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mleg

Things Are Looking Up

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Hi Guys and Girls,

 

I can officially say that after 7 months being in the USA my wife and I have both managed to secure jobs, travel the USA and make it out alive :)

 

I just had to share, because my wife and I were really down and literally on the same day we had a phone call from two companies offering us positions. I start on the 3rd Sept and she started yesterday!!

 

Advise to all which worked for us, NETWORK!!!! Thats what both her and I did and it worked!!

 

Cheers!!

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Congratulations Mleg. Must be a supercool feeling!

We have just arrived here. We have it all in front of us!

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Congratulations Mleg! It will just get better and better from now on. Always a nice feeling when one secures a job and how fantastic that you and your wife found one in the same month! :)

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Seems like Mleg and us are tracking on a similar time frame. After arriving in the states on 16 March 2013, travelling from east to west, lots of stress and adjustment we finally are starting to settle.

 

We both have jobs with my job finally coming in 1st of October. A new apartment lease has been signed and I can finally decorate a new place and welcome guests.

 

This is a difficult journey but a good one after all, I advise anyone considering this to keep in mind that we both really wanted to come here and there were a couple of times were we nearly got on a plane and went back to South Africa. So make sure you are fully committed. South Africa is a great country to give up :)

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Well, after being here for 3 months I take my hat off to you, Mleg and MeganE! For sticking it out for 7 months without work. Myself and my wife have never stressed so much in our lives since landing here. Even tho we have been here many times before, we have been so disappointed at how expensive it is to live here, and without a job you just see your hard earned South African cash literally fly out the window each month. We are fortunate to be living in a well furnished basement rent free but we still spend at least $2000 a month on food, insurance, cell phones, petrol etc. With rentals looking around $1800 when we finally get established this brings our cost of living to well over $4000 if u include water lights, garbage removal, TV and parking fees etc!

Even tho we are fortunate enough to have funds to stick it out for a bit, the stress for me has been the feeling of worthlessness when you hear nothing after going for interviews. One company have called me in 4 times for interviews. Yes FOUR TIMES!!! And I still haven't been told if I got the job.... My wife, being a recruiter in SA has been applying for jobs for us since we got here, she must have applied for over 100 jobs on one day alone, this Monday I went for a interview in Maryland and was offered the job on the spot. Woo hoo what a feeling! Now we can start to get our lives together again! I start work in January so we can finally relax a bit and have a good thanks giving and Christmas. It has taken about 6 weeks to secure a good, decent paying job here, thanks to my wife's endless pursuit of applying for jobs, which I suppose is not long but felt like an eternity!

If I have any advice for anybody wanting to move to the States, it is, make sure you are prepared to pay over double for almost everything compared to SA, prepare to wait for things ( credit cards took 6 weeks to set up and we still waiting for them to arrive in the post!) find and use Craigslist for all that you want! My wife and I are awake at 5am and she goes on Craiglist and checks all the curb alerts. We have got almost everything for the house from Craigslist!! There is great stuff on there for free too! We got stand lamps, tables and stuff in good nick for free.

Well, in closing, have we found our great life that is way better than South Africa? ... No not by a long shot, we love South Africa we just don't like the crime and the racialism that is there now. Are we happy to be here? Yes, there is a great feeling of adventure welling up inside us, so much to do and discover, this is the land of excess, you can get anything and everything here, the people are diverse, kind and respectful, funny and weird looking! They love our accent and never guess where we from!

So, for us, our life and the reason we are here is for the adventure and the discovery, which starts.. Now.

Edited by Adder
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Sounds awesome Adder, glad you've found a job and hope it all goes from strength to strength!

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Congratulations on securing a job in these tough economic times, when we came here 8 years ago, you would have found a job within a few days of landing.

Enjoy the time off that you have until January to relax and get familiar with the culture and the way Americans speak. Once you start working, you get very little vacation time 14 days a year. What I found when I got here is that although they may like your accent, in many instances they don't understand what you are saying, especially in the workplace. So, just talk slower to them.

 

Washington and surrounding areas are expensive for rentals and the traffic is a challenge. Try to find an Apartment or townhouse that is close to where you will be working.

Rentals are slightly cheaper in Frederick but you will spend an hours in the traffic on the way to and from work.

 

Apartments up for rent are usually small and expensive, compare this to townhouses that are up for rent by estate agents you can probably get a two bedroom townhouse from around $1,400.00 Try to avoid paying $1,800 a month. The only problem with townhouse rentals is that you will have to pay a month's rent as a deposit as well.

 

On the work front if you need to make some $$. Have you asked Target, Lowes, Home Depot or Sam's Club for a seasonal job ? it may be a little late but its worth a try.

 

The USA is an expensive place to live, and a lot of people work two jobs, most companies have a policy about panhandling (second job) as long as there is no conflict with you current job and its not affecting your performance they are ok with it.

 

Clothing is expensive here, when we go back to SA we usually take very little clothing back and stock up on stuff from Woolworths .

 

Don't get caught up buying a whole lot of furniture, especially those no payment required for the first two years before you know it those two years are over.

If you are in a basement, it gets cold and for the winter your heating bill will be high for the next six months. Get an electric blanket and turn off your heating when you are at work unless you have a pet then you will need to keep it running.

 

When looking at apartment rentals consider apartments that are one level up, not on the ground floor as you will save on heating your place up. A lot of the apartments have thin walls and flooring so if you don't like the sound of footsteps above you which can get very irritating (and vacuuming of carpets above you while you are trying to sleep)

Get an apartment on the top floor. Carrying your groceries up is a killer but its worth it.

 

You are doing ok.. you got a job, just focus on your new job and be more efficient than your co workers and you will get quicker promotions at work.

 

 

 

 

 

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Oscar, I'm amazed you say you think clothes are expensive there. I've found them generally much cheaper, especially if you have easy access to an outlet mall or something like Century 21. Especially kids clothing, I've found branded clothing eg puma, Adidas etc t-shirts for my kids often in the $5-$10 range at these stores vs R300 upwards locally. Compare to say even pick'n'pay clothing where a cheap quality kids t-shirt will be R40 or more and not last nearly as long! And the sales in the US are something to behold with up to 80% off, although admittedly it can be a complete bunfight.

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To be quite honest We go very seldom to the outlet malls possibly once a year. Generally shop at Macy's Nordstrom, Kohl's Target and Old Navy. But tend to like Woolworths products more , especially pure cotton items and bigger sizes.

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Pure cotton (or any natural product) items becoming scarcer and scarcer and prices rising... I'd be interested to hear your opinions after your next trip :)

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Hey Oscar, thank you so much for your detailed comments and suggestions!

I'm going to spend some time hitting some balls at the driving range, Enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas and drink. Next year will be a totally new beginning for us and want to be rested and ready for work!!

I agree with you on the rent, we looking at around 1500 p/m to start then when we are ready we will buy. we have already got most of our furniture so we will need small things to start.

Winter is fast approaching, which I am not ecstatic about but, hey, Summer will follow and it gets lekker warm here!! (and humid).

as for clothing, yes I agree with pricing side of things for those stores u mentioned, but there are some great cheapy places to go for good clothing. Food and restaurants is what I find expensive...

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Adder, as Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith (the late George Peppard) often said in TV's "The A-Team": "I love it when a plan comes together!"

 

Indeed. I'm glad you guys are moving forward.

 

 

"Are we happy to be here? Yes, there is a great feeling of adventure welling up inside us, so much to do and discover..."

 

Absolutely!

 

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Thank you Janneman! I didn't know he had passed away! Wow! Used to love that TV series!

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Oscar I thought I was the only one, buying clothes back in SA and moving with them to the US. I have found that for good quality clothes that can last more than few machine washes at a minimum I need to spend $75 an article. All my woolies clothes I came with or bought in SA last year look way better than the clothes I bought at Kohl's/Old navy/Macy's when I moved here. Even some of the clothes I bought at M&S in the UK still look good and I bought those items in 2005.

 

Even winter coats if you are not willing spend $250 or more, you end up with coat that's not pure wool.

 

Yes some electronics on the other hand are very cheap. I think you learn with trial an error. I am still getting use to the fact that fresh vegies, fruits and good cuts of meat are expensive.

 

But other than that things are slowly working out.

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