I'm sure you can almost cut that in half. So at $70k, you will take home at least $4000 after taxes per month (it will be more, but just using rough numbers). Take $1500 for rent + utils out of that, then food at $500 and you are down to $2000. Other general expenses: Cellphones $40 per person Cable tv + internet $90 If you plan on getting a cheapish car: Car loan payment $250 pm Car insurance $100 pm Petrol/Gas for travel: $50 pm Hope that gives you a better idea of what things cost. Note that these numbers are from San Francisco, but I'm sure LA is pretty close. As for apartments etc, check www.craigslist.com for a better idea of pricing in the area you want to live. Let me know if you have any questions. Dieter
  12. yup, I'm a huge Ferrari fan (since Shumi switched), but I'm not 100% sure about Kimi yet. I really wanted Montoya to take over when Shumi retired, since he had the same "I'll do anything to win" attitude that Shumi had. Kimi seems a bit too cold and emotionless (ice man or whatever they call him), however he will have my support as soon as he gets into the Ferrari. It should be a very good season between Ferrari/Kimi and Mclaren/Alonso!
  13. Dieter

    Xbox 360?

    Hey, Any South African people on Xbox Live? It would be good to speak some Afrikaans (or at least just hear a nice South African english accent) while playing some Uno/Poker. If anyone is interested, add me as a friend: thedetoxie Dieter
  14. Hi All, It has been a quiet winter in San Francisco, but with summer approaching it is time to get bayboks up and running again. While we wait for the braai weather to arrive, we will hold a couple of small get-togethers. As always this is a bit short notice, but we’ve decided to host a small Bay Boks party on Saturday night, March 17! We’ll be watching the first race of the new Formula 1 season live from Australia, and it looks to be a good one. We have a giant TV so come and enjoy the race in 47-inch surround-sound splendor (unfortunately the broadcast is only Standard Definition). Yes, this is also St. Patrick’s Day, so we’ll have beer for those who wish to celebrate their “Irish” heritage. Our place is easily accessible via car, Caltrain, BART and various buses. If you plan on taking public transport let us know and we can tell you how to get here. We’ll be sending out an Evite to everyone registered at bayboks soon, so please RSVP! If you are not registered on bayboks and want to come, PM me with your e-mail address and we will send the Evite to you.
  15. Yup, this was an awesome hike. We were a bit early, since the bar only opens at 2pm (it is open daily from 2 - 6pm it seems), so we had to kill some time waiting for the bar to open. I'd highly recommend this hike to anyone up for some good german beer.
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