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JaLiNi

JaLiNi: Moving to Atlanta June 2007

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Hi there

 

The year has started off with a big bang! My husband came home and informed me that we are relocating to Atlanta (looking at Cobb or North Fulton County). I have gone through all the emotions of being shocked, sad, confused and am now finally excited and cannot wait.

 

Of course I have millions and trillions of questions and started searching on the worldwide web which has been astounding. Vivian from North Atlanta Realty Group sent us an awesome email detailing each county and Atlanta as a whole. But I needed more and finally came across this forum. I want to thank one and all because by reading through all the topics I have learned so much more.

 

What I would like to know (and please excuse if this sounds like a stupid question) can we here in South Africa take over our electrical appliances (washing machines, tumble driers etc). Some say no because of wattage problems and others say yes (just the plugs need to be changed).

 

Also there was mentioned in the forum that if people knew what they knew now they would have done things differently - any advise will really be much appreciated. It is not just me and my husband, we have 3 kids (5), (12) and (15). Amazingly they are looking so forward to the move - I thought I was going to have lots of hassles with them having to leave their friends behind.

 

Another topic which I am slightly concerned about is the pollen. My oldest son is asthmatic. Any suggestions besides purchasing face masks :D

 

Thats all ... for now ....

 

Thanks

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Welcome to SAUSA! :ilikeit:

 

Wish you all of the best with the big move!

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Welcome! :)

 

Bev

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Oh how exciting, when are you planning on making the move exactly ?

 

You can't bring your electrical appliances, mind you, I could be wrong, but the way I understand it as a female is no, but the guys might be able to help a bit more on that.

 

Preparation: Remember that is is a new country, the emotional upheaval can be easy on some and very difficult on others. There are so many positive things to look at, but brace yourself for the down swing. Family holiday are especially difficult.

 

We have a number of people in the Atlanta area, in fact theres a large SA community there. This forum is definately a good source of information.

 

I moved from Centurion just over 3 years ago, and only now I feel like the idea of ever living back in SA is a foreign concept. I wish I'd had this forum, stay close, and we'll help you with everything you need. We really are like family here.

 

The kids will love it, its a very safe place to raise children, you 15 year old will be driving in no time (isn't that astounding)?

 

What else can we help you with specifically ?

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Welcome aboard JaLiNi!

 

You guys have probably made one of the best decisions ever for your family - to move here!

 

As for the washing machine and dryer, I assume you will be renting when you first land here (it is difficult for a new person to get a mortgage loan without having any history in the USA). I believe most apartments that are rented, come with a fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, tumble dryer, microwave oven, stove and oven! So you wouldn't really have a need for South African appliances.

 

I wish you all the best in your move!!! You won't regret it!

 

Grant

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Hi JaLiNi. We're also recent transplants. We moved here from the Middle East about 2½ months ago.

 

As far as electrical equipment goes, it's probably better to get rid of it. Things like camera chargers etc. will still work if you put a different plug on it (check the back of the appliance - if it says 110-240V it SHOULD work).

 

However, we brought some table lamps over from Dubai, thinking the same. They DO work but because of the 110V system, the globes are about as strong as a nightlight! DH said that will be corrected if we buy new globes here...the bases on the globes here are different sizes! I can't find any to replace the old ones. :( Bummer...

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Dafish gave us some decent info with regards to electrical matters in this post.

 

Just keep in mind that you have to ship these things over, and by the time you've calculated all costs involved, you'll realise that it's cheaper to buy new stuff - unless you have a particular "something" that you know is uniquely South African.

 

Less hassles to buy new gear; all plugs attached and working! And as Grantmc said, most dwellings come with stoves, fridges etc.

 

Oh, and be careful of gas (Cadac-type) equipment. The US have strict laws!

 

Welcome to SAUSA. Happy packing! :)

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Hi and welcome JaLiNi

 

We are in Buford, north of Atlanta. Very nice suburb(town). Hope to see you in ATL soon.

 

Cheers,

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Welcome, Jalini. Please ask your trillions of questions - I'm sure you'll find answers here. Ons is nie op ons bekke geval nie. :P

 

I left all my electrical stuff behind and do not regret it for one second. Bring the stuff you can't replace (photo albums, a few key household things that make your house your home, anything with sentimental value, any high end solid wood furniture you might have, etc).

 

Leave the washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, tv, kettle, hairdryer etc. behind. The electrical appliances are fairly cheap here. Like Chickabee said, a few of the appliances might work (e.g. DVD players with 110-240V).

 

What would I do differently? I would stack a container with SA chocolates, rusks, chutney and chips (and leave the household goods!) Something I did do was to go to a quiet vacation spot for the week or so before the flight. By that time, everything was packed for shipping/travel, sold, given away, etc. and I felt so free!

 

We also spent a week in London visiting with close friends before flying to the US. It was such a good decision to have some time just for fun after all the craziness of packing up our lives. This may not be practical for you and your family, but having "quiet time" away from the impending goodbyes, anxiousness about the move, and all of the stress will be important. It gave me time to reflect, and helped me to connect with my husband and deal with all the change in a very positive way.

 

You will be relying on your hubby and children more than ever once you're in the US. Since you and your husband will be guiding your kids through this emigration experience while coming to terms with it yourself, it will be important to make quality time amid the chaos.

 

Good luck with all of the planning. It is such an exciting time! Oh, and remember to take photos of your favorite people and places...

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Hello and Welcome Jalini and family :D

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WoW Guys - thanks alot for the replies - you sound like a great bunch of people on that side of the world :ilikeit:

 

It is truly amazing how much junk a family can accummulate over the years. I am actually enjoying the whole packing up process "out with the old and in with the new".

 

Another question - on which side of the road do you guys travel (hou links gaan regs verby) and would we have to go through the whole process of getting driver's licenses (learning to park, reverse etc etc). Also the topic of food seems interesting (guess you don't appreciate what you have until the day it is not so readily available). When I get there I will bake you vetkoek, koeksisters and "melktert" to die for.

 

Also what I would like to know is how do the local people feel about South Africans. Did you guys battle to fit in socially. I just hope that my kids fit in at the schools - my oldest is rather shy and does not make friends easily.

 

This is going to be a learning experience for the whole family and I have no doubt it will bring us closer together.

 

Once again - thanks alot for the replies.

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You will learn to drive on the right-hand side of the road (hou REGS en gaan LINKS verby) but don't worry, the steering wheel is on the left-hand side as well. Most vehicles around here come with automatic gearboxes. If you buy a stick-shift (manual transmission) you might be regarded as a "genius". Very few people drive stick-shifts over here.

 

One thing you should realize right now, is that each state does its own thing. It's not to say that something which is legal to buy in California, will be legal in Georgia as well and vice versa. For instance, in California you can buy all you liqour requirements at the local supermarket (store) - from a bottle of Jack Daniels to beer and wine. But in Oregon, the state just above California, you can buy wine, beer, port and sherry at the local store, but not the "strong medicine".

 

The same goes for foodstuffs. There are online stores that sell South African products, but they are not allowed to ship certain products across the border to some of the states. That's why I cannot buy Castle, boerewors and biltong here in Oregon and have to make it myself - not the Castle, of course.

 

You will be able to buy the South African staples like Ouma Rusks, Mrs Ball's, proper custard powder, etc. at various online shops and even in some of the regular, American stores. And what you cannot buy here, you either find a substitute for, make it yourself or do without.

 

A learning experience it most certainly will be - the English language being one element - and there will be days that you will feel despondent, homesick and all that, but you can rest assured that ALL of us went through those same emotions, and sometimes still do!

 

And then there is always SAUSA to turn to when you need some solace and support. No member worth his/her salt will give you a cold shoulder when you need some help, advice or moral support.

 

Please make use of SAUSA's search function. Many subjects had been covered and reams of good advice have been dished out in the past. Visit often and feel free to participate. :)

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Hi JaLiNi,

 

Like Bolander we are in Buford as well. We have lived in Georgia since arriving in the USA 10 years ago. For a few months we lived in Austell and then moved to Norcross and about 4 years ago we moved to Buford, which is a small town and if you stay within the city limits the schools are governed by the City and not Gwinnett County.

 

Basically this means that it's a Public schooling system, under Gwinnett County, but Buford City has control over their schools - kind of like a private schooling system. Great schools by the way. My kids went to the Academy (Grades 2-5, around 800 students), Middle (Grades 6-8, 500 students) and High (Grades 9-12, 580 students) and all the schools were wonderful. The elementary school (Pre K - Grade 1, 1000 students) I cannot comment on as my kids did not go there, but I've heard it's good. I have a son (12 and in grade 6) and a daughter (15 and in grade 9).

 

My advice to you is to first find good schools, because over here you have to send your kids to the schools designated to the area in which you live. When looking for schools check the student to teacher rations, national testing levels, subjects offered as well as demographics. Choose one that suits your children�s needs and then try to find a house in that school district. I think the website address to find schools is www.greatschools.net There was another one but I can�t remember the URL for that site.

 

The people are very friendly and we have never had a problem with fitting in with the locals. They're friendly and helpful, but they don't visit like South Africans so don't think they'll be over at your house braaing till early hours of the morning- Ha-ha.

 

There is a huge group of Ex-Pats in Atlanta, but to really adapt you should try to mingle with the locals too. I'm in the midst of organizing a St. Patrick's Day party for Ex-Pats so if you're here by then you are more than welcome to pop in and perhaps meet some friends-to-be. Bolander I'll let you know more about the party - hope you can make it.

 

On coming over,

 

Make sure you have originals and certified copies of:

ALL birth certificates and marriage certificates (the Full certificates abridged),

ALL credit history, mortgage payments, bank account statements etc, etc,

 

Bring with as much stuff that will make your first home feel familiar,

Come with an open mind and be ready for a hard road that is VERY rewarding in the end.

 

Most importantly, once here, tuff it out for 3 years without going back to SA for a visit. This will give you time to adapt to the changes and settle in. I only went back to SA after 9 years of been in the USA. I still miss (the people) SA, but then again all Ex-Pats do at one time or the other.

 

Give me a shout if you need any other information and when you are arriving. We can always plan on a little get together so that you can meet a few Ex-Saffers from ATL who, I'm sure will helpe with advice on where to buy what etc.

 

JaLiNi.......you bake those koeksuster, melktert and vetkoek girl....we will all come for tea.... :lol: Just kidding. You'll have to play around with the ingredients here to get the same results as you do in SA, because for some reason the flour here is not the same... :rolleyes:

Edited by Cazz

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Regarding the driver's licenses, once here, you will need to get a new Driver's License here (which will also become your main form of ID). The tests vary by state, but generally you will need to pass a multiple choice test about the laws here (not difficult) and a drving test. Nothing nearly as intense as the K-53 test in SA, but they do want to see you driving on the roads, using your indicators, etc. In Ohio, they also have a manueverability test where you have to reverse between cones into a parking space, which is slighty more tricky. But I don't know of any other state that requires that!

 

The driving is easy, you will be driving on the left side of the car. If you have an automatic (which 90% of the cars are), you just put the car in D and go! The pedals (Brake and accelorator) are in the same order as the cars in SA (Brake=center, accel=right).

 

Finally, one thing you need to get used to is filling your own car up with petrol (gas). So watch how the SA petrol Jockeys do it, and learn from them :)

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JaLiNi if I can drive here - you can believe me! I even drive a stick shift!

 

The test is much easier than the original test you did in SA. Besides that - remember that you have been a driver for a while. You will not be as nervous as you were the first time you took your test. They are not out to fail you here, but to see that you are competant on the road.

 

I still have blonde moments where I suddenly wonder if I am on the correct side of the road. It's confusing when cars are parked in both directions on either side of the road - but just for a moment!

 

We have all had hair raising moments when you look up and find that you are on the wrong side of the road. It's part of the adventure! :)

 

Bev

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