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LMansell

LSD trip March

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Hi Everyone

 

Like alot of the other guys still in SA I will once again be trying my luck at the DV lottery in a few days time - can't wait :lol: My husband and I are planning our LSD trip for next year March and were wondering if any of you could suggest a trip itinerary that would cover the main must see places plus a few "off the beaten track" towns. We will be there for about 3 weeks and I want to make sure I get in as much as possible. :ilikeit:

He is finally warming to the idea of moving to the States but one of his main concerns is the "click" culture we see in American films. Is it really that bad? Are our kids doomed to a life of "cheerleader-Jock" vs "bookworm-geek"? Can't wait for your input.

 

PS. Overcast weather today in Jhb but Spring is in the air and all my flowers are in bloom.

 

Regards

Lisa

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Your kids will fit in more easily than you will. :)

 

Their accent will be a big attraction and get them a lot of attention until the other kids get used to it and by then they will already have made friends.

 

Kids are very resiliant - the parents and especially stay at home mothers have far more trouble settling down.

 

Get in and help at school. Elementary school needs a lot of help fund raising and the projects are generally quite easy. Middle school also offers quite a few opportunities as does high school, but far less.

 

I am suggesting school as that will be your easiest place to reach, but Americans are very good about serving in charities and helping in the community.

 

Good luck with the lottery! :)

 

Bev

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Thanks Bev

 

That makes me feel much better. Hope to give you good news next year June!

 

Regards

Lisa :)

Edited by LMansell

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Hi Lisa and welcome to sausa.org

 

... suggest a trip itinerary that would cover the main must see places plus a few "off the beaten track" towns. We will be there for about 3 weeks and I want to make sure I get in as much as possible. :ilikeit: ...

 

America is vast. As jerseygirl wrote in another post, "frigging huge". Try to target one particular region.

 

The culture in the US varies quite a bit from region to region, and it is difficult to do the whole thing unless you have a lot of time. If you target one particular area, you will have a better coverage of that region and will probably get more reliable information. If you try do the whole thing, you will only have an extremely general idea. Each region of course has its pros and cons, and you will have to do a trade-off analysis based on what you can reasonably cover.

 

Once you have narrowed down your trip to an area that interests you, I am sure one of our forum members will be able to help you with itinerary and more specifics.

 

... the "click" culture we see in American films. Is it really that bad? Are our kids doomed to a life of "cheerleader-Jock" vs "bookworm-geek"? ...

 

Yes and no. Films tend to be a dramatization, so they are almost always exaggerated and overly simplified ... There is some truth to what these movies describe, but the reality is more subtle, complex, and less intense. Kids are quite adaptable, and I am sure they will have no trouble making friends. Also the whole immigration experience can serve to bond you more closely as a family. Treverly offered some good advice for dealing with the experience (get involved in the community) for once you work on settling here.

 

Good luck with your research, and feel free to ask us for info.

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Hi, Treverly is absolutely right, we had the same experience.

Yes, you have to be more specific, will you able to handle cold and snow, then go north, what type of work will hubby do? what will your financial position be, if not very good, stay out of California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, etc as property is very expensive there.

No part of the US is perfect, if you go to Virgina, VW TN or KY property is cheap but you have the Red Necks/ Hillbillies, which is not so bad, rather very funny. The beautifulness and slower pace in these states make up for a lot.

If you go to some other places you have heavy snow and cold, but no red necks and fairly priced properties. I mention properties but other commodities are also more expensive in the areas where the property prices are high.

I suggest you do a lot of homework on the internet and compare areas. Look at things like schools (# of subsidized meals, academic results, sport, subjects available, etc) then you look at the cost of living, property prices and also if it is in a desert or as is it as beautiful as TN, VW or KY.

One very importaNt aspect for us was the number of SA expats in the area and the social life among the SA's.

Once you have narrowed your search down, let us know the dates and if you come near KY, you are welcome to stay with us. We do need the dates as we are working 12 hour shifts, 7 days on and 7 days off.

 

GO FOR IT - ITS WORTH THE WHILE!

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Thanks Creature

 

I think we will focus on the mid west. We like open spaces and fresh air. I'm very busy doing research on climate and cost of living. My internet bill is through the roof already! Will keep you guys posted with our decisions.

 

Thanks

Lisa :)

 

Thanks Spekkies

 

Will definitely keep you in mind if in your area. I've seen some nice coach tours that aren't too expensive and include accomodation and a professional guide. I thought we might take one of those and then go back later to places that we liked for a better look. Will keep you guys posted.

 

Thanks

Lisa :)

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Hi Lisa

We are in Tennessee and it realy is a beautiful state. We often go on long hikes with the kids & the dog and it is 100% safe. Here are lots of water all around and fishing and boating is big. So is hunting. July & August was a little bit on the "too hot" side this year, but I believe this is not the norm. Right now the leaves are starting to change colour and the days are just gorgeous.

We live on the "platteland" on 2 acres and are surrounded by farmland. When I see and hear the farm animals and the occasional wild turkey and the fox and the rabits, I feel at peace and like I belong. Truly God's country.

If you do find yourself in Tennessee and are looking for a place to stay, you are more than welcome here.

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Lisa,

we live in Cleveland, Ohio right on the banks of Lake Erie. I thought as South African's we wouldn't enjoy the cold winters and heavier snow here, but I actually love it! Each season has its own unique beauty. Driving in the snow, is not as bad as I expected, basically because 100 000's of people still need to get to work and back daily, so the roads are kept clear and snow free 99% of the time. Then Lake Erie has its own beauty too, and you can swim in it in the summer (temp around 25C) and walk on it in February when it freezes over! If you are in the area, then I highly recommend you make a stop at the Niagara Falls - and I promise you will not be disappointed! It's 3 hours east of Cleveland, but well worth the trip!

 

Cost of living is very cheap here, with house prices some of the lowest in the country. We have just bought ourselves a decent 4 bedroom house with full basement, something I would never have been able to afford in South Africa!

Edited by grantmc

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Hi Talita :rolleyes:

You have managed to make me green with envy! <_< Your home and life sound absolutely wonderful - you are truly blessed. Thanks for the friendly and helpful information. You have inspired me to try even harder to get there.

 

 

Hi Grant :rolleyes:

 

Thanks to you too for your quick and friendly response. All you guys are great. I feel more welcome on the forum than I do in my own country! Well, today is d-day for the dv. Will let you all know how that goes in the new year. In the mean time I'm packing house. We are moving from Jhb back to PE. Can't wait to be back at the sea! B)

 

 

Kind regards

Lisa

:)

Edited by LMansell

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Hi, Treverly is absolutely right, we had the same experience.

Yes, you have to be more specific, will you able to handle cold and snow, then go north, what type of work will hubby do? what will your financial position be, if not very good, stay out of California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, etc as property is very expensive there.

No part of the US is perfect, if you go to Virgina, VW TN or KY property is cheap but you have the Red Necks/ Hillbillies, which is not so bad, rather very funny. The beautifulness and slower pace in these states make up for a lot.

If you go to some other places you have heavy snow and cold, but no red necks and fairly priced properties. I mention properties but other commodities are also more expensive in the areas where the property prices are high.

I suggest you do a lot of homework on the internet and compare areas. Look at things like schools (# of subsidized meals, academic results, sport, subjects available, etc) then you look at the cost of living, property prices and also if it is in a desert or as is it as beautiful as TN, VW or KY.

One very importaNt aspect for us was the number of SA expats in the area and the social life among the SA's.

Once you have narrowed your search down, let us know the dates and if you come near KY, you are welcome to stay with us. We do need the dates as we are working 12 hour shifts, 7 days on and 7 days off.

 

GO FOR IT - ITS WORTH THE WHILE!

Hi Spekkies

 

My Mom's very keen on Kentucky and we'd like to be close to a largish SA pop so that we don't feel too alienated in 'frigging huge US'. However I'd like your input regarding weather and lifestyle in Lexington. Any advice would be appreciated.

Tks Annetta

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Well, it was somewhat delayed, but finally the LSD trip is scheduled for June this year! Our non-immigrant visa interview is on the 18th of May. I am very nervous and excited. I just wanted to hear from the house if you guys have any tips on the interview? I read that the kids do not need to physically be at the interview as hubby and I will both be there together. This should help with logistics!

We have all the passports, unabridged birth certificates, bank statements etc. I am expecting a letter from friends in the US stating that we will be visiting with them. Is there anything else you guys can think of?

 

Cheers

Lisa

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i would check about the kids - our kids had to be there in person, but that was for immigrant visas. call, or mail the embassy to make sure.

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i would check about the kids - our kids had to be there in person, but that was for immigrant visas. call, or mail the embassy to make sure.

 

 

Thanks gman, I'll phone and check. The website says that minor children (younger than 14) only need to be present if one parent is going with them. I suppose this is to prevent parents stealing kids. They will be in JHB with us but I can't imagine sitting with them all antsy in an interview room for up to 3 hours. Colouring books will definitely be required!

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Children don't need to be present for visitor's visas. Friend just went through this.

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Well, the waiting and nerves are over at last. Yesterday morning was our non-immigrant visa interview and we got it! I hardly slept the night before worrying about insufficient paperwork or inadequate photos. Everything seemed to be against us. We were coming from the West Rand to Sandton and at our onramp had been a huge accident the night before so the road was closed. We had to do a detour along with the rest of Gauteng and there we sat in bumper to bumper traffic. It took us and hour to cover a distance that normally takes 5 minutes.

 

Finally we get through all that and in Sandton I direct my husband up the wrong road. Bear in mind it's 8am traffic we're contending with! Get out of there, see the American flag and know we've found the place. At the robots we realised that by "public entrance" they meant "pedestrian" public. Where the heck do you park? We did a u-turn and ended up in a gated community - how South African is that??

Eventually managed to park at Sandton City Mall only after being sent on a detour as their regular parking is under construction.

 

In a huff and a puff hubby and I scramble across the road with a sick child in tow and there we stand in a queue as the first security guard checks our handbags one by one and asks us what we are there for. Finally we were allowed in individually - had to hand in cell phone and camera at the second security guard. Go through the metal detector, can you believe that my poor sick 2 year old set it off?! I guess it was her dummy chain.

 

We go throuigh to an outside area, kind of in their gardens, where a lady asks to see our application forms. She staples everything together and sends us into the main building. Another metal detector later, I had to press a button labelled "non-immigrant visa". Out spits a number and yet another guard tells us to sit and wait 'til our number is called. That happened in about 2 minutes. I loved how there are no chairs at the actual glass windows and you have to stand and talk to the consular employee while you fumble for the correct paper work and hang on to a crying baby who refuses to be put down and who is NOT allowed to sit on the counter. The lady was very abrupt and didn't smile once which I thought was unnecessary. She took all five family members' applications one by one and processed them. Hubby and I had to give finger prints on an electronic screen that sent them through to her computer. She then asked for supporting docs. She was not specific at all, so all I gave her was three months bank statements and a copy of our bond account. Really, that's all! She told us to sit until our number was called again. 2 minutes later we are called to another counter and speak to a nice American lady. (So far, the only American we have encountered.) She asks where we are going, who we are visiting and for how long. She asks hubby where he works and how much he earns. When I offered her further paperwork she declined saying "no, I just want to chat to you." After further fingerprints on another screen she says the visas have been approved and we can proceed to the in house DHL counter to fill in our details so they can post our passports, with our visas, back to us.

 

Wow! So simple! It really was a pleasure and not half as bad as some people make it out to be. Perhaps we were just lucky but I know God was watching over us the whole way. When everything seemed to be against us, we still got there in the nick of time and all went well. Now it's time for travel arrangements. Hope you don't mind my waffling on, but maybe it helps someone else going there for a visit.

 

:ilikeit: :ilikeit:

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